Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! Hope you are spending it with someone special! And here’s a sweet little secret from me: you are ALL my Valentines today!!! Because I love each and every one of you! (P.S. I like anything velvet, sparkly, or peacock!)
If you thought the corniness ended there, you’re wrong. Let’s celebrate by looking at classic movie stars doing adorable, sweet, mushy things, shall we?
Here’s one of my favorite photos of Clark Gable and Carole Lombard. Ugh. Can you say PERFECTION? They’re so cute together it kinda makes me sick, but in a very good way. This is the classic movie lover’s dream relationship right here!
There is something so sweet about Spencer Tracy letting Katharine Hepburn use his back as a table. It reminds me of my high school’s annual Walk-A-Thon in which all my friends would sign the backs of each other’s shirts. Let’s just say that mom was none too happy to see me coming in with my Walk-A-Thon t-shirt covered in rainbow messages and signatures. But Spence is just so much more adorable than a high school student. The way he’s crouching obediently for Kate…that’s the way it should be. Men, take note.
The Gary Cooper cute doesn’t end there. Here he is nuzzling noses with Shirley Temple. It’s the icing on the cutie patootie cake. And mark this, since this is a rare moment in which I actually think Shirley Temple is cute…
Gary Cooper ought to take the cuteness prize because he keeps popping up over and over again in this post. Here, he is teaching his young daughter Maria how to dance. And they say actors are lousy parents!
That’s all I’ve got! Happy Valentine’s Day, loves!
Hello my darlings! Here’s a sequel to the original “That Awkward Moment When” (http://goldenagedames.wordpress.com/2012/10/12/that-awkward-moment-when/) in which we saw that the flawless gods and goddesses of classic film were actually normal people like you and me. So next time you do something embarrassing, don’t fret! Think of this:
That Awkward Moment When Spencer Tracy Forgot His Pants
This scene is from one of my favorite Tracy films, Father of the Bride. Thankfully, father Spencer Tracy did not appear at daughter Liz Taylor’s wedding looking like this. Or maybe he could’ve. He has nice, slim, hairless legs.
That Awkward Moment When Bette Davis Flubs The Line
I think it’s really cute when classic movie stars, especially legends like Bette Davis, mess up the line. The reactions that old movie stars had were vastly different from the reaction stars have today. Like, they would get really upset and embarrassed that they messed up. Back then, time and film were precious, since we are talking about the Studio Era during the Depression. Some actors had really hilarious reactions, though. Like Carole Lombard’s streams of profanity whenever she messed up. You can see plenty of these classic film bloopers on YouTube!
That Awkward Moment When Lucille Ball and Harpo Marx Are Long-Lost Twins
I think I might’ve blogged this before, but the crazy resemblance here never fails to astound me. This is from one of my all-time favorite I Love Lucy episodes, the one in which she dresses up as tons of classic movie actors to impress her New York friend and ends up meeting Harpo Marx. This photo has convinced me that Lucy and Harpo are long-lost twins. They have the same hair, smiles, maniacal expressions…there’s no way that these two weren’t womb-mates!
That Awkward Moment When Marlon Brando Duckfaced
This photo of Richard Burton and Marlon Brando never fails to make me laugh hysterically. I feel that I’m looking at a picture of two bozos on Facebook instead of two acting greats. It has all the qualities of a Facebook photo: the background is obviously someone’s home, they have that “hey buddy!” pose, and the photo was taken with a low-quality camera. But what makes this the absolute perfect Facebook shot is Marlon Brando’s duckface. The man was definitely ahead of his time here. But instead of making the pose something ridiculous that is only done by ugly fake pussies, Brando makes it look classy. Only because it’s Brando.
That Awkward Moment When Buster Keaton Looks Like A Baywatch Babe
Buster Keaton is one beautiful hunk of man. Nothing makes it more obvious than this photo. Look at him seductively gliding through the water like he’s some god of the sea. Look at that sexy swimsuit, complete with an undershirt. Look at those nice pecs. And look at the wonderfully glum expression. He’s giving Pam Anderson a run for her money here.
That Awkward Moment When Joan Crawford Is Given An Ugly Portrait of Herself
Imagine you are Joan Crawford. You are asked to sit for a painting. All the while, you are positive that this painting will be a beautiful gorgeous replica of your beautiful gorgeous face. Then you get…THIS. What the HELL is that painting even?! That’s not pretty Joanie! It looks like the frickin spawn of the devil. And look at Joan’s face. I wouldn’t be pleased if I were painted as Satan’s mistress either. Thankfully her self-esteem didn’t go downhill after this one.
That Awkward Moment When Winston Churchill Leaves Very Little to the Imagination
Okay, I know Winston Churchill isn’t a classic movie star but I came across this photo and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to post this. This takes the cake in embarrassing swimsuit moments (and we’ve all had them) because here he’s actually wearing a swimsuit yet it’s so tight that he might as well be naked. Way to flash the entire beach, Winston Churchill.
That Awkward Moment When Laurence Olivier Ruins the Picture
This has to be my favorite photo of Viv and Larry. There’s Vivien Leigh, so gorgeous and glamorous, as always. And then there is Laurence Olivier, in perhaps the most hilarious photobomb in the history of photography. I’m actually surprised that the usually serious Olivier’s face didn’t shatter into a thousand pieces from all that laughing. Touche, Larry.
That Awkward Moment When Errol Flynn Looks Like He Isn’t Wearing Pants
That Awkward Moment When Carole Lombard and Robert Montgomery Are Losing It Over Baby Cows
It’s pretty funny to see non-farm folks doing farm things. Observe how these two baby calves are obviously getting the better of Carole and Rob. Carole seems horrified, but she’s doing a lot better than Robert Montgomery, who is actually about to fall over right into the calves little pen. Which is fine, I don’t like him that much anyway (crucify me now).
That Awkward Moment When Humphrey Bogart Is Dressed Like a Grandma in Public
Humphrey, why are you making what seems to be a public speech when dressed like a sweet little Victorian-era grandmother? What has gotten into you, my man? You are supposed to be a rough-n’-tough hardboiled detective! But he’s Humphrey Bogart and he’s always cool so he probably got away with this.
That Awkward Moment When Katharine Hepburn Shreds Better Than A Twelve Year-Old Boy
Katharine Hepburn is awesome for many reasons. But I betcha didn’t know that she can skateboard! Judging by this photo, she’s got some mad skills. She skateboards so much better than those shrimpy twelve year-old boys with baggy clothes and oily hair who think that they are skating gods but actually end up scraping their knees on the pavement. Kate the Great should’ve been featured in an episode of Rocket Power, if you ask me.
That Awkward Moment When Katharine Hepburn Makes A Giant Food Mess
Here’s another awkward moment featuring Kate the Great, but here she’s dishing the gossip…and the food crumbs. Look at that abhorrent mess around her plates! Oh my Jesus. I don’t know if any of the food that was on these plates actually made it into Kate’s digestive system. It looks like it all ended up as mess for janitors to clean. Hollywood actresses were supposed to eat like ladies, not like cavemen!
That Awkward Moment When Humphrey Bogart and Peter Lorre are Sitting Naked in a Sauna and Playing Cards
That Awkward Moment When Katharine Hepburn Takes a Dive
Kate is on a roll today! This is the third awkward moment featuring her. I believe this extremely embarrassing moment was from a film, but I can’t remember which. It must be from a film, since if someone just happened to push her into the water like that, I would assume they’d never see the light of day ever again.
That Awkward Moment When Gary Cooper Is Too Tall for His Horse
Dude’s feet are pretty much dragging on the ground. His 6’3″ is much too much for that fat little pony. But Coop looks like he’s making the best of the situation, even though the Coop-to-pony ratio is greatly imbalanced.
That Awkward Moment When Fred Astaire Defies Gravity
That Awkward Moment When Your Music is Making Cary Grant’s Ears Bleed
Here, Eva Marie Saint and James Mason were attempting to serenade Cary Grant with a song on the harp while on the set of North by Northwest. However, Cary Grant found the song so vile and so shitty that he had to cover his ears before he lost his sense of hearing entirely. Sorry guys, your music isn’t classy enough for Cary.
That Awkward Moment When James Cagney Falls Into a Cactus Bush and Bette Davis Just Laughs
That Awkward Moment When Vivien Leigh is Dressed to the Nines and Lauren Bacall is Dressed in a Bathrobe
The difference between Viv and Betty in this picture is astounding. Viv is dressed to perfection in black, furs, and pearls. Timeless! However, Lauren Bacall is hanging around in a fuzzy, too-small bathrobe that looks like one I owned when I was four years old. Now that’s what I call awkward!
That Awkward Moment When Ray Milland is Very, Very Drunk
Hope you enjoyed this latest installment! x
Margaret Perry over at http://thegreatkh.blogspot.co.uk/ has given me a Liebster Award! YAY! The Liebster is given to up-and-coming blogs of 200 followers or less. If you are reading this, Margaret, thank you so much for the honor! So, if you receive a Liebster Award, you must share eleven facts about yourself, answer eleven questions from the blogger who awarded you, and award eleven bloggers of your choice! Here we go:
Eleven Facts About Moi:
1. All of my fingers are double-jointed. I’m like some sort of weird finger contortionist.
2. I’m a voracious reader. My all-time favorite book is Les Miserables by Victor Hugo.
3. I think peacocks are the most beautiful, fabulous animals in the entire world.
4. My biggest goal is to travel the world. I hope to study abroad for winter intercession next year in either England, France, or Australia!
5. I’ve always loved cartoons, and I still do! My favorites were (and still are) Tom and Jerry, Merrie Melodies, Mickey Mouse, and Looney Tunes. I also love the classic Disney films.
6. I confess I have a strange fascination with the occult and the unknown. I love learning about that stuff.
7. The things I notice first in a guy are his eyes (I love light-colored eyes, blue being my favorite) and his smile.
8. I was originally left-handed, but I was forced to switch to right.
9. My favorite fruit is the clementine, which is quite unfortunate since they’re in season only during the winter
10. My favorite band is Queen. Queen has gotten me through a lot of difficulties!
11. All my clothes have to: 1) have a vintage flair 2) have at least a dash of sparkle. My latest purchase was a black velvet dress with a gold glitter star pattern from Topshop. It sparkles more than the sun or the stars. Best shopping decision I’ve ever made!
If you could matchmake two of your favorite stars, who would be your OTP?
Hmmm…so many possibilities come to mind! But I think my OTP (one true pair) would be Myrna Loy and William Powell. Every time I watch them in a film I find myself begging them to get married and have babies already. Or Jean Harlow and Clark Gable, those two make sparks on the screen!
What classic movie would you like to see remade?
None. Modern remakes have a funny way of messing up beloved originals.
What is your favorite film genre, and what are your three favorite films in that genre?
My favorite film genre is the screwball comedy! My favorite screwballs are It Happened One Night, Arsenic and Old Lace, and To Be Or Not To Be.
You have the opportunity to share one classic film with a theatre full of your friends. Which film do you choose?
Gone with the Wind, most definitely!
What one actor/actress do you love so much, you would see a film simply because they are in it?
Clark Gable! I’ve sat through some really shitty films (LIKE THE PAINTED DESERT) just to look at Gabe’s perfect face.
What/who is your favorite animal character from a movie?
I love Asta from The Thin Man series. That dog is such a boss.
What years do you consider to define the era of “classic movies”?
This is a great, hotly disputed question, and as Margaret implies, the answer varies from person to person. I personally consider the classic movie era to be from around 1905-ish to 1960.
Astaire or Kelly? Audrey or Katherine? Bette or Joan? Olivia de Havilland or Joan Fontaine? Buster Keaton or Charlie Chaplin?
Astaire or Kelly: love them both with all my heart and soul, but I think I will go with Kelly here. It was a close shave, though!
Audrey or Katharine: Easy. Kate the Great of course! I might get crucified for this, but I CAN’T STAND Audrey Hepburn. The most overrated actress who ever lived, if you ask me.
Bette or Joan: I love Bette, but Joan wins this. Sorry Bette, but Joan is my homeslice for life.
Olivia de Havilland or Joan Fontaine: Livvy is my fave sister. She’s an amazing talent and a delight to watch on the screen. From what I’ve seen of Joan Fontaine’s work, she seems a lot more…forced…than her sister. Just look at the faces she makes in Rebecca and you’ll see what I mean.
Who is your favorite Barrymore?
My fave Barrymore is definitely Lionel. He’s like an old cuddly teddy bear! Who seriously knows how to act.
What is your favorite silent movie? Who is your favorite silent movie star?
Oh geez, this is a toughie. I’m gonna bend the rules here and give two favorite silent movies: Metropolis and The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari. I’m gonna bend the rules again with my favorite silent stars: Clara Bow and Rudolph Valentino.
If you could spend one day with your favorite star, who would it be and what would you do?
I’d spend the day with the lovely Clark Gable and we would tour Hollywood together and visit all of his favorite places there
Now I shall award eleven of my favorite blogs (that meet the qualifications) for a Liebster Award! You guys have to list eleven facts about yourself, answer the eleven questions I give you, and award eleven other blogs with the Award! Congratulations to:
All Good Things http://poohtiger-allgoodthings.blogspot.com/
Classicfilmboy’s Movie Paradise http://www.classicfilmboy.com/
Dear Old Hollywood http://dearoldhollywood.blogspot.com/
Deep Glamour http://deepglamour.net/
Critica Retro http://criticaretro.blogspot.com/
Gone with the Wind Fansite http://gwtwfansite.weebly.com/
Marlene Dietrich Collection http://marlene-dietrichcollection.blogspot.fr/
The Hollywood Revue http://hollywoodrevue.wordpress.com/
Alexander’s Sanctuary http://alexandersanctuary.wordpress.com/
The Kitty Packard Pictorial http://kittypackard.com/
Old Hollywood Glamour http://oldhollywoodglamour.blogspot.com/
1. If you could have a dinner party with seven classic film stars, who would they be?
2. Who is your favorite classic movie director?
3. Who is your favorite most-underrated actor?
4. Have you ever watched a film in which you had NO IDEA what was going on?
5. Who is your favorite Hollywood costume designer?
6. Who is an actor/actress that you would take out of one film and put into a different one?
7. Do you mix up any classic movie actors/actresses.
8. Favorite movie musical?
9. Have you hated an actor/actress whom you now love?
10. What is your favorite performance that was overlooked by an Oscar?
11. What is your most-quoted film?
And if you don’t have a blog and just want to answer the questions, please feel free to do so in the comments! X
I am very proud to say that I’ve got my Halloween all planned out. This year, I’m going to dress up as a glamorous 1930s movie star (last year I was a flapper…see how I’m doing this decade by decade? Next year is Rosie the Riveter). That means I’m busting out my old senior prom gown:
I’m pairing this with peacock feathers in my hair, diamond bracelets, and diamond and emerald earrings. Is it Golden Age enough? I also want to do some creepy stuff…what’s Halloween without it? I’ve always had a fascination with the occult and the unknown, which has only been heightened by the timely book I’ve been reading (Breverton’s Phantasmagoria). The Phantasmagoria detailed an old custom in which if a young girl lights a candle and eats an apple before a mirror on Halloween night, the doppelganger of her future husband will appear before her in the mirror. Of course, this trick can go totally wrong and Bloody Mary can appear in the mirror instead and murder me. If that’s what ends up happening, it was great knowing you all.
But if you are still unsure about what to be for Halloween, I’m here to help…the classic movie way, of course! Why not get some costume inspiration from the stars?
A Very Uncomfortable Indian Chief
Boys, why not take a leaf out of Gary Cooper’s book? Here he is dressed up as an Indian chief, but a very uncomfortable and clumsy-looking one indeed. His fabulous feather headdress is all askew and his face looks like he ripped a fart and is hoping no one heard it. Nevertheless, the Native American people have always fascinated me–they are so proud and majestic!
Here’s William Powell dressed as your favorite gal–your granny! Just look at this badass grandma…cigarette dangling from her lips like a hardboiled detective, flaunting her skinny old birdlike arms, and her hairy calves. You go granny!
First of all, let’s take a moment to think about this picture. Are Lucille Ball and Harpo Marx twins separated at birth?! Forget Zeppo, Lucy is the fourth Marx brother! Just more glamorous of course. Harpo Marx is a very easy costume: oversized clothes, a top hat, and a curly ginger wig. Don’t forget to carry a horn with you and fill your pockets with pictures of horses and other random stuff.
Here’s a costume that’s so easy-peasy lemon-squeezy that anyone can do it! From left to right, we have Gloria Swanson, Lucille Ball, and Cary Grant dressed up as the lovable Little Tramp. A very simple costume to put together, and easily recognizable, too!
A Very Classy Guido
You must be thinking, “did this girl seriously just use those words together in the same sentence!?” Indeed, I have. First and last time, cross my heart. Looking at this picture of Nazimova, you can’t help but think she makes the guido spiky-hair style look almost…like something decent people do to their heads.
Fantabulous Sparkling Ice Skating Men
Here’s one you can do with a friend! Forget Johnny Weir–Jimmy Stewart and Lew Ayres are where it’s at when it comes to shimmering glam ice-skating dudes. Just look at those sequin jackets and metallic leggings! Fab! Looks like something I would wear!
A Gay Nineties Couple
This is a costume idea for you and your significant other. Hollywood lovebirds Norma Shearer and Irving Thalberg look like they belong in the 19th century with her corseted dress, fur boa, and jaunty hat and his colorful striped suit. A cute idea!
A Big Angry Bug
This picture makes me laugh to no end. Katharine Hepburn, famous for her uppity accent and Bryn Mawr education, clearly looks happy to be dressed in this big bug costume, complete with sequins and two wire antennae.
I just came across this photo of Claudette Colbert dressed as a Harlequin and I think I’m gonna change my costume to this one, guys! Sequined bodysuit+perfect high-heeled shoes+giant neck ruff=costume with my name written all over it. I’ve always wanted to be a circus performer, after all.
A Giant Shiny Butterfly
Mae West is so awesome we should all bow to her. No one else, alive or dead, classic Hollywood or otherwise, can wear a giant metallic rubber butterfly complete with wings and antennae the size of a small child and pull it off so well like Miss West.
A Giant Shiny Bat
Dear me, what giant shiny animal with enormous wingspan will Mae West be next? The woman wears latex as flawlessly as Freddie Mercury. Mae West’s collecti0n of latex costumes aside, a bat is one of the most classic Halloween costumes you can go with. Don’t forget to add some Mae West glam to what could end up being a cliche costume.
Hope you had fun celebrating Halloween classic Hollywood style!
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
Am I the only one who is in a bitter mood? Everything has just been going downhill for me lately. I’m back in school, the work is backbreaking, the weather is horrible (pouring buckets all the time here in NYC!) so my hair is in a permanent state of fuzziness a la Clara Bow (but since I’m nowhere near as beautiful or as glamorous as her, I don’t look good) and worst of all my mystery illness is back: I hate the sight and smell of all food, and my stomach expels what little I try to eat. So right now, I pretty much look like a stressed-out, frizzy-haired concentration camp survivor with red lipstick and red nail polish.
But what hurts worse than any of what I described above is that people who I thought loved me very much all of a sudden decide not to stand by me. It’s terrible to know that people who you thought you could trust with your innermost thoughts and ideas can suddenly turn on you and treat you like a complete stranger. Lesson learned: don’t trust anyone but yourself. And blog, blog, blog to make yourself happy!
Recently I’ve noticed that Old Hollywood had plenty of artists. And I don’t mean “artists” in the sense of actors, directors, costume designers, makeup artists, producers, script writers, editors, etc. (that goes without saying!) I mean fine artists: drawers and painters. Many of our favorite actors were also gifted with the brush and the palette, which I find fascinating because I dabble in art myself. Here’s a look at some great actor/artists and a little backstory on each:
She wasn’t called “Kate the Great” for nothing. She could act in most anything, she was a trendsetter and a revolutionary, and she was also an artist. Kate started painting in the 1930s while dating aviator and film producer Howard Hughes, and the hobby stuck with her until her death. Kate had a lovely soft, muted style (I tend to gravitate to sharper, more severe art styles and I love using richly saturated colors in my works, so I admire Kate’s expertise in an art technique that I couldn’t master, no matter how hard I tried!) And her watercolors are museum-quality pieces, in my humble opinion. The photo on the far left is a self-portrait of Kate in the makeup chair, being transformed into a Chinese farmer woman for a film (I forgot which. If anyone knows, do tell!) She writes on top, “The left is lower than the right!” in reference to her eyebrows. The next two paintings are beautiful watercolors of Manhattan. Kate wonderfully softens up the otherwise crazy (yet lovely nonetheless) steel jungle that I call home. And with today’s weather being what it is, “jungle” is a very fitting term to describe this city…
Gingers Rogers is a QUADRUPLE threat: dancer, singer, actress, and artist! Ginger had been painting as early as 1933, and apparently George Gershwin was the first person to buy her work. Ginger painted quite actively for the rest of her life, and she once said that it helped her to relax and express herself. She enjoyed painting caricature-style portraits and landscapes, and can create artwork in a variety of different styles, from the line caricatures you see in the picture above (of surprisingly, fellow painter Katharine Hepburn) to rich, colorful paintings of cattle and the West (unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find any photos of this series of paintings). Fun fact: Ginger painted under the name “Ginger Briggs.”
Another example of a quadruple threat here! Sinatra was actually a very accomplished painter and made many acclaimed works in his lifetime. But most famous (and mysterious) were his clown paintings. Apparently Sinatra painted a series of clown portraits and gave them to friends and hung them around his home. I wonder what was Sinatra’s attachment to clowns. I’ve searched EVERYWHERE for the story behind these paintings, but to no avail. If anyone knows the backstory, please share it! The color photo on the far left is a clown painting that Frank gave as a gift to a friend, Jenni Rizzo. I’ve read that the clown has a little bit of Frank in it, and is an indirect self-portrait. The picture on the left is of Frank painting yet another clown, and if you look in the background, you can faintly see other works that Frank created hanging on the walls.
Unlike all of the above film stars, Clark Gable was not a serious artist. He did not paint or draw works to sell them. Nevertheless, his work still tells a story about himself. These two self-portraits (which were sold at an auction years ago) show a side of Gable that we don’t get to see often: his childlike, boyish side. First of all, he drew them in a medium any serious artist would shun: your average crayon. The kind that kindergarteners use when coloring in a coloring book. Obviously, all that talk about Gable being humble and down to earth is true: he was not afraid to poke fun at himself. The portrait on the right is a (hilarious) self-portrait of a drunk Gable, complete with a bottle, glasses, and a “hic hic hic!” coming out of his mouth. It’s definitely not the best piece of artwork out there, but it is cute and good because he drew it. But his phenomenal caricature on the left leads me to think that the only reason the portrait on the right looks like it was done with his feet is because he probably drew it drunk as well! The portrait on the left shows that Gable had a very modern, stylized look to his artwork, something that was very prevalent in the artwork of his time (Art Deco) It is deliberately flat and two-dimensional, and the shadows have a very heavy, block-like appearance to them, like most Deco works. I also love that he charmingly exaggerates his most famous features: his big ears, deep dimples, wide eyes, heavy brow, and sarcastic little smile. Gable didn’t draw to be serious, he drew to have fun.
Coop just continues to fascinate me. I haven’t always been a big fan of Coop’s, and I haven’t learned much about him until recently, and I enjoy discovering more and more about this guy. Many say that Coop was a bit of a dim bulb, but that is not the case. Coop was in fact an incredibly gifted artist, perhaps the best actor-artist in Hollywood, and that is why I saved him for last. Coop had been drawing since he was a child, and he attended Grinnell College in Iowa and majored in graphic arts. Coop intended to become a commercial artist or cartoonist. After college, Coop went back to his Montana home and worked as an editorial cartoonist for a local newspaper. He then moved to Hollywood, where his ambition of becoming a cartoonist got sidetracked when he scored parts as an extra in films, and we all know what happened from there! Even though Coop became an actor instead of an artist, he still never lost his love for creating, as seen by these two photos. His talent was incredible. He could paint a delicate nature scene en plein air or draw dark, inky caricatures (does that look like a self-portrait to you? Hmm…) In TCM’s “Word of Mouth” feature, one of the first things Maria Cooper Janis remembers fondly about her father is his love for art. Coop was so good, that he can create perfect pictures while having a smoke!
That’s all, folks! I hope you learned as much as I have
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!
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…
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.
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:
The Dames Hit Hollywood! Day Two: More Grauman’s Chinese, The Egyptian, The El Capitan,The Pig N’ Whistle, and Madame Tussaud’s
As you can tell by the title, my second day in Hollywood was full to bursting! It was hella lot of fun, of course. We went back to Hollywood Boulevard nice and early in the morning. Here’s a better picture of the Hollywood Roosevelt to start us off:
Isn’t it just amazing? Anyway, we arrived a bit late to Grauman’s the other day, and all the interior tours were over. While waiting for the tour this day, we took more pictures of hand and foot prints we missed out on the first day:
After the Egyptian, we had lunch at the Pig N’ Whistle, where everyone who was anyone wined and dined. It was very 1920s, with its extensive bar and dim colored lighting (hence the lack of interior photos. They all pretty much sucked). The food was pretty…well…mediocre, but the point of going here is to breathe the same air as our favorite film stars, so who cares about the food!
The ceiling of the lobby
More of the ceiling of the lobby.
A mural painted along the inside wall.
The carpet in the lobby.
The bar, which is a little way into the theatre.
On the wall across from the bar, there were photos of stars that frequented Grauman’s. Here’s Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell. Our tour guide told us a highly entertaining story of an Australian girl who absolutely could NOT identify anyone in the photos (if I remember correctly she thought Jane Russell was Amy Winehouse!) The gals are doing their hand and foot prints in the forecourt.
A photo of Clark Gable and his last wife Kay Williams attending a premiere at the theatre. The tour guide then said that Gable was cold to his fans, which was SO NOT TRUE. AT ALL.
Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford doing their prints. They were the first to do so. Sid Grauman is crouching on the floor, helping them out.
The side wall and seats of the screen room. It is decorated with columns, red lights, and paintings of nature in the ancient Chinese style (duh). The seats are red plush, and are quite comfortable, as you can lean back quite far in them!
“Cathay Circle”, the boxes where all important figures and luminaries would watch films. Sid Grauman’s own personal box is the one on the far right. The film projector is directly above the two blue lights.
After the tour, we headed onward to Madame Tussaud’s. You’d think we’d be tired, right? Nope! Especially your hyper-active blogger with her boundless energy!
Two more blocks (you know you love these):
The Madame Tussaud’s in Hollywood, although a lot smaller than the one in New York, is a hell of a lot more fun. The figures are built around little sets, where you can join in and feel as though you are part of the scene. Yes, you do get costumes with some of the figures!
Lady Gaga, who’s here purely to give this post more traffic. I know, shrewd business tactics.
She is accompanied by Clark Gable as Rhett Butler. I don’t know why, but I felt that the statue didn’t do him justice, and really doesn’t look like him too much. What do you think? (and by the way, his hair is HAAARRRD)
Hope you enjoyed day 2! Day 3, with my visit to the Hollywood Museum, will be coming soon!
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.
Like most (or all!) of the Old Hollywood actors, Clark Gable could’ve acted in some amazing films, but from a number of circumstances, he didn’t. Here are some roles I wish he took, it would’ve made him even more famous!
Little Caesar (1931)
Gable was originally chosen to play Joe Massara, Rico’s (Edward G Robinson) sidekick. However, he was rejected and the role was given to Douglas Fairbanks Jr when production head Darryl F Zanuck saw Gable’s screentest and declared it a waste (his ears were too big for Zanuck to handle!). But, alas, Gable’s rejection from Warner Bros was what brought him to MGM. Can you imagine a film with Gable and Robinson?! Amazing!!!
Tarzan, The Ape Man (1932)
Clark was so close to playing the legendary jungle man, but lost the role to Johnny Weissmuller’s muscular body and sick swimming skills (Weissmuller was an Olympic swimmer, after all). Why oh WHY did we get cheated out of Gable running around in nothing but a loincloth for an hour and a half?!
The Philadelphia Story (1940)
Katharine Hepburn (who always wanted to make a film with Gable) originally wanted Clark in Cary Grant’s role and Spencer Tracy in Jimmy Stewart’s role (if Spencer took it, would his romance with Kate have started earlier? Hmmm). Tracy had other commitments, so the role went to Stewart. Gable too, had other commitments, but it seemed he would have taken the role if it were a bit different! He deemed the script “too wordy” and the the character to boring: “other than pushing the dame down, I don’t have anything to do”. So C.K. Dexter Haven went to Cary Grant!
Woman of the Year (1942)
Carole Lombard was initially interested in making Woman of the Year with Clark. She thought it would be an excellent vehicle for them to re-team on the screen. However, Katharine Hepburn quickly snapped up the rights to the film, which disappointed Lombard. I hate to put a damper on everything, but Woman of the Year was released on January 19, 1942, only three days after Lombard died. I can’t help but think that if Hepburn didn’t take the film, Lombard would never have died…
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!
I have a lot of friends at school.
But that’s the problem: they’re only my friends at SCHOOL. I never wanted to go to an all-girls’ school, so I always tried to think that maybe I could finally have a true female friend (I was an extreme tomboy). So much for that. All my friends at school just see me at school. They don’t bother to hang out with me, blatantly talk about their plans in front of me, and never talk to me about anything else but SCHOOL. Are they using me? Do they really like me? On account of the fact I never spent any time with them outside of school to actually forge a good friendship, I don’t think so. You may think I’m insecure, but honestly, if you were treated that way, like second fiddle, wouldn’t start to doubt yourself a little bit too?
Everyone in that blasted school is so uncultured and stupid it’s unreal! It’s part of the reason why I started this blog: so I can reach out to people who actually care about my opinions on arts and film instead of always dismissing them as old-fashioned. I wish I had a friend who was like me, who shares my interests, and actually assumes that YES, I have a life outside of school! They seem to think I’m not a person, that I have no feelings, well, guess what, I’m just as human as everyone else!
Thank God I got that out of my system. It haunts me every second of my life. If I could choose different people who don’t go to the school to be my friends, I know that I would be happy and need nothing else. If I could choose a group of people who see me as special and who I know would always appreciate me and never leave me out, here’s who they would be:
If Classic Hollywood dames attended all-girls’ school:
The Smart One/Caring One/Good Listener: Myrna Loy
Myrna Loy was one of the few Hollywood “good girls”. Seriously, Da Loy (my silly nickname for her) was one of the nicest girls you could know. Myrna would be the smart one, the one who would help me out of all my problems and would listen to me when no one else would. She would always calmly see reason (an ESSENTIAL for someone as un-calm as myself) and would give me advice. She would be the true friend who sees people for who they are and would understand everyone better than they understand themselves.
The Flirt: Mae West
Mae West was no great beauty, but she is most famous for her unbelievably overblown sex appeal. Despite this, Mae was smart as a whip and super-witty to boot. Double-entendres, anyone? She would be the one who would roll her skirt just a little too high and wear her tights just a little too sheer for the nuns to bear. She would know the most boys, and go for them in a big way. She’d also be the one who is slightly mischievous, who would occasionally get her (and everyone else) in trouble. It’ll be great to see the looks on boys’ faces when they get verbally hit with “Come up and see me sometime”.
The Baby: Jean Harlow
Jean Harlow was called “The Baby” by her Hollywood friends, and she’d remain the baby in my clique. Jean would be the type who would be naive, who would need guidance from the rest of the clique. She’d be our cutie-pie, the one we love to care for. To add on to her child-like way of thinking, she had one heck of a baby face! Jean was a beauty without knowing it herself. I could see many men crushing on her and she wouldn’t even know it.
The Zany One: Carole Lombard
Oh Carole. It’s no wonder she inspired my 1930s name. Carole, who was famous (or infamous) for her not-so-normal behavior, would probably become my best friend. Her class-clown personality would make her the most lovable of all. I would gladly participate with her in staging the biggest practical jokes, engaging in zany predicaments, and being overall bold, brash, sarcastic, and scary-witty. However, she would also be my BFFL because we both have totally different sides that no one else sees. We’re both secretly generous, we both have our insecurities and are secretly sensitive, and we both love way too hard for our own good. Carole would be the most sister-like to me.
The Popular One: Vivien Leigh
Vivien, with her beauty and seemingly aloof personality, would definitely be the popular one, the one that all girls want to know and all guys want to be with! Vivien always loved all forms of the arts, so I’d bond with her on that. She’d be my art buddy, my opera buddy, and my Broadway buddy. We’d always hang out and explore the latest exhibit or Shakespeare play. Although everyone would be running after her, Vivien would realize that my clique is the coolest you can get!
The Protective One: Joan Crawford
I think it’s physically impossible to hate Joan Crawford. She’s my hero. She’s bold, tough, fair, strong, and every bit a leader. She was THE DAME! Joan would definitely be the one no one would ever mess with. Look at that face! It can protect us from all mean girls and all perverted boys! Dare to disobey?
The Radical: Katharine Hepburn
How can you not include Kate the Great in this clique? Kate was seen as a radical feminist in her day, and she paved the way for many freedoms that women today take for granted, such as wearing pants and smoking in public. Kate would always be the one who spoke her mind and would do whatever she pleased. I’m pretty sure we’d spend more than one day in detention with her! When she was a high-school student, Kate was suspended (or expelled I forget) for swimming nude in her school’s water fountain. Since my school has a polluted fish pond, we might get a repeat of that performance if she was a student in 2010!
Aren’t these girls the coolest people to hang out with? They’d be true friends…and they kick everyone else I know to the curb!