“Manhattan Melodrama” is one of my all-time Gable favorites. It’s fast-paced. exciting, and yes, heavy on the drama! But it’s all good fun, and every time that I recommended this film to someone, they ended up enjoying it. The people don’t lie!
The film revolves around orphans Blackie Gallagher (Clark Gable) and Jim Wade (William Powell). Although they were raised together, they take completely opposite paths in life. Mischievous Blackie becomes a gangster and professional gambler, and studious Jim becomes district attorney, vying for the position of governor. Blackie’s girlfriend Eleanor (Myrna Loy) becomes tired of the wild life with Blackie, and instead settles down and marries Jim. Despite this, the two men remain friends. But when Blackie kills a man, their friendship becomes tested as Wade’s morals and job as D.A. tell him to send his best friend to the electric chair. Does Wade do what he feels is right, or does he save Blackie?
Obviously, the cast is terrific, and the three leads all play off each other wonderfully. Gable was, and always will be, great in the gangster role. This was also the first of fourteen pairings between Powell and Loy. Seeing their chemistry here, it is no surprise why they would make thirteen more films together (three of them being in 1934). Supporting actors like Leo Carrillo, Nat Pendleton, and George Sidney lend plenty of personality and likability to their characters, and Mickey Rooney as young Blackie in the beginning of the film is adorably and touching. (Fun fact: Rooney idolized Gable quite a bit on set, and would dress like him, act like him, and even drive a little replica of Gable’s car, much to Gable’s chagrin).
The Biograph Theater less than an hour after Dillinger’s death.
In recent years, this film has become quite famous due to the Johnny Depp film “Public Enemies,” which was a biopic of 1930s gangster and Public Enemy Number One, John Dillinger. Dillinger, a big Myrna Loy fan, was infamously shot to death by FBI agent Melvin Purvis outside the Biograph Theater in Chicago right after watching this film. Apparently, the news was used to publicize the film, much to the shock and horror of Loy. No blog post on this film would be complete without mentioning John Dillinger!
“Manhattan Melodrama” is also famous for the debut of a popular jazz standard, “Blue Moon.” However, in this movie we hear the song in its original title and lyrics, “The Bad in Every Man” by Rodgers and Hart. I must say, as much as I love “Blue Moon,” “The Bad in Every Man” is just so much more better. I can’t help but sing along to it every time I watch the film. The music in general is quite good in this film. It gets stuck in my head FOREVER.
But best of all, “Manhattan Melodrama” is an incredibly New York-ish film. Of course, being a New Yorker, I love that. It’s fast, glitzy, dramatic, complex, and just captures life in this city so well. It always gives me the shivers because it feels like I’m in a time machine, going back to that time and place that I love so much. That is the best feeling in the world, and the mark of an excellent film.
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!
In a previous post discussing my tour of Paramount Studios in Hollywood, I mentioned that I bought a book called “Hollywood Poolside” by Frans Evenhuis and Robert Landau.
This book is full of fun, beautiful portraits of golden age stars lounging around the pool, and how these waterside images affected American ideas of wealth and status. Need I mention to all my fellow fashionistas, it’s a great way to see the evolution of swimsuit styles? This book has inspired this post, which not only shows stars by the pool, but shows them rocking their stylish swimsuits anywhere, and is in a way a tribute to the pin-up.
Jane Russell models a cute 50s style powder blue one piece on the diving board.
Ginger Rogers models a 1940s style halter bikini
Jean Harlow modeling the popular black Jantzen one-piece of the 1930s. It had a very demure front, but a revealing back, adding a subtle sex appeal. One of the most popular swimsuits amongst Hollywood’s elite in the 1930s.
Joan Crawford spices up her white one-piece with strappy heels, ca. 1930s
Rita Hayworth in a nautical-themed pin-up shot.
Virginia Bruce models a demure skirt ensemble, ca. 1930s
Grace Bradley in a flattering one piece and chic cape-style coverup, 1936
Una Merkel (cheesy pose!) models a black one-piece and some cute sandals, 1934
A very early photo of Rita Hayworth (socks and sneakers with a swimsuit?), 1938
Marilyn Monroe is very famous for her swimsuit pin-up photos. August 3, 1951
A beautiful candid shot of Monroe laughing, July 1, 1952
Merle Oberon models a cute suit on a diving board, 1939
Who else rocked a swimsuit (and synchronized swimming) better than Esther Williams? January 21, 1948
Although strictly for modeling, Ginger Rogers’ coin suit from Gold Diggers of 1933 is the height of swimming couture!
Yay! A man! Maurice Chevalier (my newest crush) sports a popular men’s swimsuit from the 1930s (men wore it without the shirt as well).
Marilyn Monroe in a cheescake pin-up, July 2, 1953
Grace Kelly and her family on vacation, 1954
Marilyn Monroe in a bikini, May 26, 1952
Claudette Colbert looks adorable in this patterned swimsuit! With Gary Cooper in Bluebeard’s Eighth Wife (1938)
Marilyn and a chihuahua, May 17, 1950
The famous shot of Elizabeth Taylor on the set of Suddenly, Last Summer (1959)
Liz in an adorable polka-dot one piece, July 4, 1956
Ellen Drew, Susan Hayward, and Betty Grable, 1939
Ava Gardner in a…straw bikini? Yep! ca. 1950s
Jane Russell’s bikini looks like an optical illusion! 1950s
Elizabeth Taylor (only 17 years old here) and (hairy) fiance William D. Pawley Jr. relax poolside, August 25, 1949
What’s more fashionable: Marilyn’s swimsuit or heels? January 25, 1952
Marilyn having fun on the beach, ca. 1950s
Maurice Chevalier with an unknown actress in Innocents of Paris (1929). Her polka dot suit is tres chic!
Ann Rutherford sunbathing in a cute swimsuit, 1937
Ann Blyth (in a fashionable swimsuit) and Farley Granger in Our Very Own (1950)
Esther Williams teaches Mickey Rooney a thing or two in Andy Hardy’s Double Life (1942)
William Holden rocks patterned trunks in a scene from the greatest Hollywood-themed film, Sunset Boulevard (1950)
Esther Williams in a sequined swimsuit in Million Dollar Mermaid, 1952
Marilyn Monroe in Some Like It Hot (1959)
In a barely there swimsuit in Something’s Got To Give
Rita Hayworth playing cards on the beach (with herself?) ca. 1940s
Cary Grant and Grace Kelly lounge on the beach in To Catch A Thief (1955)
Cary Grant relaxes in some sporty summer clothing poolside
One of the famous Cary Grant and Randolph Scott portraits, ca. 1930s
Cary Grant checks out Marilyn Monroe, ca. 1950s
Clark Gable and Joan Crawford in the pool in Chained (1934)
Ida Lupino lounges around in a bikini and wedges
A lovely one-piece worn by Virginia Grey
Yvonne deCarlo wears a bikini in this pin-up photo
Evelyn Keyes in a sporty black one-piece
Very stylish, Johnny Mack Brown!
Ann Rutherford in a fashionable one-piece
(Blonde) Evelyn Keyes hangs out on the diving board
I must say, my favorite swimsuit pictures are Bette Davis’. There is something so effortless about the way she wears them!
Dorothy Lamour in a cute skirt ensemble
Paulette Goddard models a darling white one-piece!
Here’s a cute style, modeled by Rita Hayworth
Loving Ann Baxter’s suit!
The always-cute Joan Blondell in an adorable swimsuit
Betty Grable in a striped bikini
Sonja Henie, not on ice!
Ann Francis’ swimsuit is CUTE!
Scratch that. THIS is the cutest swimsuit ever created! Modeled by Dorothy Sebastian
Una Merkel in a conventional 1930s one-piece
Paulette Goddard in a wraparound swimsuit
Lookin’ good, Alan Ladd!
Joan Crawford is goddess-like in this white one-piece
Thank goodness Cyd Charisse is modeling a simple black suit here!
Cyd Charisse in a cute halter bikini
A very young Lana Turner in a diving board pin-up
Elizabeth Taylor’s swimsuit is to die for!
Jane Russell in a ruffly one-piece
Ann Blyth modeling an interesting one-strap suit
Ann Harding is 30s chic!
An early Ida Lupino in a patterned one-piece
Another classy Ida Lupino photo
Ava Gardner is gorgeous in this beachfront photo
Ramon Novarro is mighty, mighty fine…
An early Ronald Reagan in a lifeguard suit!
Mamie Van Doren in a pastel pink one-piece
Here she is again in a patterned one piece
LOVE Ann Sheridan’s bikini here!
Betty Hutton in a swimsuit, carrying an umbrella (?)
Jean Harlow in a low-cut swimsuit? Every man’s dream!
Jean Harlow working on her swimsuit body
This I LOVE. It’s glittery!
This one is adorable too!
Jean always looked fashionable
Fooling around in a standard 30s swimsuit
Joan Crawford and Dorothy Sebastian accessorize their swimsuits with cool headscarves, 1925
Joan looks gorgeous in this publicity shot, 1926
Famous photo of Joan with husband Douglas Fairbanks Jr, August 22, 1929
I simply adore this swimsuit!
Joan and Doug im 1931. The men’s swimsuits make me laugh
Joan with Franchot Tone in Dancing Lady (1933). The black fringe is so chic!
Multitasking sunbathing with answering fan mail
I love Joan’s 1940s swimsuits. Here’s my favorite
This one is HILARIOUS. Gloria Swanson in the 1920s
Jane Powell in an itty bitty bikini
Debbie Reynolds goes for a demure look here
But vamps it up here!
Pulling off a classic pin-up pose
A young Doris Day. Love the bikini, not digging the sandals
Bette Davis is so cute here!
Bette Davis in a swimsuit, and Joan Blondell modeling the beach pajama, a 1930s casual beachwear trend
Mary Astor and Manuel de Campo in Hawaii
Tyrone Power always looked good in those tiny swimsuits!
Tony Curtis brings in some much-needed hairy man leg
Oh my God. Rudolph Valentino is SEXY.
Gary Cooper in one of those things…
A (not so good) photo of Johnny Weissmuller and George O’Brein
LMAO who can guess what’s wrong with the above photo of Philip Reed?
Larry checks out Vivien
Larry and Viv at the beach
Johnny Weissmuller and his brother in identical swimsuits
Paulette Goddard in a black one-piece. Nice background!
Jeanette MacDonald is cool in a white one-piece, sunglasses, and a headscarf
Jeanette MacDonald enjoying the beach
Errol Flynn…what a hottie
Susan Hayward, a beautiful, popular pin-up
Susan Hayward flirts with the camera
A fun bikini modeled by Susan Hayward
Olivia de Havilland looking lovely, as usual (LOVE her shoes!)
Olivia de Havilland goes for more natural scenery
Rocking a patterned bikini
Ginger Rogers caught off-guard at the beach
Loving Ginger Rogers’ swimsuit!
Loving this one, too!
Fellow Brooklyn dame Barbara Stanwyck rocks a bikini!
Gene Tierney in an amazing leopard print suit
Myrna Loy lounging poolside in that backless swimsuit I spoke about earlier
Dolores Del Rio in a one-strap bikini
A pin-up era Lucille Ball modeling a gorgeous strapless one-piece
A very young (and still brunette) Lucille Ball in a cute patterned swimsuit and a killer hat!
Esther Williams in a simple black one-piece. She has her own (ADORABLE!) swimsuit line today.
Wearing a tie-front bikini
The always gorgeous Norma Shearer lounging poolside
The lovely and talented Ruby Keeler
Al Jolson with his wife, Ruby Keeler. Nice rubber swim cap!
Claudette Colbert looks glamorous in this one-piece
And even more glamorous in this vintage bathing costume! With actor John Payne
Joan Blondell models an early version of those cutout swimsuits so popular today
Claudette getting some sun, sand, and surf
Here’s a rare one: Greta Garbo!
Greer Garson looking statuesque in a metallic swimsuit
Deborah Kerr and Burt Lancaster, either before or after that famous scene from “From Here To Eternity”
A colorized photo of Carole Lombard in a glamorous swimsuit and heels
Leggy Lombard was a great pin-up
In a shiny one-piece
Joan Fontaine and Joseph Cotten in September Affair (1950)
Kirk Douglas and Brigitte Bardot on the beach
Color photo of Betty Grable in a yellow bikini (with a polka dot pillow)
Ava Gardner in a pinstripe one-piece
In a black tie-up bikini
And in a polka dot bandeau bikini
Humphrey Bogart looking cool in swim trunks and flippers
Hedy Lamarr in a gorgeous one-piece
Veronica Lake in a black tie-front bikini
Maureen O’Sullivan in a knit one-piece and cute sandals
Maureen O’Hara in one of my favorite designs: the skirt ensemble
Grace Kelly in an elegant black one-piece
That thing on Gene Tierney’s swimsuit is a cover-up…I hope
I love this swimsuit that Grace Kelly wore in High Society!
Kelly looking great in a white ensemble
Yep, Dick Powell was the Jantzen guy at some point
Why, Rock Hudson? Whyyyy???
The most famous, greatest swimsuit photo of all: Betty Grable’s leggy 1940s pin-up shot, quite popular with American World War II soldiers.
The Dames Hit Hollywood! Day Six: Sony Pictures/Columbia Tri-Star Pictures, Formerly The MGM Studios (Confused Yet? Good.)
This was the studio tour I was most excited–and most nervous–about. I was excited because I was about to tour the former MGM Studios, where EVERYONE made movies. In the 1930s, MGM boasted “more stars than there are in the heavens” and I totally believe that (maybe because in the five boroughs of New York, starry skies are nonexistent). Stars that worked at MGM: Greta Garbo, John Gilbert, Norma Shearer, Lon Chaney, Buster Keaton, Joan Crawford, William Powell, Wallace Beery, Myrna Loy, Clark Gable, Jean Harlow, Jeanette MacDonald, Nelson Eddy, Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney, Constance Bennett, Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, the Marx Brothers, Jimmy Stewart, Ginger Rogers, Lucille Ball, Elizabeth Taylor, Esther Williams, Lana Turner, the Barrymores, Robert Taylor, Rosalind Russell, Greer Garson, Hedy Lamarr, Robert Montgomery, Robert Young, Jimmy Durante, and Margaret O’Brien. The studio chiefs: Louis B. Mayer, Irving Thalberg, etc. were just as interesting and entertaining as the performers. I wasn’t exaggerating about the “everyone” part.
But despite MGM’s rich history (can you IMAGINE all the things that must have happened here?) the studio was bought by Columbia TriStar/Sony Pictures in 1990. I knew the focus of the tour would be on Columbia (which is still cool) but I was hoping that they would acknowledge MGM a bit on this tour as well (because it was MGM so COME ON!!!)
The references to MGM on this tour were so little it’s practically negligible. It was easily the most disappointing, most grueling studio tour I went on in Hollywood.
That morning, I was so ready to go, and a lot more energetic than I normally am (and I’m a pretty hyper person as it is). I made the reservations, booked the tickets…everything was going to go fine. But right after that I felt a bit sick. I didn’t think anything of it, popped three pills, and we headed to what is now known as Sony/Columbia TriStar Studios (I’m going to refer to it as the ex-MGM Studios for short).
On the way there, Baby, with her crazy paparazzi skills, snapped a few pictures of the original MGM gates. I’m glad she did, because we didn’t go near those gates ONCE during the tour:
By the time we got to the entrance of the studio, which is at the new, modern glass Sony Pictures Building, I was officially sick. My medicine failed me, and every curse word in the book was running through my woozy brain. How the heck was I supposed to do a two-hour ALL WALKING tour on a 90 degree day when I was weak, covered in a thin film of cold sweat, and dizzier than a person with vertigo? I was NOT looking forward to this at all.
Thankfully, the office building was large, spacious, and cool, with plenty of nice couches where I could wallow in my self-despair and pray that my medicine, by some miracle, would kick in before the tour officially began. I tried to calm myself down by staring at a huge poster of It Happened One Night (it’s now Columbia Pictures, after all) that was hanging from one of the all-glass walls, but THIS ANNOYING GUY sitting on the couch across from me was having the most “hilarious” phone conversation of all time and his stupid high-pitched voice was giving me a migraine, to add to my pains. Basically, I wasted a half-hour of my life listening to this guy scream”HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!! OH YOU’RE SOOOOO BAD! YOU CALLIN’ ME BAD? YOU’RE THE BAD ONE!” My sister was blatantly, hysterically laughing in his face, but he was so into convincing the person on the other side of the line that they’re so bad, he didn’t even notice when she snapped this picture of him:
Anyway, I was feeling too uncomfortable sitting still, so my sister, my dad, and I decided to look at the display cases of props and costumes, even though they were all from modern films:
The costume from Paul Blart: Mall Cop. For some sick, psychotic reason my sister actually LIKES this movie and I’ve been forced to watch this thing too many times for my liking. Oh well, nothing works like gazing into space and pretending like you’re watching something better!
After that, I was too tired to continue, and felt dizzy and in pain, so I sat down on the steps, trying to wrap my delirious mind around how I was supposed to do this, but couldn’t. At that point, this annoying camera guy who worked for the studio INSISTED that everyone who was going on the tour take a picture by the green screen (they would put in a background and the photo would be yours to keep after the tour). This resulted in probably the worst family picture in the history of bad family pictures. Everyone managed to look normal except me, standing an inch shorter than my younger sister, with a lazy eye, a white blouse turned see-through by sweat, and skin the color of Elmer’s liquid glue. This embarrassing, gross photo is now proudly displayed in my home, in a place that where any guest walks in, they can’t help but see it. Epic. Fail.
Anyway, the tour commenced soon after that. Our tour guide was a cheerful blonde hipster guy named Mike or Mark or something that starts with an M. The guy was so perky about everything that the disgustingly stuck-up German family that was also part of the tour group made so much fun of him the entire two hours. I felt really bad for him. At least he likes his job.
Then the kid gave us a lecture about taking pictures and how it wasn’t allowed unless he said so. Or he could lose his job. Although I was way too out of it to comprehend even being on the MGM lot, I could practically feel my camera-happy dad’s disappointment radiating out of him.
Like in Warner Bros, we watched a short film about the history of Columbia leading to its upcoming releases. I used this time to try to forget about my sickness, but it wasn’t working at all. The only time I showed any signs of life during that film was when It Happened One Night popped up on the screen. After that, the tour officially began.
The next stop on the tour was the Thalberg Building, an imposing white Deco-style building that was Irving Thalberg’s offices when he was head of MGM in the 1930s. At that point, everything that I was feeling went from bad to worse. I thought I was going to vomit and pass out right then and there in the ex-MGM lot, in front of Irving Thalberg’s ex-office.
Which was so not an option.
Although I was in no condition to even be out of bed, let alone walking around a Hollywood film studio, I convinced myself to suck it up. Walking on the same ground so many demigods have walked on before me is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I was gonna finish this tour and enjoy it!
Unfortunately, the Thalberg Building was one of the many places that was off-limits to photos, so no pictures guys :( When we went inside, my fried brain was absolutely blown away by the Art Deco decor. I felt like I was inside one of those beautiful hotels or office buildings from the Golden Age films. On display in glass cases were the Best Picture Oscars of some Columbia films, including It Happened One Night and You Can’t Take It With You. Since the rest were for modern films, I just hovered near these two Oscars, unable to comprehend that the only thing separating me from It Happened One Night’s Oscar was a thin sheet of glass.
The tour guide took us to the middle of the lobby for a second. He asked us if anyone knew how the Academy Award statuette got the nickname “Oscar”. Never one to pass up the opportunity of being an insufferable know-it-all, I told him two theories: that AMPAS librarian Margaret Herrick thought it resembled her uncle Oscar and that Bette Davis thought it resembled her first husband, Harmon Oscar Nelson, Jr. After getting weird stares from everyone in the lobby of the Thalberg Building, from workers, security guards, and tourists alike, and a genuine look of concern from the tour guide (I probably looked like I was high on something, no doubt), he said that those two theories are quite popular, but attempted to refute them by going on some spiel about how Cedric Gibbons designed the Oscar. Sorry dude, but that has nothing to do with how the statuette got its name.
Here are two streets on the lot. Which brings me to another point. The MGM lot was HUGE. I’m talking hundreds and hundreds of acres. Yet this was the smallest studio lot I’ve been on from all the tours. It was SO disappointing and so sad. When I looked over at my sister, I could tell she was upset too.
After that we were going to go inside a soundstage. We snaked through the normal, blank studio buildings. However, these buildings weren’t numbered like at the other studios. They were named after great stars. We passed the Tracy Building, the Garland Building, the Gable Building, etc. Our tour guide then stopped us by the Hepburn Building, saying that Katharine Hepburn loved to throw parties on its roof. He never said that no photos were allowed here, and it was nothing but a boring white building, who would even care? So my dad took a picture of me standing in front of it, my hands meekly folded in front of me. But we got busted by the stupid tour guy, and he took my dad to the side and told him to stop taking pictures unless he said so. It was like a parent lecturing a toddler for putting their hand in the cookie jar, and it was the first time I cracked up all day.
Basically, this studio is famous for being the place where game shows such as Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune are filmed. We were taken inside the Jeopardy studio and got to sit in the audience seats while the tour guide droned on endlessly about the game show. By this point I was feeling much better, and thanked God in my seat instead of listening to the guy. Although the show was on hiatus and all the sets covered in white canvases and although everyone on the planet has watched Jeopardy at least once in their lives, we were still not allowed to take pictures. Um, tour guide, I bet you the aliens on Mars know what Jeopardy is. It’s not like I’m leaking photos of a blockbuster film set.
Anyway, we moved on to the spot outside the Wheel of Fortune studio, but we weren’t allowed to go in because we “already visited one soundstage” . Puh-leez. So we were set loose to check out the mini Wheel of Fortune museum they had going on there:
The last stop of the tour was the gift shop. And WHAT a gift shop. It had absolutely nuh-thing. No books, no classic films, nothing. Zip. Nada. It was quite a disappointing tour. We barely touched upon MGM’s history. The tour only made it worse.
Here’s a nice poster to lighten things up around here. Cary Grant’s handsome face is always a welcome sight:
Only one more day left, everyone! And WHAT a special day it was! But you’ll just have to wait and see to read just what made my last day in the Land of the Silver Screen so memorable…
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.
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!
Us seniors got our yearbooks last Wednesday, and since then, it’s been nothing but yearbook MANIA. Everyone is scrambling for signatures, passing the book around to friends, running after teachers with pens in hand, allotting valuable page space among people (empty front and back pages for close friends, divide these pages among the close friends, everyone else can sign by their photo in the book, so on and so forth). Of course, there’s also the frustration of what to write and where to begin writing. There’s also the dread of someone you really don’t know well asking you to sign their book, and you’d have to end up writing some weak, obviously fake, generic message to them (“I’m glad we got to know each other! Good luck in college!”). An ex-friend of mine (she’s a SEVERE NUTCASE and as soon as I found out, I dumped her faster than a hot potato, and you have no idea how much I was made to look like the bitch after that!) asked me to sign her yearbook. To my inner satisfaction, I was probably the second person to sign. I told her to be happy in life (she’s faking being depressed about everything. Sorry for the amount of parentheses in this post).
But what if I was lucky enough to go to school with Classic Hollywood? What would they have to say to me? Look no further!
Hooray for having big beaver teeth like me girl! Go us!
Clark knocked me up so take THAT!
So…wanna go out for dinner at a five-star restaurant tonight? Just kidding! And please stop laughing hysterically at me when I trip/fall on my butt/make pigeon-like motions with my head/get constantly confused and baffled by what’s going on around me.
DAAAAAAAHHHHHHH-LIIIIINNNNGGGG! Best in luck with everything you do dahling, but dahling, you ain’t ever gonna be better than me dahling!
Your dahling friend,
Tallu (DAHLING) (DUH)
You’re butt-ugly! What else can I say, being a blonde bitch?
So…wanna go out for dinner at a five-star restaurant tonight? You get full access to my schnozz!
THE HIIIIILLLLLLLSSS ARRRRRRREEEEE ALLLIIIIIIVVVVVEEEE WITH THE SOUND OF MUUUUUUSSSIIICCC! Please stop calling me “Judy” Andrews. MY NAME’S FRIGGIN JULIE, GET WITH IT GIRL!
With Kindest Regards,
I’m so glad we are friends! I’m not the only cheapskate who badly plays an instrument!
From Your Pal,
Admire the profile! Wanna go out for a drink? Don’t worry about getting a fake ID!
Thank you for tormenting me with duck jokes you meanie!
Robert “Quack” Young
I AM THE FUNNIEST MARX BROTHER! Just wait and see!
I am in love with our friendship! Who else says “MONEY!” instead of “CHEESE!” when we take pictures??
I’m glad you are one of the few who appreciate my brand of humor and acknowledges my talent…even though you often say I look like a turtle.
BABALU! BAAAABAAALLLUUUU! Keep on Babalu-ing, amiga!
~~Desiderio (I know you have an obsession with my full name)
Congratulations to the Queen of Sheba! You, like me, can throw a swell left!
YOU NEED SOME PIANO LESSONS STAT.
We’re two of a kind! But I’m the prettier, thinner one!
Your accent, loud voice, fast way of speaking, sprinkling of your speech with disgusting swearwords, and tendency to make rude noises while conversing are shameful to the integrity of the English Language. I, a mere child, can speak with better diction than you ever will in your entire lifetime. Please try to make an effort to see me sometime this summer so I can attempt to alleviate your situation.
Mr. Freddie Bartholomew
So we share birthdays! How about I eradicate you off the face of the earth so I can be the only one eh?
You’re just jealous of my mumbling voice and brooding persona, so stop making fun of it! And you have to admit, I was cool as Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls!
HOW MANY TIMES MUST I TELL YOU I DO NOT LOOK CONSTIPATED THROUGHOUT GWTW! I hope you will become blinded by my shiny golden locks!
So you think you have big eyes huh?
Thank you for always hoping that someday I will get the girl over Clark Gable.
Voules-vouz le taximeter?
I AM NOT EVIL.
I hope you someday find your very own pale hands by the Shalimar. Stop making fun of my thick Italian accent and my incredibly long name. I know it’s sexy, but please contain yourself.
The only time you ever showed any promise in dance is when you badly needed to use the restroom.
I’m very happy for you really I am.
Aww, I dunno what to say…ummm…aw gawsh!
Sir Laurence Olivier
Aww baby, you should be sittin’ on top of the world!
Al (which rhymes. New song!)
Gentlemen prefer blondes!
I thoroughly enjoy terrorizing everyone with our caustic remarks!
Why do all of your tights look strangely like mine?
Errol Flynn (aka In Like Flynn…please stop randomly saying that)
I’VE NEVER SEEN SUCH A BEAUTIFUL BUBBLE SINCE I WAS A CHILD! You can imitate my voice so well it even creeps ME out!
PS: I LIKE MONEY!
Please excuse me while I count my cocoanuts
Louis B Mayer:
There’s room for only one tyrant around here!
Fellow Brooklyn dames!!!
Please remove this monstrosity of a yearbook away from me! By the way, I still can’t get rid of the botanical freak from Life With Father.
Please stop playing with my nose and calling me Myrna Boy! I’m not a boy!
I did NOT steal my cable-knit sweaters from Clark Gable!!!
We have so many inside jokes! From, “a little bit of laryngitis baby” to “I got the gobloots from the booshoo bird?” I never fail to bust your lungs!
Come up and see me sometime! Oh wait, you’re a girl, not a sexy muscleman.
You’ll be “singin’ in the rain” at your prom tomorrow!
Every time you sing “42nd Street” I have a brain aneurysm
Love, Ruby K.
Stop offering me your retainer!
Women should be obscene and not heard.
May I have my name back?
The Real Carole
Here’s NOT looking at you, kid
Great balls of fire! Stop fancying yourself as Scarlett O’Hara! And there are SOME non GWTW movies in which I don’t die!
Please tell them to stop comparing Kate Middleton to me.
You are a very nice girl. Now stop stalking me and get a life.
Today I’m beginning the play-by-play of my Hollywood vacation! By the end of this series, you’ll hopefully feel as though you’ve been there with me vicariously through tons of photos and explanations. It’s your guide of modern-day Hollywood for the Classic Film Fan!
On my first day in Hollywood, I took no time to rest, and went straight to Hollywood Boulevard (which is where most of the action is!) We then did some of the Walk of Fame (my parents were so not going to do the whole thing. Me, being a big walking person, would not have at all minded seeing all 2500 stars that go on for miles on Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street. Oh well.) It’s amazing to see them in person! Unfortunately, some people graffittied the empty ones, which is just low, cheap, and disgusting. Some are also ruined, and need to be fixed. Nonetheless, here are some of the luminaries we saw:
Now let me take the opportunity to post a picture of an extremely pale-faced statue of James Dean outside a gift shop:
Heheheh. Anyway, let’s continue. Baby and I quickly lost interest in the Walk of Fame, however, when we saw one of the spires of the legendary Chinese Theatre, the location in which thousands of stars attended glamorous premieres of their films and entered their hand and footprints in a specially made cement. It gave me the CHILLS just to be in its presence! But since we were across the street from the Theatre, we decided to take our chances and sneak into the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, founded by Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, and Charlie Chaplin and once home to Marilyn Monroe, Montgomery Clift, and Gable and Lombard. It was also the home of the first Academy Awards celebration (which lasted fifteen minutes) and it is nothing short of a LEGEND in every sense of the word. It is beautiful inside, with a medieval castle theme mixed with wonderful 20s and 30s Deco:
After acting like criminals at the Roosevelt, Baby and literally pounded down the pavement into Grauman’s. It was just so overwhelming and beautiful, I broke down and cried like a little baby. It was the biggest thrill of my life, and I didn’t wash my hands for a full 24 hours afterwards.
Hope you enjoyed day one of my Hollywood vacation! Plenty more to come!
Today is my birthday! To celebrate, I’ve listed all the Hollywood stars with whom I share my birthday with on the sidebar (Debbie Reynolds, Wallace Beery, Jane Powell, and Lon Chaney), and now I’ll give you the stars with whom I share the same hometown: Brooklyn, New York! Brooklyn’s got it all: diversity, history, sass, attitude, grittiness, creativity, and most of all, it’s a fascinating place, to say the least! And the people? Well, they’re one of a kind! Check put this panorama of stars from Brooklyn. They define what it means to be from this unique city:
That’s right, this screen legend is a Brooklyn girl! The daughter of Jewish immigrants, Bacall is famous for her sultry stare (known as “The Look”), velvety voice, and cool attitude. She is synonymous with the Film Noir genre, and helped to define what it means to be a femme fatale. Bacall’s romance with Humphrey Bogart is one of Hollywood’s greatest legends and love stories, and she is one of the few Golden Age stars still with us today. A beautiful, talented actress, Bacall has done Brooklyn proud!
Clara Bow had an unpriveleged (to put it mildly) childhood in the slums of Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. She faced much at a young age, including poverty, physical abuse and the insanity of her mother. However, that did not stop her from becoming one of Hollywood’s greatest silent film stars, and one of the first female sex symbols. Her vivacious, energetic personality led her to become the ideal flapper, and her nickname was the “It” Girl. Eventually, Bow would define the Roaring Twenties itself.
I know he isn’t a movie stars by any means, but in many people’s minds, vintage Brooklyn is synonymous with gangsters, and Capone’s the reason why! Capone, originally from downtown Brooklyn, moved to Park Slope at the age of eleven. He would be expelled from school at age fourteen, move to Chicago in his twenties, and would go on to become the ultimate twenties gangster: smuggling and brewing bootleg liquor, bribing government officials, investing in prostitution, and wielding a nasty gun!
George Gershwin is considered one of America’s greatest performers. A New York boy through and through, he wrote more than a dozen Broadway musicals such as Strike Up the Band, Funny Face, and Girl Crazy. He wrote two operas,one of which is Porgy and Bess, and many orchestral pieces, such as An American In Paris, I Got Rhythm, Shall We Dance, and his most famous…Rhapsody In Blue, which would become the theme song for the Paul Whiteman Orchestra. His numerous songs have been recorded by many artists, and remain famous jazz standards. Gershwin often collaborated with his brother, lyricist Ira Gershwin.
Susan Hayward was a fashion model before she became an actress, which is not surprising considering her beauty. Hayward’s Hollywood career took off when she auditioned for the role of Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind. Although she didn’t get the role, she nevertheless became one of Hollywood’s most respected actresses. Hayward was nominated over five times for an Academy Award, and constantly reaped critical acclaim.
A forties favorite, Rita Hayworth was one of the era’s top dancers and actresses. Known for her sex appeal and pin-up girl looks, Hayworth was the beauty ideal of her time. Hayworth had an exotic aura about her (partly due to her Hispanic heritage), leading to her status as a sex symbol and a pin-up girl (she and Betty Grable were the top two). She was also provocative through her dancing, and her most famous films are Gilda and The Lady From Shanghai.
This musical legend was born in Bedford-Stuyvesant (Bed-Stuy to the locals), Brooklyn. Before moving to Hollywood, she was a New York nightclub performer, including the Cotton Club. Horne faced much adversity in Hollywood due to her African-American roots, but she was relentless in never giving up her dreams, becoming one of the era’s most famous artists (her music is still enormously popular today). Today, Horne is remembered and admired for crossing racial barriers, and she continues to inspire millions today.
Edward Everett Horton
Ever see this guy in an Astaire/Rogers film? Edward Everett Horton was one of Hollywood’s greatest character actors, beginning his long colorful career in the vaudeville theaters of Brooklyn and Broadway. His career contained not just film work, but theater, radio, television, and animated cartoons. Horton is also remembered for his cameo appearance in I Love Lucy as a very amorous grocery store owner :)
The Three Stooges
No surprises here! The Three Stooges are Brooklyn boys alright! And everyone knows who they are! One of the most famous comedy and vaudeville teams of the twentieth century, the Stooges were pioneers of physical, slapstick humor. They made many short films, and cameo appearances in feature-length films. It’s quite interesting to see them in Dancing Lady with Joan Crawford and Clark Gable!
Arthur Miller also wasn’t a movie star, but he was a major influence on Hollywood during the 50s. One of the most prominent American playwrights, Miller penned classics such as Death of A Salesman, The Crucible, All My Sons, A View From The Bridge, and The Misfits (which became a film starring Clark Gable, his then-wife Marilyn Monroe, and Montgomery Clift). In his plays, Miller was not afraid to question modern society and the events of his time period.
The Ritz Brothers
They have the weirdest faces. This brother vaudeville team was unique because their act not only contained comedy, but dancing. They had a long career, starting from the twenties all the way to the seventies. They are often compared to the Marx Brothers (even though they are quite different), and are famous for their celebrity impersonations.
This little dynamite has been at it since the 30s and is showing no signs of stopping! Rooney easily has the longest acting career in history. One of America’s first teen idols, Rooney is famous for his Andy Hardy series, which depicted the everyday life and troubles of the all-American family of Judge Hardy. Always charming, these films are quintessential vintage Americana. He is also quite famous for his pairings with Judy Garland, such as Strike Up The Band and Babes In Arms.
Without a doubt, Barbara Stanwyck is the ultimate tough dame. As a child in Brooklyn, she had to deal with the murder of her mother and the disappearance of her father. Her oldest sister abandoned her siblings to become a showgirl, leaving them in foster homes, from which Barbara often ran away. Her experiences gave her the strong persona and screen presence she was famous for, and despite having a rough and tumble childhood, Stanwyck became one of Hollywood’s most acclaimed actresses and was a professional on set.
He wasn’t called “The Boy Wonder” for nothing. At a very young age, Irving G. Thalberg wielded enormous amounts of power as an MGM producer. He had a knack for choosing the right script, casting the right actors, getting the best production staff, and making tons of money at the box office. Thalberg’s marriage to Norma Shearer is often held up an as an example of true love in the racy atmosphere of Hollywood. His untimely death at age 37 shocked and devastated Hollywood.
Gene Tierney was considered a breathtaking beauty back in the day, and with her green eyes, porcelain skin, and dark hair, it’s no wonder why! But Tierney was more than just a face. A truly talented actress, Tierney is best known for her roles in Laura and Leave Her To Heaven. Unfortunately, Tierney’s mental problems and turbulent personal life affected her career.
Another acting powerhorse, Wallach shot to fame in the fifties. Rarely the leading man, Wallach was almost always a supporting role. Like many of his contemporaries, Wallach is a Method actor. His most famous roles are Baby Doll, The Good the Bad and the Ugly, and The Magnificent Seven.
My favorite Brooklynite, Mae West is greatest sex symbol of her era. Period. She was beautiful, smart, and witty as hell. Well known for her naughty double entendres, West wrote all of them herself and would often write or ad lib her own lines in her films. West was incredibly successful in vaudeville and Broadway, and was already a big name when she arrived in Hollywood in the 1930s. She was a gifted comedienne, and attracted droves to the theatres. Despite this, she encountered numerous problems with her controversial material and censorship. Ever the Brooklyn girl, this Bushwick native led a colorful, satisfying life, and she enjoyed herself, with lots of sass along the way.
Happy Friday everyone! Ever wonder what it looked like during the filming of a Gable film? These pictures will take you behind the scenes of movie-making at its finest (some photos from dearmrgable.com):
Hanging around on the set of Adventure, with Greer Garson and Victor Fleming
Relaxing on the set of Adventure with Joan Blondell
Playing with probably the cutest baby in the entire world on the set of Boom Town. Spencer Tracy looks a tad concerned.
Giving Joan Crawford a hand on the set of Love on the Run
With costar (and gal pal) Elizabeth Allan on the set of Men In White
With the locals on the set of Mogambo in Africa
Only Clark can make sneakers look cool! On the set of Never Let Me Go with Gene Tierney and a HUGE dog
Standing behind the (wrong) chairs on the set of The Misfits
On the set of To Please A Lady
On the set of The White Sister
Whoa guys sorry about the length of this thing…I can never get enough of behind the scenes pictures!
I love Mickey Rooney to death. He’s cute, funny, and talented, so why not?
As a matter of fact, I think Mickey Rooney is so cool that I saw three movies of his in a row: Life Begins for Andy Hardy, Andy Hardy Meets Debutante, and Andy Hardy’s Private Secretary.
All three films were great. They were heartwarming, light and fluffy, and they taught lessons. However, I found them a little unrealistic. Andy Hardy is like, the perfect son! I’ve never seen a boy respect his father so much and care for his family like that. Andy Hardy is what I WISH my generation was like. I don’t even think kids in the 1930s were THAT nice. The Andy Hardy films probably left parents in tears wishing they had a kid that good and obedient.
Judy Garland, as girl-next-door Betsy Booth in two out of the three films I saw, is excellent and adorable. Her rendition of “Nobody’s Baby” was nothing short of amazing. It was also extremely annoying that in Life Begins for Andy Hardy Andy was falling for the evil girl! Can’t you see Judy was the right girl you big buffoon?! Anyway, Judy’s cameo appearances in the Andy Hardy film series (she appears in three films) were only to boost her popularity, and don’t hold a candle to some of her other roles.
But after watching three Hardys in a row, I don’t think I can watch another in a long, long time. The happiness and good cheer gets to you after a while, and it got to a point in which I memorized the Andy Hardy theme song and started humming it around the house. Also, the opera singing in Andy Hardy’s Private Secretary gave me a headache. I even memorized every crooked tooth in Mickey Rooney’s mouth!
The Andy Hardy films are great, but take them in small doses.
On September 23, we’d like to wish a very happy 90th birthday to Mickey Rooney, who will always remain a teenager in our hearts! In honor of his birthday, the New York Post published an interview with Rooney in the Sunday paper. From that interview, I learned a helluva lot about him:
1) Mickey is a fellow Brooklynite! Well, sorta. His parents were vaudevillians from California, and while touring in Brooklyn, Mickey entered the world!
2) He’s been in exactly 361 films, more than any other actor!
3) Everyone knows that Mickey was friendly with all the Old Hollywood stars…but did anyone know that he knows some current Hollywood stars as well? Yup, Mickey Rooney hangs out with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie! And don’t forget Tom Cruise!
Now tell me: How much do you love this guy (even more than you already did)?