Category Archives: Classic Hollywood

Series: Photographs of Hollywood’s Cinema Stars

Classic Hollywood #73 – Mystery Celebrity

Va-Va-Voom. Can You Guess Who This Is?

I did not recognize this well known celebrity when I first saw this photograph?

Do you know who it is?

Here are some clues to who our mystery celebrity is:

  1. She appeared regularly on a television show which had a long run in the 1950s.
  2. Two of her co-stars on the show were Jack Larson and John Hamilton.
  3. She was never attired like this on the show, but wore a pillbox hat and business suit?
  4. She was born in 1920 in Minnesota and died in 2016 in Arizona at the age of 95.
  5. She began making films in 1940 and had a contract with Paramount Pictures.
  6. Her final film was in 2016 Surge of Power: Revenge of the Sequel.

Do you give up?

Or is this someone you’ll have to look up?

In the sky. Not in the cloud.

Okay, that was a terrible pun of a clue.

The answer is:

Continue reading

Classic Hollywood #72 – Outtake Photo Of The Legends Of Comedy

Outtake Photo of  The Legends of Comedy

Just before posing for a formal photograph, an unnamed Globe photographer captured this informal moment. This photograph was unpublished until now. Flanking the seated Lucille Ball are (l-r) Milton Berle, George Burns, Jack Benny, Bob Hope, Groucho Marx and longtime Lucy co-star Gale Gordon.

The only one who seems ready for this photo is Lucy. Everyone else is completely distracted.

The photo below Continue reading

Classic Hollywood #71 – Clint Is “Dirty Harry” Again

Clint Eastwood Reprises His Role As “Dirty Harry” For The Fourth Time – 1983

Megastar Clint Eastwood is soon to be seen again in his hard-hitting role as Dirty Harry. He will be starring in an explosive new thriller called “Sudden Impact”,  that will mark the 4th film about tough, unconventional detective Harry Callahan. This time, in a change of situation, Dirty Harry finds himself the target of an assassination attempt while working on a particularly nasty murder case. The first film built upon the character was “Dirty Harry”, and came to the screen in 1971. This was followed by “Magnum Force” in 1974, and “The Enforcer” in 1977. Shot mainly on location in San Francisco, the film is described as an action-packed thriller. Clint Eastwood, who also directs this production, holds the distinction in the film industry as being the biggest box-office grosser throughout the world.  He is seen here disrupting a robbery attempt in the new film. photo: Bandphoto 1983

Sudden Impact was the only time Clint Eastwood undertook directorial duties in the Dirty Harry franchise. The movie spawned one of the most memorable quotations Continue reading

Classic Hollywood #70 – Hollywood’s Oldest Living Movie Star – Mary Carlisle

Mary Carlisle, Movie Star Of The 1930s Is 104 Years Young

(Update August 2, 2018 – Sadly, Mary Carlisle died on August 1, 2018, three weeks after this story was written.)

Mary Carlisle MGM publicity photo by George Hurrell

While she is not a household name, Mary Carlisle appeared in many films in the 1930s, including co-starring with Bing Crosby in three of his films.

With 65 films to her credit from 1923 -1943, Mary Carlisle is among the last survivors of Hollywood’s golden age of film.

Born in Boston on February 3, 1914, Carlisle started appearing regularly in movies at age 16 in 1930, mostly as an uncredited extra. Of the thousands of actresses vying for stardom in the 1930s, Carlisle’s talent and looks helped her rise in the ranks quickly.

Between 1922 -1934 the Western Association of Motion Picture Advertisers (WAMPAS) had a publicity campaign, where they annually named the young movie actresses they believed were on the cusp of motion picture stardom. Carlisle received a big boost in her career by being chosen a WAMPAS baby star for 1932. Among the 14 other actresses chosen that year by WAMPAS were Ginger Rogers, Gloria Stuart and Eleanor Holm.

 

Carlisle got a big build up from MGM and made dozens of films throughout the 1930s, not surprisingly cast as a stereotypical “nice girl” pretty blond.  Continue reading

Classic Hollywood #69 – The Barrymore Family

The Barrymore Family Reunion – 1932

Here is the early 20th century’s royal family of acting, the Barrymore’s, Lionel, Ethel and John.

Each a star in their own right, first on the stage and later in films. Yet the trio only appeared in one movie together, Rasputin and the Empress (1932).

The Clan Barrymore

When John, Ethel and Lionel Barrymore came together to play in M-G-M’s “Rasputin”, it made possible the first reunion of the entire family. Above photo shows the Barrymore reunion in Hollywood. Left to right- front row: Mrs. Lionel Barrymore (Irene Fenwick), holding John Blythe, son of John Barrymore; Lionel Barrymore, Ethel Barrymore, Mrs. John Barrymore (Dolores Costello) with Ethel Dolores Barrymore, her daughter; and Ethel Barrymore Colt, daughter of Ethel Barrymore. In rear are left to right: John Barrymore Colt (left) and his brother, Samuel Colt, with John Barrymore standing between the two. credit: Acme  9/20/32

This photograph was taken at John Barrymore’s home in early September 1932.

Interestingly before this film, the three actors had never even appeared together in the same play.

Rasputin and the Empress as the film was re-titled, marked Ethel Barrymore’s (1879-1959) first talking film. Her stage popularity was such that she wouldn’t appear in another film until 1944 (None But The Lonely Heart). After 1944 Ethel would appear regularly in motion pictures, making 20 more movies until her retirement in 1957.

After MGM signed Ethel Barrymore to appear in Rasputin, brother Lionel Barrymore (1878-1954) was asked to comment and said, “Great! And tell me what poor benighted and unlucky individual is to direct this opus in which all three of us are to act together?” Continue reading

Classic Hollywood #68 – Jayne Mansfield As A Brunette

So What Did Jayne Mansfield Look Like As Brunette?

Along with Marilyn Monroe, Jean Harlow and Brigitte Bardot, Jayne Mansfield (1933-1967) is one of the Hollywood stars who usually has the word “blonde” inserted before the word bombshell.

Mansfield’s hair was dyed blonde for the majority of her film career, which may leave you wondering what did she look like with dark hair?

Here is the answer.

Jayne dyed her hair dark for her role in the 1960 film The Challenge (re-titled in the U.S as It Takes A Thief.)

While the photo above is not Jayne Mansfield’s natural hair color, it is a startling contrast to the thousands of published photos of her as a blonde.

In the early 1950s Jayne studied acting at Southern Methodist University. She recalled in a1957 interview, “I was a brunette then.  And covered up. Men whistled at me. But that’s all. I decided my body was an asset and I’d use it.” Continue reading

Classic Hollywood #67 – Chico Marx, Businessman & Gambler

Chico Marx Entertaining The Troops During World War II

U.S. Naval Air Station, Wold-Chamberlain Airport, Minneapolis, MN: Chico Marx was flying high back stage in the Orpheum Theater when three Aviation Cadets and one WAVE from the U.S. Naval Air Station called on him to make arrangements for his appearance at the Station Recreation Hall. Chico is bringing his entire show to the Air Station Tuesday to entertain the Naval Personnel. The Cadets are Lowell H. Conrow, Richard W. Hildebrand and Donald D. Bosold. The WAVE is Ensign Mary J. Withrow, USNR. Photo: U.S. Navy

When author Charlotte Chandler wrote her entertaining book about Groucho Marx, Hello I Must Be Going (Doubleday, 1978), it was mentioned by Groucho’s friends that someone should write or compile a book about Groucho’s eldest brother, Chico Marx.

Eventually a book was written about Chico by his daughter Maxine Marx. As interesting as that book is, it was not the sort of book that captured Chico’s flamboyant and incredible life.

Maxine had left out a good deal of the salacious parts of her father’s life by purposeful omission. Many other anecdotes were left out of her book simply because Maxine was unaware of them. There were hundreds of great stories known and shared only by show business veterans and insiders who Chico associated with, that went untold. Now those stories are lost forever, as all of Chico’s friends, contemporaries and acquaintances are long dead.

What is widely known is that Chico was a notorious womanizer and gambler who went through money as quickly as he made it or borrowed it.

Groucho famously said, “You know, somebody asked Chico how much money he lost gambling, and he said, ‘Find out how much money Harpo has. That’s how much money I lost.'”

The brothers had to bail Chico out countless times. There were even a couple of instances where had they not paid Chico’s debts, the gamblers he owed money to would have killed him.

Harpo wrote in Harpo Speaks! (Bernard Geis Associates, 1961) of his older brother when they were both teenagers, “Chico was a devout believer in the maxim, ‘Share and share alike.’ The way he shared my possessions was to hock them as fast as he got his hands on them, and then give the pawn tickets to me as my share.” Continue reading

Classic Hollywood #66 – Rudolph Valentino Goes To Court In Costume

Rudolph Valentino Is Not Acting, He’s Actually In Court – 1925

Rodolfo Alfonso Raffaello Pierre Filibert Guglielmi di Valentina d’Antonguella – aka Rudoplh Valentino, one of the world’s biggest film stars in 1925.

As big as a film star Valentino was it would not prevent him from being compelled to show up in court against his wishes to answer a speeding violation. His crime: going 38 in a 20 mile per hour zone in Santa Monica.

The news caption reads:

Valentino in Court in Screen Costume – Fined $50

Rudolph Valentino, failing in an attempt to have a representative answer speeding charges in court asked to have court held at his studio pleading business pressure. Justice Marchetti became angered demanded Valentino’s appearance and fined him $50. Photo of “The Sheik” in the costume of his latest screen vehicle – 9-11-25 (photo Wide World)

Valentino was not being a prima donna asking the court to come to the studio. Shutting down production for one day of the film he was starring in, “The Eagle” would cost $10,000. More importantly the people who could least afford it, all the extras involved in the filming, would have lost a days wages

On September 8 Justice Marchetti said, “I am sorry that anyone should lose money or be inconvenienced, but the court can show no partiality. Before the law a famous actor is in the same situation as anyone else. The dignity of the law would be compromised, the courts would be made a laughing stock, were I to set up legal machinery in a studio.” Continue reading

Classic Hollywood #65 – Lillian Gish, Ethereal Beauty In The Dawn of Cinema

Lillian Gish – An Eight Decade Career in Entertainment

 

Lillian Gish, whom George Jean Nathan the eminent critic, has termed “the finest actress in motion pictures”, has again scored a signal triumph by her characterization of “Romola” in the Inspiration company’s production of George Eliot’s celebrated novel of the same name. Miss Gish spent a year in Florence, Italy making this picture, under the direction of Henry King. Photoplay reviewers have classed her work in “Romola” as fine as that of “The White Sister”. “Romola is a Metro-Goldwyn release. October 20, 1925

For longevity there are few stars that can rival Lillian Gish (October 14, 1893 – February 27, 1993).

The star of D. W. Griffith’s legendary Birth of a Nation (1915), Gish made her stage debut in 1898 and her final movie The Whales of August in 1987. In between those many years, Gish alternated between the stage, movies and television.

In 1914 theatrical producer David Belasco was quoted as saying that Lillian Gish “is the most beautiful blond he had ever seen.”

George Jean Nathan the critic who provided the quote in the news caption above was in love with Lillian Gish and the two dated for many years. In April 1925, Variety, the weekly theatrical paper, reported that the two were engaged to be married. Similar reports emerged in 1927. Gish and Nathan never  married and no reason or announcement was ever provided except that they were just “good friends.” Continue reading

Classic Hollywood #64 – Judy Garland & Vincente Minnelli at The Stork Club

Judy Garland and Future Husband Vincente Minnelli At The Stork Club In New York 1945

Judy Garland Vincent Minelli Stork Club photo AcmeJudy is altar bound again

Hollywood, CA – Screen actress Judy Garland has announced that she and director Vincente Minnelli will be married in New York City, at the Little Church Around The Corner, in June. The exact date has not been set, but it will be soon after June 7th when Judy’s divorce from composer Dave Rose becomes becomes final. The couple is shown together during a recent visit to the Stork Club, in New York.  (4-23-45) credit: Acme

Garland, age 23 and Minnelli age 42 had worked together on Meet Me in St. Louis (1944) and The Clock (1945). The couple wedded on June 15, 1945 not in New York, but at Judy’s mother Ethel’s home 750 South Ogden Drive in Los Angeles. It was Garland’s second of an eventual five marriages. Continue reading