Category Archives: Classic Hollywood

Series: Photographs of Hollywood’s Cinema Stars

Classic Hollywood #109 – Fred MacMurray & Carole Lombard 1937

Fred MacMurray & Carole Lombard Skeet Shooting Between Takes

Fred MacMurray Carole Lombard 1937 Candid Skeet Shooting 1937 photo Tom EvansMore Deadly Than The Male!

Carole Lombard, blonde screen star, killed two kinds of birds with one gun in this skeet shooting match against Fred MacMurray and writer Claude Binyou while on location with Paramount’s “True Confession” company at Lake Arrowhead. Not only did Carole blast the clay pigeons with unerring accuracy. She also bagged two masculine egos, thoroughly puncturing the pretensions of MacMurray (waiting to shoot) and Binyou (operating the trap) to superior marksmanship. photo: Tom Evans for Paramount 1937

Among the many things that drew Clark Gable to Carole Lombard was that she was one of the guys. Lombard was also a favorite among studio stagehands and technicians.

In Gable & Lombard & Powell & Harlow, 1975 (Dell) by Joe Morella and Edward Z. Epstein the following story illustrates the sort of loyalty that made Lombard so appealing. Continue reading

Classic Hollywood #108 – Ann Sheridan At Bat

The “Oomph Girl” Ann Sheridan Does Her Spring Training

Ann Sheridan 1930s Catalina Island with Gabby HartnettI made a positive print of this undated photographic negative, identified as Ann Sheridan. If correct, it is a very early publicity photo of the actress nicknamed the “Oomph Girl.” Besides that, there is no information about when or where the photo was taken or who the man in uniform with Sheridan is.

Obviously the photo was taken at a beach. At first glance the man squatting with the big smile resembles Continue reading

Classic Hollywood #107 – Greer Garson, Great At Memorizing Lines

Greer Garson – Acting Talent Does Not Equate To Being A Good Talk Show Guest

Greer Garson (1904-1996) was a fine and talented actress. Anyone seeing her deeply moving performances in Goodbye Mr. Chips or Mrs. Miniver can attest to that.

Garson won the Academy Award for her portrayal as the title character in Mrs. Miniver. Six additional Academy Award nominations for Best Actress in a Leading Role affirm that her colleagues appreciated Garson’s acting skills.

But according to Craig Tennis, a former talent coordinator of The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson from 1968-1976, Greer Garson was not great when it came to spontaneity. Continue reading

Classic Hollywood #106 – Jack Benny & Mary Livingstone At Ciro’s

Jack Benny and Wife Mary Livingstone Dine At Ciro’s 1955

Jack Benny Mary Livingstonephoto Nat DallingerJack Benny and his wife Mary, enjoy an evening at Ciro’s in Hollywood. Benny started his career in the entertainment world as a doorman at a theater in Waukegan, Illinois, his birthplace. The Benny’s have been married 28 years. photo: Inside Hollywood by Nat Dallinger for King Features Syndicate week of August 12, 1955

Continue reading

Classic Hollywood #105 – Barbara Stanwyck Receives An Oscar

Barbara Stanwyck Thanks “Golden Boy” For Her Honorary Oscar 1982

In a six decade career Barbara Stanwyck (1907-1990) received four Academy Award nominations for Best Actress in a leading role.  The films were Stella Dallas (1937); Ball of Fire (1941); Double Indemnity (1944) and Sorry, Wrong Number (1948). She did not win for any of these great performances in fine pictures.

Stanwyck and William Holden starred together in the 1939 film Golden Boy. It was Holden’s first starring role. And he was almost fired. But Barbara Stanwyck insisted Holden stay on the film. The two became lifelong friends.

At the April 3, 1978 Academy Awards presentation, William Holden and Barbara Stanwyck were reunited as co-presenters for the award for best sound.

This was the era before everyone handing out awards had every word scripted for them and was littered with politically correct, back-slapping fake accolades and bad jokes. What happened next was completely genuine, unrehearsed and quite touching as you will see by Stanwyck’s reaction.

Finally four years later on March 29, 1982, the Academy recognized Stanwyck with an honorary Oscar for “superlative creativity and unique contribution to the art of screen acting.” Continue reading

Classic Hollywood #104 – Alfred Hitchcock & His Films

Alfred Hitchcock Shows Off His Films – 1976Hotchcock with all his films including new movie Family Plot 1976 photo Philippe Halsman

Canned Hitchcock – Alfred Hitchcock found out how his motion pictures would look if laid end to end when Universal Studios lines up prints of all his films, starting with “The Pleasure Garden” circa 1925, and ending with his 53rd motion picture, “Family Plot,” now being edited by the master of suspense.Alfred Hitchcock’s Family Plot starring Karen Black, Bruce Dern, Barbara Harris and William Devane, has been selected to open the 1976 Los Angeles International Film Exposition (Filmex) on March 21 at Plitt’s Century Plaza Theatre as a black tie pre-release world premiere, followed by a special Filmex Society “Salute To Alfred Hitchcock” at the Century Plaza Hotel. Film drama about the search for a lost heir will open nationally three weeks later on April 9. – photo: Philippe Halsman, January 1976

IMDB lists 54 feature film credits for Alfred Hitchcock as director, not 53. Somewhere along the line someone forgot to count one of Hitchcock’s films. Continue reading

Classic Hollywood #103 – Carolyn Jones & Aaron Spelling

Addams Family Actress Carolyn Jones Poses With Husband Aaron Spelling

Carolyn Jones Aaron Spelling c 1962 photo Bill Kobrin

Did two people ever look unhappier?

Or is it just Carolyn Jones who looks incredibly sad?

In 1960 Aaron Spelling said, “Carolyn is the only person in the world I need. We are more than in love. We are each other’s best friends.” Continue reading

Classic Hollywood #102 – Sean Connery, Before He Was James Bond

Before Being Cast As James Bond, Sean Connery Was Determined To Be A Star

Sean Connery 1960 photo The Picturegoer

James Bond is dead. At least to millions of movie fans who associate only one man, Sean Connery, with the role of Ian Fleming’s secret agent 007. Continue reading

Classic Hollywood #101 – Groucho Marx Was Born October 2, 1890

The 130th Anniversary of The Birth Of Groucho Marx

Groucho Marx in 1931 photo Eugene Robert Richee for Paramount

There are at least five comedians I wish were alive now to comment on the state of the world. If interviewed they could  put current events into perspective. They are George Carlin, Sam Kinison, Bill Hicks, Richard Pryor and Groucho Marx.

Each humorist was intelligent, sardonic and biting in their outlooks on life.

My all-time favorite was Groucho Marx.

Julius Henry “Groucho” Marx was born on October 2, 1890.

There are literally thousands of stories about Groucho and the Marx clan. Rather than rehash his life I’ll throw out one little known fact about Groucho from brother Harpo’s autobiography, Harpo Speaks! (1961, Bernard Gies Associates). Continue reading