An Interview With Harpo Marx: Why He Was Taking Up The Bagpipes – 1943
During World War II Hollywood celebrities that were too old or unfit to be in the armed forces served in other ways. Almost without exception performers tirelessly traveled across the United States and all over the world to entertain the troops.
With today being Halloween we thought we’d do a story about Bela Lugosi and Dracula. Not many children dress as Dracula on Halloween anymore. You are not allowed to wear the cape and put fangs in your mouth unless you are a real vampire. This is because of the very vocal beyond-the-fringe maniacs who go into an uproar about “cultural appropriation.” So, Dracula is off limits as a costume as far as certain groups have told us, such as ORVIL (Only Real Vampires In Life) .
For those who don’t realize it, I’m not serious, but sometimes it feels as if this is where mainstream society is headed unless somebody speaks up.
Bela Lugosi (1882-1956) the actor most identified with Dracula, loved and loathed the role at the same time. Dracula made Lugosi famous, but in the process it typecast him as being a horror star. Most people do not realize that prior to Lugosi being cast in Dracula in 1931, he had starred in the Broadway production of the play for three years. Previous to that he was a leading man with strikingly handsome features.
James Caan Sheila Ryan wedding ceremony photo: Gary Thompson Globe Photos
Here we see James Caan and Sheila Ryan getting married on January 12, 1976. It was a happy occasion, I guess. But why do groom Caan and bride Ryan look like they want to either call it off right then and there or deck the chaplain for saying something inappropriate? Or is just the seriousness of the solemn occasion? Continue reading →
Jean Arthur Star of Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, Always Waited Weeks After The Premiere To See Her Own Films
I doubt that when the name Jean Arthur is mentioned to film buffs, the words sex symbol come to mind. That is why this publicity photo of Jean Arthur from the 1941 film The Devil and Miss Jones would surprise any fan of the star.
This type of photo (sans bathing suit) would have been more appropriate for Georgina Spelvin who 30 years later starred in an x-rated title take-off called The Devil In Miss Jones.
Cary Grant and Queenie Smith Attend The Emanuel Cohen Banquet Screen Folk Fete Studio Head
Hollywood, Calif.: When a testimonial dinner honoring Emanuel Cohen, studio head, was given last night, all of filmdom turned out in their finest. Among the many stars present at the gala affair, were Queenie Smith, motion picture actress, accompanied by Cary Grant, handsome screen lover and estranged husband of Virginia Cherrill, beautiful motion picture actress. Hollywood wonders if this is a new romance. Credit photo: Wide World Photos 10/13/1934
For Cary Grant and Queenie Smith there was no romance. The publicity agents at Paramount made sure Grant escorted women to various Hollywood events. At the time Grant lived with actor Randolph Scott, an arrangement that lasted until the early 1940s. Cary wed heiress Barbara Hutton in 1942.
But, who was Emanuel Cohen?
Paramount Pictures, Emanuel Cohen on the set of a film
Cohen is one of the forgotten behind the scene power brokers of the 1930s film world. As vice president in charge of production at Paramount Studios, Emanuel Cohen (1892-1977) was largely responsible for keeping Paramount afloat during the Great Depression. In the early 1930s the studio was essentially bankrupt. Continue reading →
United Artists Holds A Party. Who Is The Guest Of Honor?
United Artists Pictures executives, stars and their families attended this dinner party at the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles on April 8, 1925. This was an enormous display of Hollywood power brokers in one small room. What was the reason they were there?
Silent screen idol Rudolph Valentino had signed a contract a month earlier with United Artists. When this photograph came up for auction several years ago, it was attributed in the auction that Valentino was the recipient for this gathering.
This undated, uncredited photo shows a young Julie Newmar with blonde hair. Newmar did have a film career before and after her turn as one of the sexiest TV villains ever. This is what she looked like years before appearing on Batman.
Julie Newmar was indisputably the best Catwoman on the Batman TV series. Eartha Kitt also played Catwoman, while Lee Meriwether played the part in the 1966 Batman movie.
The leggy Newmar had wickedly delicious lines she would trade with Adam West (Batman). Catwoman’s best piece of dialogue I believe was this exchange with Batman while he is trying to convince Catwoman to surrender:
Batman: I’ll do everything I can to rehabilitate you.
Catwoman: [overcome by happiness] Marry me.
Batman: Everything except that. A wife, no matter how beauteous, or affectionate would severely impair my crime-fighting.
Catwoman: But I could help you in your work. As a former criminal, I’d be invaluable. I can reform, honestly I can.
Judy Garland Died 50 Years Ago Today – How Hollywood Reacted
Mickey Rooney, director George Seitz and Judy Garland discuss a camera angle on the set of Andy Hardy Meets Debutante May 18, 1940 photo: MGM
Judy Garland’s third husband, Sid Luft claimed that Judy tried to kill herself at least 20 times in their 13 years of marriage.
The public knew of Judy’s ups and downs and her problems with pills and alcohol. What they didn’t realize was just how unhappy the star had been for most of her life and her multiple attempts at suicide. And few people, some close friends and her doctor, realized how ill Judy had been during the last few years of her life.
Judy’s self-destructive path culminated when she was found dead in her London apartment June 22, 1969 of a drug overdose. She was only 47-years-old.
In 1961, Judy’s London physician, Dr. Philip Lebon had diagnosed her with cirrhosis of the liver and insisted she stop drinking. Dr. Lebon warned Judy that she only had five years to live at most.
After her death, eight years after making that prognosis, Dr. Lebon said, “Death could have come at any time. How she lived this long I don’t know.” Continue reading →
For nearly 40 years Lee Van Cleef was typecast. He made a living at playing villains. But as he observed, “I didn’t much care if I got out of that bad guy role. I fell in love with the characters. I could do things I couldn’t do in real life, and generally a bad guy is a more colorful part. It’s always more fun to be nasty.”
A Fistful of Dollars, For A Few Dollars More and The Good, The Bad & The Ugly, a trio of “spaghetti westerns” made by Italian director Sergio Leone from 1964-1967 established Clint Eastwood “the man with no name” as a major film star.
The second and third films of the Eastwood- Leone films, also brought Lee Van Cleef from mid-level billing status to international stardom.
For 15 years with hawk-like looks, penetrating gaze and low voice, the lean six foot two Lee Van Cleef toiled in films and television, almost always cast as a bad guy. He struggled to make ends meet.
The Breakthrough Role
But on April 10, 1965 Lee signed a contract for 30 percent more than he had ever previously made to co-star as bounty hunter Colonel Mortimer in For A Few Dollars More.
Up until the signing, Lee and his wife Joan had been living on residuals from television appearances, unemployment checks and her salary as a secretary. Prior to committing to the film Lee had not appeared in a film since 1962. Continue reading →