Actor Bruce Cabot with 17-year-old Gloria Vanderbilt at the Music Box Theater in Hollywood for the premiere of “They Can’t Get You Down” October 27, 1941 photo: Acme
Being a rich child with a large trust fund did not define Gloria Vanderbilt. Neither did a sensational tug of war child custody battle between her mother Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt and her aunt Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney. When Gloria Vanderbilt died of stomach cancer in New York on June 17, 2019 at the age of 95, she had achieved prominence in many facets of life. Continue reading →
Who Is That Masked Man? A Future President? Ask Chevy Chase.
No, It’s not Donald Trump. Trump did play baseball in college. But behind home plate is a career politician who later became President.
Maybe a closer look will help.
When catching a ball it usually helps to have your eyes open. We’ll pardon you if you didn’t recognize Chevy Chase’s favorite comedic target when starring on Saturday Night Live, President Gerald Ford.
The 1949 photograph comes from the UPI archive. We see Michigan Congressman Gerald Ford crouching behind home plate. In the batters box Representative Glenn R. Davis of Wisconsin demonstrates how to execute a bunt improperly by gripping and exposing his right fingers around the bat directly into the path of the ball so he can break his fingers.
Contrary to popular belief, Gerald Ford was very athletic and was not clumsy or simpleminded. In 1934 Ford was named the Most Valuable Player of the University of Michigan’s football team.
Why and when did people begin thinking Ford was awkward?
Probably when President Ford fell down a few steps disembarking Airforce One in Vienna on June 1, 1975. He also stumbled a few more times on the trip. Unfortunately for Ford, network TV was there to capture the airplane moment and show it nationally.
Then, Chevy Chase capitalized on the event and began portraying Gerald Ford in comedic sketches on SNL, as absent-minded, uncoordinated, constantly falling down and being prone to accidents. Though Chase neither looked or sounded like Ford, people began to believe that Chase’s characterization was how Ford was in real life!
For a year, week after week, Chase satirized President Ford on late night TV.
Finally, Ford and Chase met each other at the Radio and Television Correspondents Association dinner on March 25, 1976.
At the dinner in front of 1000 people at the Washington Hilton Hotel, Chase performed his Gerald Ford routine as President Ford sat at the dais and laughed at his impersonator.
At A Nightclub Dana Andrews and B.S. Pully Start To Shave Harry Morgan (Sans Shaving Cream)
Attending a night club with a full beard which he wears for a current film role, actor Henry Morgan, was quickly spotted by fellow actors B.S. Pully, left, and Dana Andrews who proceeded to attempt a dry-shave to the delight of other patrons. Many film actors prefer to raise their own beards rather than spend hours in studio makeup rooms having false whiskers applied. Furthermore it adds a touch of realism to the actions of the wearer. photo Nat Dallinger for King Features Syndicate.
Although undated this photograph was probably taken sometime in 1944. Andrews, Morgan and Pully all appeared together in the film Wing and a Prayer. Morgan was bearded for his role as Ensign Malcom Brainard. Continue reading →
Margaret Sullavan, Ernst Lubitsch & James Stewart On The Set of The Shop Around The Corner – 1939
The Shop Around The Corner wasn’t a very big hit for James Stewart and Margaret Sullavan when it was released in 1940. The “Lubitsch Touch,” director Ernst Lubitsch’s flare for sophisticated comedy, did not translate to a box office smash, domestically grossing $2.4 million ($76.9 million adjusted) according to Continue reading →
If The Media Covered These Historic Events Now, It Might Read Something Like This
We view historic events with 21st century attitudes and ideas. It’s called presentism.
Reader warning: satire ahead.
A Rampage of Sexual Harassment in Times Square (V.J. Day 1945)
As pedestrians watch, an American sailor celebrates by passionately kissing and sexually assaulting a white-uniformed nurse in Times Square to celebrate the long awaited-victory over Japan photo: Alfred Eisenstaedt / Life Magzine
Crowd in Times Square celebrates V.J. Day photo: Ezra Stoller
As word spread that the Empire of Japan had unconditionally surrendered and that the war was finally over, pandemonium broke loose in New York City’s Times Square yesterday. Continue reading →
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 →
Babe Ruth and Gary Cooper Get A Visit From Former Yankee Bob Meusel & His Daughter
When Babe Ruth played himself in the classic film The Pride of The Yankees (1942) he had not played for seven years. Since his retirement, Ruth’s weight had ballooned to 270 pounds. The Babe wanted to look good for the film, not that he would ever look as svelte as Gary Cooper, starring as Babe’s teammate Lou Gehrig, but at least he tried.
Before filming began Babe went on a diet and shed over 47 pounds to look more like he did in his playing days.
Some former Yankee teammates appeared for short cameos including Bill Dickey, Mark Koenig and Bob Meusel. Continue reading →