Author Archives: Hannah K.

Classic Hollywood #113 – Monty Banks Stars In Atta Boy -1926

Monty Banks With Flappers In Atta Boy – 1926

Our film still has no explanation and no id’s on anyone in the photograph except star Monty Banks and the film Atta Boy.

Born Mario Bianchi in Cesena, Italy on July 15, 1897, comedian Monty Banks was a popular comedian of the teens and 1920s. When Banks emigrated around 1914 he did not realize there were two America’s and ended up in Buenos Aires, Argentina!

Banks soon made it to the United States and started in films as a stunt man. He later became a gag man and a cutter. Eventually he worked his way up to starring in two reel comedies (ten to fifteen minute short films).

Atta Boy

In 1926 Banks made his first long feature (65 minutes) for Pathe, Atta Boy. How different was it to get a part in a major film 95 years ago? The diminutive five foot five Banks announced through the newspapers that he was casting for a leading lady. The qualifications? Continue reading

Classic Hollywood #112 – Marilyn Monroe Arrives At A Premiere

Marilyn Attends The New York Premiere of The Rose Tattoo

By The Way: June 1 Is The 95th Anniversary Of Marilyn Monroe’s Birth

MArilyn Monroe Rose Tattoo photo TribuneNew York – Marilyn Monroe arrived at the Astor Theatre for the film premiere of “The Rose Tattoo” wearing white fur over a dark gown. The premiere was for the benefit of Actors’ Studio, a non-profit for actors, directors and playwrights. photo: Tribune, December 2, 1955

Look at the different expressions on everyone as Marilyn arrives. Continue reading

Classic Hollywood #111 – Gloria Swanson

Gloria Swanson 1934

This promotional photograph of Gloria Swanson was taken by Fox photographer Otto Dyar. The descriptive text on the rear of the photo is somewhat vapid, describing Gloria’s outfit. Swanson only made one film for Fox in the 1930s, Music In The Air (1934) with co-star John Boles.

Here is the text from the photo:

Short and sophisticated is this two-tone cocktail costume worn by Gloria Swanson and designed and created by Rene Hubert, international stylist, head of Fox film wardrobe. The form fitting skirt is of black velvet. The blouse and muff are of black tafetta with white chenille and gold thread stripes. The hat, also designed by M. Hubert, is an adaptation from the Cambodian wand was created in black velvet and features a rhinestone ornament. Note the zipper in the muff- – when opened it reveals a purse and vanity. credit: Fox Film –  Otto Dyar

After appearing in Music In The Air, Continue reading

Dignity For A Little Girl Killed By A Truck – 1904

Three-Year-Old Nettie Delaney Dies In A Horrific Accident & A Homeless Man Performs A Selfless Gesture – 1904

A kind act can transcend time. When researching our previous story about Times Square this tragic, but touching story was found.

Combining accounts from The New York Tribune, The New York Herald and The New York Times, this is what happened on August 31, 1904:

POOR, BUT A GENTLEMAN
With His Only Coat He Taught the Morbid a Lesson.

Nettie Delaney, three and a half years old, of 14 West One Hundred and Thirty-Third Street, was run over and killed almost in front of her own home yesterday afternoon by a horse drawn heavy truck carrying stone. Continue reading

Old New York In Photos #126 – Times Square 1906

Times Square 1906  – The New Hotel Astor, Olympia Theatre & Surroundings

Times Square New Astor HotelThis stereoview image of Times Square was taken by the H.C. White Company in 1906. Before The New York Times moved their headquarters here it was called Long Acre Square.

The view is titled, “New Astor Hotel and 20 story Times Building.” We are looking south from 46th Street towards the New York Times Tower. The flatiron-style building opened in 1905. The building was mutilated in 1965 when purchased by Allied Chemical. Today it is unrecognizable after it was altered again in the twenty first century to become a giant garish billboard.

Hotel Astor

On the right is the 500 room Hotel Astor comprising 14 city lots from 44th to 45th Street where Broadway and Seventh Avenue intersect. The 10-story Hotel Astor cost owner William Waldorf Astor over $7 million to build and furnish. The land was purchased decades earlier as farmland  by his great-grandfather John Jacob Astor for $100 an acre. The Grand Ballroom was a baroque masterpiece.

Hotel Astor Grand Ballroom interior 1904

After some labor related delays Continue reading

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 #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

Miss Coney Island Beauty Contest Winner 1924

Agnes Leonard – Miss Coney Island 1924

aGNES lEONARD MISS CONEY ISLAND 1924Love those 1920s bathing suits.

Though undated, our photograph is from July 29, 1924, at Steeplechase Park. Miss Coney Island would go on to represent the neighborhood in the Miss America Pageant. This was before each state had just one representative. Continue reading