Category Archives: Classic Hollywood

Series: Photographs of Hollywood’s Cinema Stars

Classic Hollywood #88 – Dracula, Bela Lugosi Wants To Be “Good”

What Bela Lugosi’s Life Was Like In 1936

Bela Lugosi Dracula in street clothes

Bela Lugosi was not always Dracula

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.

So who was the real Bela Lugosi? Continue reading

Classic Hollywood #87 – James Caan Gets Married 1976

HereJames Caan and Sheila Ryan Get Married

James Caan wedding Sheila Ryan 1976

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

Classic Hollywood #86 – Jean Arthur

Jean Arthur Star of Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, Always Waited Weeks After The Premiere To See Her Own Films

Jean Arthur sexy bathing photo 1942I 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.

In this photograph Jean Arthur is looking very fit at age 41. Continue reading

Classic Hollywood #85 – Cary Grant, Queenie Smith & Emanuel Cohen

Cary Grant and Queenie Smith Attend The Emanuel Cohen BanquetCary Grant Queenie Smith Emanuel Cohen Dinner October 13 1934 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?

Emanuel Cohen on set of movie. photo: Wide World Photos

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

Classic Hollywood #84 – Party For Rudolph Valentino?

United Artists Holds A Party. Who Is The Guest Of Honor?

United Artists Party with Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, Constance Talmadge, Norma Talmadge, Joseph Schenk, Rudolph Valentino, Hiram Abrams at Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles April 8 ,1925United 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.

But that is not the case. Continue reading

Classic Hollywood #83 – “Catwoman” Julie Newmar

Batman’s Catwoman – Julie Newmar

Julie Newmar with Blonde hair

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.

Batman: What about Robin?

Catwoman: [pulls a disgusted face]  Robin? Oh, I’ve got it: we’ll kill him.

Batman: I see you’re not really ready to assume a life in society.

Batman has been off the air over 50 years and it’s hard to believe that Julie Newmar (born Newmayer August 16, 1933) will be 86-years-old this year. Continue reading

Classic Hollywood #82 – Judy Garland- What Hollywood Said The Day After She Died June 22, 1969

Judy Garland Died 50 Years Ago Today – How Hollywood Reacted

Mickey Rooney director George Seitz Judy Garland on the set of Andy Hardy Meets Debutante May 18, 1940

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

Classic Hollywood #81 – Clark Gable & Hedy Lamarr

Clark Gable and Hedy Lamarr In Comrade X – 1940

Hedy Lamarr Clark Gable in Comrade X 1940 photo Bull MGMComrade X released in 1940 has a pretty convoluted plot involving Gable smuggling news out of communist Russia. He also ends up aiding Lamarr get out of the country.

Here is the copy from the rear of the  MGM promotional photo: Continue reading

Classic Hollywood #80 – Lee Van Cleef

The Man With A Name, The Menacing Lee Van Cleef

Lee Van Cleef in Return of Sabata

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

Classic Hollywood #79 – Dana Andrews, Harry Morgan & B.S. Pully

At A Nightclub Dana Andrews and B.S. Pully Start To Shave Harry Morgan (Sans Shaving Cream)

Harry Morgan Dana Andrews BS Pully at nightclub 1946 photo Nat Dallinger King Features

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