Category Archives: Classic Hollywood

Series: Photographs of Hollywood’s Cinema Stars

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

Classic Hollywood #110 – Jayne Mansfield Selling Cigarettes For Charity

Jayne Mansfield, Saleslady – 1957

Jayne Mansfield charity 1957 Photo: APLos Angeles – February 11, 1957: Jayne Mansfield Hit As Cigarette Girl
Jayne Mansfield sells customer David Rosslaw a pack of cigarettes during charity banquet here last night and apparently, judging from expressions of unidentified spectators, was a success in her temporary role. About a dozen girls including Zsa Zsa Gabor and Marie Wilson, roamed the floor for about ten minutes during the evening but giving no change as profits went to local charity. Hundreds, including many Hollywood celebrities attended. photo: AP wirephoto

The news slug does not identify the charity Jayne was collecting for. 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 #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