Friday, September 12, 2014


Readers of my blog know that I am always talking about one of my favorite entertainers Bing Crosby. However, I think one of the greatest actors of all-time was Cary Grant. He is on the top ten list of most classic movie fans. Anyways, I figured it would be fun to take a look at some candid Cary Grant pictures. I tried to find photos that were different...

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


Please - no more classic movie remakes!

James Ellroy, the two-fisted author behind such crime novels as L.A. Confidential and Black Dahlia, is making a rare foray into film.

Fox 2000 has signed the author to write a remake of Laura, the classic 1944 film noir that was directed by Otto Preminger. Stewart Till is exec producing.

Laura was made during the Darryl F. Zanuck era of 20th Century Fox’s history. The Golden Age production had a troubled road to the screen as Zanuck took Preminger off directing duties, replaced him with Rouben Mamoulian, only to later put Preminger back on when the dailies were disastrous.
In the end, the film, which starred Gene Tierney, Dana Andwers, Clifton Webb and Vincent Price, received five Oscar nominations (including best director, best adapted screenplay and best supporting actor) and won one for cinematography.

Without giving too much away of the twists and turns, the adaptation of the book by Vera Caspary told of a detective who slowly falls in love and becomes obsessed with a well-heeled advertising exec over the course of investigating her murder.

Ellroy is one of Hollywood’s favorite authors, with several adaptations of several of his noir-draped books. L.A. Confidential was translated into the much-loved Oscar-winning Russell Crowe-Guy Pearce thriller. Dahlia was turned into a Brian De Palma-directed film that starred Josh Hartnett, Aaron Eckhart and Scarlett Johansson. And his White Jazz novel has been patiently in development with Joe Carnahan for many years. (The three novels are part of his hailed LA Quartet.)

Ellroy has in recent years turned to screenwriting and wrote Street Kings, which was directed by David Ayer (End of Watch), and Rampart, Oren Moverman’s 2011 police thriller that starred Woody Harrelson.

The author, who is repped by Intellectual Property Group and Sobel Weber Associates, is launching a new LA Quartet with his novel, Perfidia, out Sept. 16 in the U.S...


Sunday, September 7, 2014


Doing research on comedians, I discovered that a lot of them adopted their children like Jack Benny, George Burns, and Bob Hope. However, I was always amazed at how many children Charlie Chaplin had. He had 11 children between 1919 and 1962. It was an amazing record, and knowing how much of a genius Chaplin was at everything else, it only goes to show he was a genius at having children as well. Here is a run down of his children:

Norman Spencer Chaplin was born July 7th, 1919. Sadly the baby died three days later. The mother was his first wife Mildred Harris. Harris and Chaplin divorced in 1921.

Charles Spencer Chaplin, Jr. was born May 5, 1925. Charlie's Jr. was in Limelight (1952) as one of the clowns with his father. As young children, he and his brother were used as pawns in their mother's bitter divorce from Charlie Chaplin, during which a lot of the couple's "dirty linen" was aired in sensational—and very public—divorce hearings. Following the divorce, the young brothers were raised by their mother and maternal grandmother until the mid-1930s, when they began to make frequent visits to their father. He is burried next to his maternal grandmother Lillian Grey (1889-1985).

Sydney Earle Chaplin was born March 30th, 1926. Sydney played with his father in Limelight in the role as Neville. In 1957 he won Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical for Bells Are Ringing, opposite Judy Holliday, and received a Tony nomination for his performance as Nicky Arnstein, the gambling first husband of Fanny Brice, opposite Barbra Streisand, in the Broadway musical Funny Girl in 1964.Until he died, he still attended Chaplin events held for his father and can be seen in many film interviews about Charlie. Sydney died March 3, 2009.

Geraldine Leigh Chaplin was born August 1, 1944. Geraldine was an actress known for many roles, but first recognized for her work in Dr. Zhivago. She also played her own grandmother in the 1992 Richard Attenborough film of Chaplin. Her first film appearance was in Limelight with brother Michael and sister Josephine at the beginning of the film.

Michael John Chaplin was born March 7, 1946 He appeared in Limelight with his sisters in the beginning and played the boy 'Rupert Macabee' in King of New York.

Josephine Hannah Chaplin was born March 28, 1949. She has been in a number of films, including her father's Limelight and A Countess from Hong Kong, and Pasolini´s Canterbury Tales. She had a son Julien Ronet (born 1980) by Maurice Ronet, with whom she lived until his death.

Victoria Chaplin was born May 19, 1951. Chaplin was born in the United States but grew up in Switzerland. As a teenager, she appeared as an extra in her father's last film, A Countess from Hong Kong (1967). Her father also wanted her to star in the main role of a winged girl found from the Amazonian rainforest in his next planned film, The Freak, in 1969. However, the project was never filmed because of his declining health and because Chaplin eloped with the French actor Jean-Baptiste Thiérrée.

Eugene Anthony Chaplin was born August 23, 1953. He is a Swiss recording engineer and documentary filmmaker. He is the president of the International Comedy Film Festival of Vevey, Switzerland. He directed the documentary film Charlie Chaplin: A Family Tribute produced by Jarl Ale de Basseville and created the musical "Smile", which is a narration of Charlie Chaplin's life through his music. As a recording engineer, he worked with The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, and Queen.

Jane Cecil Chaplin was born May 23, 1957 and married film producer Ilya Salkind. She has two children.

Annette Emily Chaplin was born December 3, 1959 and is the most private of all of the Chaplin children.

Christopher James Chaplin was born July 6 1962 in Corsier-sur-Vevey, Switzerland. Christopher is a composer and actor. He is the youngest son of film comedian Charlie Chaplin and his fourth wife, Oona O'Neill.

What also is so remarkable is that the Chaplin children did not seem to fall into the pitfalls that the children of other legends have. They all are talented and seemingly well adjusted children. His children may be Charlie Chaplin's most remarkable body of work...

Thursday, September 4, 2014


Despite all his later accomplishments, this career-making hit for Gershwin would remain the biggest hit of his entire life. Written on a train ride with Caesar one New York afternoon as a parody of Stephen Foster's "Old Folks at Home", it was introduced in the Broadway revue Demi-Tasse. The song had little impact in its first show, but not long afterwards Gershwin played it at a party where Al Jolson heard it. Jolson then put it into his show Sinbad, already a success at the Winter Garden Theatre, and recorded it for Columbia Records in January 1920. "After that," said Gershwin, "Swanee penetrated the four corners of the earth.".

The song was charted in 1920 for 18 weeks holding No. 1 position for nine. It sold a million sheet music copies, and an estimated two million records. It became Gershwin's first hit and the biggest-selling song of his career; the money he earned from it allowed him to concentrate on theatre work and films rather than writing further single pop hits. Arthur Schwartz said: "It's ironic that he never again wrote a number equaling the sales of Swanee, which for all its infectiousness, doesn't match the individuality and subtlety of his later works."
Jolson recorded the song several times in his career, and performed it in the movies The Jolson Story (1946), Rhapsody in Blue (1946), and Jolson Sings Again (1949). For the song's performance in The Jolson Story, Jolson, rather than actor Larry Parks, appeared as himself, filmed in long shot. Although usually associated with Jolson,

Swanee" has been recorded by many other singers...
Recorded By: Al Jolson (numerous times)
Judy Garland (numerous times)
Bing Crosby (numerous times)
Buddy Clark (on radio)
Jaye P. Morgan
Rufus Wainwright
The Temptations

Monday, September 1, 2014


One of my favorite articles to write for my blog is the “Born On This Day” stories.  I not only get to celebrate some of the great stars of classic Hollywood, but I also get the opportunity to revisit some of the stars that I have forgotten. One such star was Richard Arlen, who was born on this day on September 1, 1899.  Born Sylvanus Richard Van Mattimore in St. Paul, Minnesota, he attended the University of Pennsylvania. He served in Canada as a pilot in the Royal Flying Corps during World War I. His first job after the war was with St. Paul's Athletic Club. Then he went to the oilfields of Texas and Oklahoma and found work as a tool boy. He was thereafter a messenger and sporting editor of a newspaper before going to Los Angeles to star in films, but no producer wanted him. He was a delivery boy for a film laboratory when the motorcycle which he was riding landed him a broken leg outside the Paramount Pictures lot.

Impressed by his good looks, executives also gave him a contract after he had recovered. Starting as an extra in 1925, Arlen soon rose to credited roles, but the quality of his work left much to be desired. However, this was the silent era, which was more about looks than substance, and he continued on. His big break came when William A. Wellman cast him as a pilot in the silent film Wings (1927) with Charles 'Buddy' Rogers and Clara Bow. The story of fighter aces would win the Oscar for Best Picture and Arlen would continue to play the tough, cynical hero throughout his career. Arlen appeared in three more pictures directed by Wellman, Beggars of Life (1928), Ladies of the Mob (1928) and The Man I Love (1929). In Wings he had a scene with a young actor named Gary Cooper. In 1929, he again worked with Cooper in the western The Virginian (1929), only this time Cooper was the star and Arlen was the supporting actor. While Arlen moved easily into sound, his career just bumped along.

At the age of 34, he was cast as a college student in the Bing Crosby musical College Humor (1933). The film did nothing to further Arlen’s career, but it was Bing’s second movie, and it made him a star. By 1935 he was working in such "B" pictures as Three Live Ghosts (1936). It was in 1935 that he became a freelance actor and his freelance career soon waned. In 1939, he signed with Universal and began working in its action films. In 1941 he moved to the Pine-Thomas unit at Paramount, where he appeared in adventure films. With the war on, most of his earlier films included war scenarios. By the end of the 1940s Arlen was becoming deaf and this seemed to signal the end of his career. However, he had an operation in 1949 that restored his hearing and he went on making a handful of adventures and westerns through the 1950s and working more in the 1960s. He made 15 westerns for producer A.C. Lyles, who worked with the old western stars.

Besides movies, Arlen also appeared on television and in commercials. After leaving the business in the late 1960s, he was coaxed back to the screen for three small roles in films that were released the same year that he died. Married three times, Arlen only had a son who also appeared in movies. Richard Arlen died on March 28, 1976 of emphysema in Hollywood… 

Friday, August 29, 2014


When Lauren Bacall died on August 12, 2014 at the age of 89, I did not report it on my blog. Due to the death of Robin Williams, I took a week of silence to mourn the comedian’s passing. I have to admit, I am not a huge fan of Lauren Bacall’s work, but I do feel that her passing is worth noting. I don’t feel Bacall was a great actress in the caliber of Bette Davis or Ingrid Bergman, but she was really a lasting screen goddess in the genre of film noir. Like fellow film noir actress Veronica Lake, Bacall made her best movies in the 1940s, and she never won an Oscar. Lauren was awarded an Honorary Oscar in 2009 though.

Lauren Bacall was born Betty Joan Perske on September 16, 1924 in New York City. Her parents divorced when she was five, and she never really had a relationship with her father. The young beauty started out as a model and appeared on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue. In 1941, she took acting lessons with fellow student Kirk Douglas, and they would be lifelong friends. 

Bacall changed her name, and made her first movie To Have And Have Not (1944). During his screen test for the role, Bacall was so nervous that to minimize her quivering, she pressed her chin against her chest and to face the camera, tilted her eyes upward. This effect became known as “The Look” and became Bacall’s trademark. Also on the set of this first film, she started a relationship with the then married Humphrey Bogart. Bogart would get a divorce and marry the young Bacall a year later. They would stay married until Bogart’s death in 1957.

In the 1940s, Bacall was one of the best film noir actresses. She filmed some great screen roles during this time in movies such as: Confidential Agent (1945), The Big Sleep (1946), Dark Passage (1947), and Key Largo (1949). As the 1950s approached, Bacall became more famous for being Mrs. Humphrey Bogart than her own movies, but she did make some decent films. In Young Man With A Horn (1950), she starred as the bisexual wife of a trumpeter (played by friend Kirk Douglas), and she held her own in How To Marry A Millionaire (1953) starring along sex goddess icons Marilyn Monroe and Betty Grable.

Bacall moved on to Broadway in the 1970s to great success, and while she was no longer a screen goddess Bacall seemingly did not age much. Even though she was nominated for an Oscar for The Mirror Has Two Faces in 1996, she pretty much only played supporting roles in films like a small role in Misery (1989) and a wasted role as the wife of Jack Lemmon in My Fellow Americans (1995). Was Lauren Bacall a great actress – in my opinion maybe not a great actress. However, her iconic film noir roles defined an era of films in the late 1940s. Bacall died of a stroke nearly 70 years after her first movie, and the young movie goers these days do not have an attention span that goes that far back. Bacall's last performance was a voice appearance earlier this year on television's Family Guy! It was a sad last role for a great beauty. However, Lauren Bacall deserves to be remembered, not only as a beauty but another one of the fading true stars of classic Hollywood…

Monday, August 25, 2014


It is so rare to find true Hollywood love stories that last. However, in the classic years of Hollywood it was possible. One such great love story was the marriage of screen legend Jimmy Stewart and model Gloria Hatrick McLean.

In 1949, James Stewart, distinguished actor, trend setter and military hero, added one more part to his growing repertoire, that of a family man. He met Gloria Hatrick McLean in the summer of 1948 when he accepted a dinner invitation to the home of Gary and Rocky Cooper. The 31 year old Gloria stole Stewart’s heart. She was beautiful, outgoing, well educated and she liked to play golf. She loved animals and the outdoors, and she was not an actress. When Stewart married her on August 9, 1949, they had a ready-made family. Gloria had two children, Ronald then five and Michael, three, from a previous marriage. Stewart, for years considered one of the most eligible bachelors in Hollywood, was 41 years old. In the fall of 1950, the Stewarts learned they were to become parents of twins. On May 7, 1951, fraternal twins Kelly & Judy were born. The Stewarts lived in Beverly Hills where many other celebrities resided. Yet their son Michael says they “were raised with that small-town Christian Presbyterian ethic that nobody owes you a living. If you have bad breaks, get up and move on. That was the attitude of both my parents, and it never changed.”

The Stewart family lived on Roxbury Drive in Beverly Hills, an area that was home to many of Hollywood's top stars. She was one of the few Hollywood types to plant and tend her own garden, and she would give the excess vegetables to Jimmy to take around to their neighbors. She and her husband also owned a ranch in Hawaii, returning to it every year for vacation when time permitted, to manage cattle and a macadamia nut orchard. They planned to build a retirement home there, but Gloria died before the house could be built in 1994. Jimmy never recovered and faded away after her death. He died in 1997, and his final days were spent dreaming of when he would be reunited with his beloved Gloria once again...