November 2015

MGM’s ‘fixers – Mannix & Strickling.

November 29, 2015 // 0 Comments

    Back when the studio system was in vogue, back in the ‘Golden Years of Hollywood, each of the ‘Big Five’ had its ‘fixers’, men whose job it was to keep scandal and bad publicity at bay; to do whatever it took to ensure that the paying public remained ‘bright-eyed and bushy-tailed’ about the movie industry and its stars. MGM had two such men who were even more adept at [...]

In the beginning…

November 27, 2015 // 2 Comments

  It is difficult today for us to understand how the invention of moving pictures impacted on the public at the turn of the 20th century. After all, we have grown up with them. They are part of our lives and always have been. Back in 1903, however, they were the stuff of magic. Quite unbelievable, in fact. When the first outlaw pointed his pistol at the camera and fired in The Great Train [...]

The 4 ‘Romeo & Juliets’ – enough already!

November 25, 2015 // 6 Comments

  The chronic problem with casting Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is finding actors who are both young and experienced enough in stage acting to carry it off. After all, in Bill the Bard’s play Juliet is just fourteen years old. MGM producer Irving Thalberg unwisely chose to tackle the problem in the 1936 version by giving his wife Norma Shearer the role. Depending on which birth date is the [...]

Old TV Shows – more trivia.

November 23, 2015 // 0 Comments

  Leonard Nimoy, the future Mr. Spock in the Star Trek series, served a stint in the US Army where he reached the rank of sergeant. In 1955 he suggested to an old army buddy named Ken Berry that he go to California and try to make it as a comedian. Berry took his advice and became a stand-up comic specialising in dancing and pratfalls. In 1965 he landed the role of Captain Wilton Parmenter [...]

Censorship – The Production Code & the C.L.O.D.

November 21, 2015 // 2 Comments

  The major studios realized as early as 1922 that they had better start policing themselves before the government decided to move in and curb the questionable morality of the industry themselves. Scandals such as the murder of director William Desmond Taylor and the alleged rape of Virginia Rappe at a Hollywood party, coupled with an increasing amount of nudity, immoral conduct and risqué [...]

Joan Collins – England’s iconic beauty.

November 19, 2015 // 2 Comments

      Joan Collins was born in London in 1933. Her father was a Jewish man from South African, a moderately successful agent whose later clients would briefly include The Beatles, Tom Jones and Shirley Bassey. Joan signed a contract in England with J. Arthur Rank at the age of 17, and in 1952 she married Rank actor Maxwell Reed (after he had raped her, she wrote in her [...]

More tragic Hollywood.

November 17, 2015 // 0 Comments

  I fell in love for the first time when I was nine. It was 1957 and the object of my infatuation was a brunette with a cute smile and Mouseketeer ears on TV’s Mickey Mouse Club. Her name was Annette Funicello and to me she was perfection with a capital ‘P’. But then someone told me she was born in 1942 and was now fifteen years of age! She was too old for me. I cried for a whole [...]

The three ‘Beau Gestes’.

November 15, 2015 // 0 Comments

So far the classic PC Wren novel Beau Geste has made it to the screen on three occasions – in 1926, 1939 and 1966 – with varying success. It has been nearly fifty years since the last version, so one expects the industry might be gearing up for another crack at it, although the plot does have one serious drawback. No women. Well, none to speak of that is. And that means no romance, no sex [...]

Leonardo DiCaprio – sensible superstar.

November 13, 2015 // 4 Comments

  I wonder if any of the non-entities who comprised the cast of the woeful 1991 low budget horror feature Critters 3 entertained any suspicions that the 17 year-old who made his movie debut playing the part of Josh in it would go on to become an icon in the movie business. One would have to assume the answer to that question would be a resounding ‘no’, given that Leonardo DiCaprio was as [...]

Did you know? Points of interest Pt. 24.

November 11, 2015 // 9 Comments

  Yesterday I stole 203 minutes out of the remainder of my life and watched the Liz Taylor, Rock Hudson and Jimmy Dean 1956 blockbuster Giant. I have certainly seen worse movies, but two hundred and three minutes! I found Rock and Liz to be far better than I expected, but I am still to understand what all the fuss was about Jimmy Dean. Half the time he was incoherent, the other half he was [...]
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