Did You Know?
(MOVIE TRIVIA AND STORIES OLD AND NEW)
One thing there is no shortage of in Hollywood, (or in the movies in general), is information about the making of the films and of the people who appear in them. This section of our site will be devoted to snippets of interesting items pertaining to the cinema and all those people who contribute to the production of the entertainment we see on our screens. Enjoy.
Part Two of ‘What’s in a Name?’ features some of the more stupid names thought up by the studios in their endeavours to create phony images for their stars. One of the silliest was the one they lumbered poor Ann Sheridan with – The Oomph Girl. She simply did not get it, and who could blame her. ‘Oomph’ is what a fat man says when he leans over to tie his shoelace in a telephone [...]
Back in the good old studio days it was customary for studios to come up with snappy nicknames for their female stars. Well, they thought they were snappy, anyway. For some reason these were seldom given to male actors, although that is not to say that some of these guys didn’t have nicknames of their own long before their movie careers took off. John ‘Duke’ Wayne was one, for example. As a [...]
Mitchum’s father was killed in an accident when he was just two years old. As a teenager Bob criss-crossed the country as a train hobo until he was arrested at 15, charged with being ‘a suspicious character with no visible means of support’. He spent that summer on a Georgia chain gang, after which he set off for Long Beach, California. There he attended high school, got jobs, [...]
When the studio system was at its peak in the thirties and forties, a ‘Gossip Columnist’ could wreck a career with just a couple of acid-laced lines. They did not even need to be true. Louella Parsons, the Hollywood mouthpiece for the Hearst empire of newspapers, became a most feared individual. Few stars crossed her, for to do so was tantamount to committing career suicide. [...]
For several decades the ‘Big Five’ in Hollywood were MGM, 20th Century Fox, RKO, Paramount and Warner Bros. United Artists had its moments in the sun, as did Columbia, Republic and Universal, but they were not really in the same league as the others. Of the ‘Big Five’ only RKO Pictures was not owned by European Jews. The initials RKO, incidentally, stand for ‘Radio – Keith – [...]
Oscar-nominated actor Frank Langella published his most entertaining biography titled, Dropped Names: Famous Men & Women as I Knew Them, in 2013. It is a scathing one that pulls few, if any, punches. Here are a few snippets from it, some of his observations down the decades, along with the occasional added comment that might be of interest. Bancroft, Anne: Langella [...]
Joan Fontaine and Olivia de Havilland were real life sisters who were born in Tokyo, and then moved to America. Olivia was born in 1916, Joan a year later. Max Reinhardt spotted Olivia in a college version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and was so impressed he placed her in both his stage version and in the Warner Bros movie of 1935. She quickly became a star and would go on to play [...]
In his youth Dean Martin delivered bootleg liquor, ran numbers and craps games for hoodlums, and fought as a prizefighter under the sobriquet of ‘Kid Crochet’. He worked at the Club Alabama in New York City, an establishment owned by Louis Buchalter (a.k.a. Louis Lepke), the killer who ran Murder Incorporated. When Lepke went to the electric chair, Martin sat with his family throughout [...]
When it came to questions about her sexuality, Barbara Stanwyck was the old studio days’ equivalent of today’s Tom Cruise. Any mention of her sexual preferences would immediately bring forth veiled threats of litigation should the subject be pursued. Cruise does the same thing today. Mention his name in connection with homosexuality or bisexuality and he will threaten to sue. I recently read [...]
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Biographers have tried for years to figure out the relationship between singers Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald. Most have given up. On the one hand we have Eddy, lifelong ‘sissy’, tied to his mother’s apron-strings, a bisexual man who definitely preferred male lovers to female ones, but who seemed to (from time to time) fall head over heels for MacDonald. Jeanette MacDonald, by [...]