Did You Know? – Items of interest Pt 1.

August 12, 2015 // 2 Comments

  From time to time I shall post a dozen or so short items, snippets of information about movie and television actors that I have found interesting. Hopefully, you will, too. Somehow it is hard to imagine that Don Adams, the little guy who played Agent Maxwell Smart in the very funny hit TV series Get Smart, could ever be involved in anything as serious as a World War – yet he was. [...]

DORIS DAY – Class with a capital ‘C’.

August 10, 2015 // 6 Comments

  It is hard to imagine it, but on April 3, 2016, Doris Day will be 94 years old. Ninety-four! I still watch her best movies, the ones made in the fifties, and still marvel at her exuberance, her vitality, and her unmistakable singing (and acting) talent. Movies back then had a kind of innocence, especially regarding sex, a legacy, no doubt, of the rules and restrictions imposed upon the [...]

The real ‘Birdman of Alcatraz’.

August 8, 2015 // 5 Comments

  One of the many movies I look at in Movies Based On True Stories (2015), is the 1962 biopic, Birdman of Alcatraz, starring Burt Lancaster as the ‘birdman’ Robert Stroud. As a sample of what you can expect to find in this, my second book, I thought I might post some facts here for your perusal. The real story is such a far cry from the one depicted in the United Artists film that it [...]

SPENCER TRACY – A nightmare of a man.

August 6, 2015 // 8 Comments

  As an actor Spencer Tracy had few peers and cinema-goers adored him. Off screen he was a very ordinary human being, a man beset with all kinds of problems. He was a violent alcoholic his entire life and a rampant womanizer who had almost as many conquests to his name as Gable although, unlike ‘the King’, he is alleged to have taken male lovers as well. When he went on a ‘bender’, [...]

What’s in a Name – Part Two?

August 4, 2015 // 0 Comments

  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 [...]

What’s in a name Part One?

August 2, 2015 // 0 Comments

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 [...]

CAROLE LOMBARD – The Profane Angel.

July 31, 2015 // 0 Comments

  Finding really likeable movie stars from the studio era can be quite a challenge at times. Carole Lombard, however, courtesy of her brazen, down to earth approach to life, was a woman who enjoyed the trappings of fame, but never let them seduce her. And that made her a rarity. She seemed to recognize Hollywood for what it was, a ‘Dream Factory’ full of mostly ordinary people blessed [...]

ROBERT MITCHUM – an all-time great.

July 28, 2015 // 2 Comments

  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, [...]

LOUELLA PARSONS – A law unto herself.

July 24, 2015 // 6 Comments

  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. [...]

The Studio System – the Big Five.

July 22, 2015 // 6 Comments

  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 – [...]
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