howard hughes

The enigma that was Howard Hughes

March 23, 2016 // 14 Comments

   Howard Hughes was a Texan, a maverick movie tycoon who hit the movie industry like a whirlwind in the Roaring Twenties and remained a force for a couple of decades. At the age of 19 he inherited 75% of his family’s fortune. His father had patented the two-cone roller bit, which allowed rotary drilling for petroleum in previously inaccessible places. Instead of selling it, however, he chose [...]

AVA – ‘She can’t sing, she can’t act, she can’t talk. She’s terrific!’

March 1, 2016 // 2 Comments

      Ava – a unique beauty                            If Ava had not decided to meet her sister Beatrice in New York in 1941, we might never have heard of Ava Gardner the actress. Beatrice’s husband was a professional photographer and offered to do a portrait or two of Ava and display them in his 5th Avenue studio window. One thing led to another and before long she was [...]

To believe or not to believe?

February 26, 2016 // 4 Comments

  Scott Bowers at 88 In 2012 a Hollywood man named Scott Bowers wrote a book called Full Service: My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Lives of the Stars’ that was published by the reputable Grove Press. It is not a very well written book, but several gay men and women in Hollywood have already vouched for much of its content. Needless to say, there are an equal number of persons [...]

Studio cover-ups in the early days of Hollywood.

January 7, 2016 // 0 Comments

  A British actor in the fifties named Steve Hayes probably summed up the studio bosses as well as anyone, not that he said so when he was under contract, of course. To do so would have been career suicide, as well he knew. ‘All these guys were ruthless bastards’, he said years later. ‘Cohn, Warner, Louis B Mayer. All of them. They were nothing more than thugs in business suits.’ The [...]

Barbara Payton – what a waste.

December 6, 2015 // 12 Comments

  One of Hollywood’s truly tragic stories was that of Barbara Payton, a pretty and talented actress who experienced both the highs and lows of life in Tinsel Town. Just sixteen years after starring alongside Gregory Peck in the western feature Only the Valiant (1951) she was dead. Her body was so ravaged by hard living and liver failure by then it was all but unrecognisable, yet she was [...]

Did you know? Points of interest Pt. 15

October 16, 2015 // 2 Comments

  Richard Schickel’s biography of director Elia Kazan tells how Marlon Brando was tricked into accepting the role of Terry Malloy in On The Waterfront (1954). Kazan had actor Karl Malden direct a scene featuring a young unknown from the Actors Studio speaking Malloy’s lines, knowing full well that Brando’s competitive spirit (and his pride) would see him intervene. And he did. The [...]

Did you know? Points of Interest Pt. 8

September 11, 2015 // 4 Comments

  At around the time that Errol Flynn was being tried for statutory rape in 1942, a young bisexual actor named Peter Lawford arrived in Hollywood to commence his career on the silver screen with MGM. He soon made friends with another bisexual, Keenan Wynn, the closeted homosexual star Van Johnson, and the emotionally unstable Robert Walker. Van and Peter were seldom apart, and most of their [...]

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 – [...]

STEWART GRANGER – A man’s man – mostly.

June 7, 2015 // 2 Comments

  It is difficult not to admire English actor Stewart Granger. In an era that spawned a generation of actors and actresses ready and willing to do and say whatever their studios demanded of them, and equally unwilling to cross powerful gossip columnists like Hedda Hopper and Louella Parsons for fear of risking their careers, he stood out as a man among men. I imagine, like all the others, he [...]

AVA GARDNER – Far from perfect but drop dead gorgeous.

April 30, 2015 // 7 Comments

    It all depends on your age group, I suppose, but most guys from mine seem to be in agreement that Ava Gardner was the sexiest woman ever to appear in American movies. Given the likes of Sophia Loren, Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe, Brigitte Bardot and a couple of hundred more from the studio era alone, that is a pretty tall claim, but the camera certainly loved her. And so did [...]
1 2 3