Luise Rainer – the forgotten star.

March 15, 2016 admin 4

                             The lovely Luise Rainer is pretty much the forgotten star of Hollywood’s so-called Golden Era. The petite actress had all the assets necessary for screen success, but she was built of sterner stuff than her contemporaries […]

Norma Shearer – MGM’S ‘Queen of the Lot’.

January 5, 2016 admin 0

  Irving Thalberg, the ‘boy genius’ in charge of production at MGM, died in 1936 while his wife, Norma Shearer, was in the middle of making Marie Antoinette. He was a genius when it came to organizing a film studio and making it run efficiently and profitably. The fledgling company […]

Hollywood – tales from the dark side.

December 14, 2015 admin 6

  Mabel Normand was one of the wildest of the silent stars whose off-screen antics ultimately wrecked her career and contributed to her early death. Mack Sennett credited her with inventing the pie-throwing gag that came to be used extensively throughout the silent picture era, claiming she threw one in […]

MGM’s ‘fixers – Mannix & Strickling.

November 29, 2015 admin 0

    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 […]

The 4 ‘Romeo & Juliets’ – enough already!

November 25, 2015 admin 6

  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 […]

MICKEY ROONEY – Will the real Mickey please stand up?

August 28, 2015 admin 3

  young Lana Turner If you happen to be a Mickey Rooney fan (I am most certainly not, by the way), then you should definitely not read his sleazy autobiography titled Life Is Too Short. I have and I wish I hadn’t. My reason for repeating a couple of excerpts […]

SPENCER TRACY – A nightmare of a man.

August 6, 2015 admin 15

  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 […]

What’s in a name Part One?

August 2, 2015 admin 0

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 […]

The Studio System – the Big Five.

July 22, 2015 admin 6

  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 […]