MGM

Jean Harlow – quite a woman.

June 21, 2016 // 0 Comments

  Born in Kansas City, Missouri in 1911, 16 year-old Harlean Carpenter ran away from home to marry a 21 year-old businessman named Charles McGrew in 1927. The couple lived off his rather large inheritance for a couple of years, but it is believed that his drinking led to an early divorce. In 1928, at the age of 17, she was photographed nude in Griffith Park by Hollywood photographer Edward [...]

Frank Sinatra and the Mob.

April 6, 2016 // 6 Comments

  It would most likely surprise fans of Frank Sinatra to learn that at his birth in Hoboken, New Jersey in 1915 he weighed an enormous 13.5 lbs! He would, however, grow up to be a very slight 5’7” (1.7m). His forceps delivery left a permanent scar on his face and damaged an eardrum, the latter injury keeping him out of the services during World War Two. His non-participation in [...]

Girl # 27 – Patricia Douglas Part 1.

March 17, 2016 // 2 Comments

     This story will be in two parts. It is a tale of a young woman’s quest for justice in an era and a place where greedy and powerful men determined who was entitled to fair treatment and who was not. Ptricia Douglas was a ‘nobody’, one of thousands of young hopefuls living and working in Hollywood, California. Like most of her peers she trusted the studios, [...]

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

January 5, 2016 // 0 Comments

  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 run by L B Mayer had taken him on at $600 a week, although an important clause in his contract guaranteed [...]

Tragic Hollywood – Who killed funnyman Ted Healy?

December 18, 2015 // 4 Comments

  Wallace Beery won the Oscar in 1931-2 for The Champ, even though he actually scored one less vote than Fredric March that year. The rules of the previous year awarded Oscars to performers who finished within three votes of the winner. Presenter Conrad Nagel, unaware that the regulations had been changed, incorrectly called for another Oscar for Beery without conferring with Academy [...]

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 [...]

MICKEY ROONEY – Will the real Mickey please stand up?

August 28, 2015 // 3 Comments

  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 here is simple. I think it is important that we fully understand what a grubby little pervert the guy was, and the best way to do so [...]

SPENCER TRACY – A nightmare of a man.

August 6, 2015 // 6 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’, [...]

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 [...]

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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