Category Archives: Hollywood Heavyweights

Stunning Zorita……

Adopted by strict Methodist parents as a child, she was discovered via a beauty pageant and became a burlesque artist in 1935. Her specialties were a twenty minute dance with two boa constrictors, `Elmer’ and `Oscar’, and her `Dance of the Wandering Hands’. It was only in 1954 that she stopped stripping, to run a number of different nightclubs in the New York and Miami areas. Although she taught younger girls routines, she refused to let go the secrets of her famous snake dance.

Zorita was  ‘Queen of the flashers,’  meaning that when the cops were not in attendence looking for a reason to shut it down, the audience would see alot more than the PoPo would. Zorita liked women more than men and never married but did date certain men and used them for all they were worth. She became very famous in the world of burlesque and by 1954 had retired from stripping while owning her own burlesques nightclubs in the New York and Miami areas. She appeared intermittently in films throughout her career. In 1974 she retired to Florida, where she bred Persian cats.

 

 


What a character!!

One of the original comedians from the silent film era, other than the more commonly known Chaplin and Keaton comedies…..there was Ben Turpin!

First of all, the cross-eyed comedian of silent days was not born that way. Supposedly his right eye slipped out of alignment while playing the role of the similarly afflicted Happy Hooligan in vaudeville and it never adjusted. Ironically, it was this disability that would enhance his comic value and make him a top name.

Ben Turpin was born in New Orleans in 1869, the son of a French-born confectionery store owner. When 7 years old, his father moved to New York’s lower East Side. A wanderlust fellow by nature, Turpin lived the life of a hobo in his early adult years. He started up his career by chance while bumming in Chicago where he drew laughs at parties. An ad in a newspaper looking for comedy acts caught his eye and he successfully booked shows along with a partner. Going solo, he performed on the burlesque circuit as well as under circus tents and invariably entertained his audiences by doing tricks, vigorous pratfalls and, of course, crossing his eyes. One of his more familiar sight gags was a backwards tumble he called the “108.” He happened upon the Happy Hooligan persona while playing on the road and kept the hapless character as part of routine for 17 years.

Do you have a favorite film by him?


Happy Birthday Groucho Marx!

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000050/

 

Born October 2, 1890!! NYC, NY

Julius Henry “Groucho” Marx (October 2, 1890[1] – August 19, 1977) was an American comedian and film and television star. He is known as a master of quick wit and widely considered one of the best comedians of the modern era.[2] His rapid-fire, often impromptu delivery of innuendo-laden patter earned him many admirers and imitators.

He made 13 feature films with his siblings the Marx Brothers, of whom he was the third-born. He also had a successful solo career, most notably as the host of the radio and television game show You Bet Your Life.[3]

His distinctive appearance, carried over from his days in vaudeville, included quirks such as an exaggerated stooped posture, glasses, cigar, and a thick greasepaint mustache and eyebrows. These exaggerated features resulted in the creation of one of the world’s most ubiquitous and recognizable novelty disguises, known as “Groucho glasses“, a one-piece mask consisting of horn-rimmed glasses, large plastic nose, bushy eyebrows and mustache.[4

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Groucho_Marx


Hollywood Heavyweight – Joan Crawford!

Joan Crawford (March 23, ca. 1904 – May 10, 1977), born Lucille Fay LeSueur, in San Antonio, Texas.

Lucille LeSueur’s parents separated before she was born. By age 16 she had three different stepfathers, one of whom (a vaudeville theater manager) had given her the name Billie Cassin. By 1915 she, her brother Hal and their mother lived in Kansas City, and Billie worked in a laundry with her mother and also as a menial to pay school tuition. Winning an amateur dance contest in 1923 led to chorus work in Chicago, Detroit and New York. On New Year’s Day of 1925 she left for Hollywood. Before her second picture, a Photoplay contest led to the name Joan Crawford. With Our Dancing Daughters (1928) she became a star. She had a string of successes playing socialites or rags-to-riches shop girls, most notably as Crystal Allen in The Women (1939). She stayed with MGM for 18 years, signing with Warners in 1943. Mildred Pierce (1945) was a defining role and won her an Oscar.  All of these movies I have seen and are definitely some of her best work!! I’m a huge fan of Joan’s early work and look so I hope you enjoy this little collection. 🙂

Joan Crawford, publicity photo for ‘Today We Live’ 1933946698_382631868529645_1574993818_n[1]1043932_382636958529136_1030518462_n[1]1000519_382632205196278_201410618_n[1] 1098255_196311727196907_1795515587_n[1]972325_382632331862932_2141943705_n[1]

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The Hollywood Connection: Photographs and Autographs ONLINE AUCTION

Tomorrow there will be an internet-only auction for original vintage stills and portraits showcasing many Hollywood legends, including Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable, Bogart, and Rita Hayworth. Also included are signed film books with autographs by the likes of Elizabeth Taylor, Bob Hope, Orson Welles, Sidney Poitier, the Fondas, Bette Davis, and Charlton Heston. Here is a link to the catalog for more info.

JustElizabeth

http://issuu.com/haxbee/docs/photoauctioncataloghi-res

http://www.icollector.com/Hollywood-Photography-Autographs_as28470

The glamour and myth of Hollywood was built during the 1930s and ’40s by stars like Marilyn Monroe, Clara Bow, Clark Gable, Elizabeth Taylor, Humphrey Bogart, Fred Astaire, Greta Garbo and others. These timeless stars continue to awe, inspire and entertain us today. Blacksparrow Auctions is pleased to present a collection of original vintage stills and portraits that showcase the enduring magnetism and romance of Hollywood. Some of the highlight photos include scenes from There’s No Business Like Show Business with Marilyn Monroe, keybook stills of Clara Bow, Jean Harlow portraits, Humphrey Bogart stills from Key Largo, and many more. The collection includes Hollywood royalty such as Steve McQueen, Ingrid Bergman, Rita Hayworth, Errol Flynn, The Marx Brothers, Jayne Mansfield, Brigitte Bardot and Greta Garbo. Also featured are film stills from Stanley Kubrick films, Creature From the Black Lagoon, The Misfits, Bonnie and Clyde, The Three Stooges, and Alfred Hitchcock films. Altogether the collection spans the 1920s, pre-Code and silent era to the 1970s.

We are further excited to bring you a unique collection of signed film books that include autographs from some of the greatest actors and performers of the silver screen. One of the books, entitled The Bad Guys, contains dozens of signatures from some of Hollywood’s most memorable villains: James Cagney, Bette Davis, Edward G. Robinson, Cesar Romero, Joan Crawford, Boris Karloff, Vincent Price and more. Another book, entitled The Fondas, contains over 250 autographs of actors, directors and producers who have worked with Henry, Peter and Jane Fonda, including Olivia De Havilland, Sandra Dee, Alice Faye, Mel Ferrer, George Hamilton, Elsa Lanchester, Dorothy Lamour, Fred MacMurray, Roddy McDowell, Burgess Meredith, Gregory Peck and so many, many more. There are 37 of these books, all filled with scores of original autographs collected over seven decades by a former journalist and studio publicist. This is an impressive and incomparable compilation that will be the cornerstone of any Hollywood autograph collection.

 


Bettie Page….the side you DIDN’T know

Pin-up beauty Bettie Page’s mugshot from October 29th 1972.  Many of Bettie’s fans don’t seem to know that she left the pinup world and became a religious fanatic. Years later she was diagnosed of having ( acute schizophrenia ) and she ev…entually spent 20 months in a state mental institution because she stabbed three people. A husband and wife the first time, and her 66 year old roommate the second time because she said that ( God inspired her to do it ) She died at the age of 85.

What was the dark secret of Bettie Page—the curvaceous  black-banged pinup goddess who titillated 1950s America with S&M poses, abandoned her career in 1957, and disappeared? Other bios have chronicled her subsequent incarnations as an evangelical Christian, suburban housewife, and English teacher. But journalist Richard Foster, in his sensationalistic, albeit scrupulously researched book, The Real Bettie Page: The Truth About the Queen of the Pinups, reveals that in 1979 and 1982, Page (a diagnosed schizophrenic) tried to stab several people to death and was institutionalized and spent her last days as a recluse. She also made several foster attempts, clumsily, to reconcile her victimized childhood with her mental illness.

A cult figure, Page was most famous for the estimated 20,000 4-by-5-inch black-and-white glossy photographs taken by amateur shutterbugs from 1949 to 1957. The photos showed her in high heels and bikinis or negligees, bondage apparel — or nothing at all.

Decades later, those images inspired biographies, comic books, fan clubs, websites, commercial products — Bettie Page playing cards, dress-up magnet sets, action figures, Zippo lighters, shot glasses — and, in 2005,  a film about her life and times, “The Notorious Bettie Page.”

“I want to be remembered,” she said, “as I was when I was young and in my golden times. . . . I want to be remembered as the woman who changed people’s perspectives concerning nudity in its natural form.”

Her life to an amazing twist at 35, Page walked away from it all. She quit modeling and moved to Florida, where she married a much younger man whose passions, she later learned, were watching television and eating hamburgers.

Page fled from her home in tears after a dispute on New Year’s Eve in 1959. Down the street, she noticed a white neon sign over a little white church with its door open.

After quietly taking a seat in the back, she had a born-again experience. Page immersed herself in Bible studies and served as a counselor for the Billy Graham Crusade.

In 1967, she married for a third time. After that marriage ended in divorce 11 years later, Page plunged into a depression marked by violent mood swings. She argued with her landlady and attacked her with a knife. A judge found her innocent by reason of insanity but sentenced her to 10 years in a California mental institution.

She spent most of her final years in a one-bedroom apartment, reading the Bible, listening to Christian and country tunes, watching westerns on television, catching up on diet and exercise regimens or sometimes perusing secondhand clothing stores.


Happy Birthday Lucy!!

As a HUGE fan of  “I Love Lucy” and owner of every season I must say, I love Lucille Ball OUTSIDE from the known TV series.

Before she became a television superstar she was a contract player for RKO and Columbia Pictures. Happy birthday Miss Lucille Ball born August 6th , 1911 in Jamestown , N.Y.

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I also love the fact that she was one of the Zeigfeld Follies Girls!

Check out this video/bio on Lucy.  AMAZING pictures I have never seen before!!

 


Hollywood Heavyweight – William Powell

Happy Birthday to William Powell (July 29, 1892-March 5, 1984).

Happy Birthday to William Powell (July 29, 1892-March 5, 1984).

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001635/

Personal Quotes

[when asked how he kept so slim] “I highly recommend worrying. It’s much more effective than dieting.”

[speaking in 1929] “Unfortunately, or perhaps it is fortunate that I have always been forced to stand on my acting ability. I haven’t a personality such as Jack Gilbert’s, for instance, that attracts women and makes them like me for myself. When I am on the screen I must make them forget me entirely and think only of my acting.”

My friends have stood by me marvelously in the ups and downs of my career. I don’t believe there is anything more worthwhile in life than friendship. Friendship is a far better thing than love, as it is commonly accepted.

I do not hold that because the author did a bad job of writing the player need trump it with the same kind of acting. When I go into a picture I have only one character to look after. If the author didn’t do him justice, I try to add whatever the creator of the part overlooked.

I have never gone into a picture without first studying my characterization from all angles. I make a study of the fellow’s life and try to learn everything about him, including the conditions under which he came into this world, his parentage, his environment, his social status, and the things in which he is interested. Then I attempt to get his mental attitude as much as possible.

There is more money in being liked by an audience than in being disliked by it. The biggest thing about movie audiences is the sympathy they give characters on the screen. But the art of acting and the talent of selecting what one will act are divorced qualities.


Old Hollywood Guess Who…….

I adore this picture!! I just can’t believe my eyes and think it is so lovely to find pictures of some of your favorite actors when they were young.  I dare everyone to try and guess before looking at the name below.

Vivian Vance

Vivian Vance!
AKA Ethel Mertz on TV’s “I Love Lucy”!!!
LOVE!!


Movie review – A true classic, I give you….Grand Hotel (1932)

First let me wow you with the cast: Joan Crawford, Greta Garbo, John Barrymore.  Let me allow you to soak in this greatness.

Joan…*sigh*

Greta….*sigh*

and John…*swoons*

Basically this movie is about  a group of very different individuals staying at a luxurious hotel in Berlin deal with each of their respective dramas. John, who is the resident hotel thief and gambler, has a brief flirtation with Joan who is at the hotel on business as a stenographer, only to quickly fall head over heals in love with Greta, a world famous ballerina.  Joan gives a great performance, her eyes and smile dazzle you, Greta, with her silent film background, is very passionate and communicates so much about her character just in facial expressions and body language.  You really get a feel her anguish.  I loved Johns character because he was devilishly handsome and flirtatious.  He was also a gentleman and played this diverse part well.

This is a great look into luxury travel in the past, and the different characters you would come in contact with during your travel adventures.  As I like to say, a must see!!

 

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0022958/

I hope you take my word for it and give it a try!!


Happy Birthday James Cagney!!

James Francis Cagney, Jr. (July 17, 1899 – March 30, 1986) was an American actor, first on stage, then in film,[2] where he had his greatest impact. Although he won acclaim and major awards for a wide variety of performances,[3] he is best remembered for playing tough guys.[4] In 1999, the American Film Institute ranked him eighth among its 50 Greatest American Screen Legends.[5]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Cagney#cite_note-2

To see all of his wonderful movies check out my most favorite reference site:

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000010/


Happy B-day Barbara Stanwyck (July 16, 1907 – January 20, 1990)

Like most veteran actors and actresses, I loved her early work most. In 1928 Barbara moved to Hollywood, where she was to start one of the most lucrative careers filmdom had ever seen. She was an extremely versatile actress who could adapt to any role. Barbara was equally at home in all genres, from melodramas, such as Forbidden (1932) and Stella Dallas (1937), to thrillers, such as Double Indemnity (1944), one of her best films, also starring Fred MacMurray (as you have never seen him before). She also excelled in comedies such as Remember the Night (1940) and The Lady Eve (1941). Another genre she excelled in was westerns, Union Pacific (1939) being one of her first and TV’s “The Big Valley” (1965) (her most memorable role) being her last. In 1983, she played in the ABC hit mini-series “The Thorn Birds” (1983), which did much to keep her in the eye of the public. She turned in an outstanding performance as Mary Carson.


What is this Film Noir you ask? I had the same question!

As a fan of early cinema from early “talkies” to mid to late 30’s, I was unaware of Film Noir.  By definition it means: shadowy, pessimistic movie: a cinematic genre popular in the 1940s and 1950s, often filmed in urban settings with extensive use of shadows, cynical in outlook, and featuring antiheroes. Between the Great Depression and the start of the Cold War, Hollywood went noir, reflecting the worldly, weary, wised-up under current of midcentury America.

That sounds interesting to me!! This is also when I learned about Edward G. Robinson.  He is an AMAZING and unique actor and a great “go to” for finding a good film noir movie.

I knew about EGR long before I became a fan of B/W films, I knew him from Bugs Bunny mimicking him and his very unique style of speaking!

Here are my suggestions for EGR beginners!

Here is a great EGR movie with Orson Wells and Loretta Young!! The Stranger

I have seen every movie I suggest so feel free to ask questions or give me suggestions of your own.  These are great movies and I promise if you were not a fan of EGR before or Film Noir, you will be now!!  Have fun vintage movie lovers!!!


Ginger Rogers….the other side of Fred Astaire

I really hate to say “the other side”, but that is how most people would know Ginger Rogers.  The blonde bombshell who was Fred’s usual partner.  I followed her on TCM when she was Actress of the Month, and discovered she was most amazing in movies WITHOUT Fred Astaire! Truly stunning, talented, and quite sassy in many of her movies, and I love sassy!

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001677/

Ginger Rogers was born Virginia Katherine McMath in Independence, Missouri on July 16, 1911.  Below is a few movie suggestions for Ginger Rogers.  If you have a chance to check them out, let me know what you think here! Also, if you have any other suggestions, please feel free to recommend!

I hope you enjoy these flicks and let me know if you get a chance to watch them!!


The Egyptian Theater

The Egyptian Theater

The Egyptian Theater opened in 1922 the same year King Tutankhamen’s tomb was discovered in Egypt hence the Egyptian theme due to the overwhelming popularity of anything Egyptian that year.  If you love old movies and black and whites, there is no other way to see it than on the original big screens they were intended to be seen on. Check out the calendar to see what movie fits you: http://www.americancinemathequecalendar.com/ 

For  the total “Old Hollywood” experience take a tour of the legendary 1922 Egyptian Theatre. See what it would have been like to be in a Grauman stage show with a visit to the dressing rooms and singers’ boxes. Check out our state-of-the-art projection booth and more! Discover the painstaking restoration work and the marriage of modern technology with a landmark of Hollywood history. Tickets: $5. Tour & movie: $10. Call 323.461.2020, ext. 3 for schedule changes.    FOREVER HOLLYWOOD Screens with behind the scenes historic theatre tours (offered once a month). You do not need to be a group to  participate in our monthly public tours. Tours will start promptly at 10:30 AM at the box office. Tours are approximately 60 min.

After visiting the theater, I suggest eating at the historical Pig & Whistle right next door!