Tag Archives: Classic movies

Happy 75th anniversary Wizard of Oz

Wow, has it really been 75 years?? Yes it has.

To celebrate they are showing it in 3D at the Pantages Theater in Hollywood.

http://www.ticketmaster.com/venueartist/90160/887597?brand=pantagesca

http://thewizardofoz.warnerbros.com/

To celebrate here are some great behind the scene shots from the movie!!

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Tomorrow!! @ the Egyptian Theater, Hollywood, CA! 7:30pm

Buy your tickets here! http://www.americancinemathequecalendar.com/content/down-to-the-sea-in-ships

Elmer Clifton directed this exciting and realistic saga of 19th century whaling, featuring an actual whale hunt captured on film. Shot on location in New Bedford, Massachusetts with locals in period costume as extras, the film stars Raymond McKee, Marguerite Courtot and, in her second film role, Clara Bow.


The Knickerbocker Hotel- Tidbits and Facts on an old Hollywood landmark

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knickerbocker_Hotel_%28Los_Angeles%29

Hotel Knickerbocker served as a temporary home to Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, Rudolph Valentino, Three Stooges, Francis Farmer and some still live there in spirit.

The Renaissance Revival bar was a popular spot for celebrities. Silent screen star Rudolph Valentino was known to ride his horse down from the hills and dance the tango to the live music in this bar. Marilyn Monroe used to sneak through the kitchen in order to meet up with Joe Dimaggio.

When making movies, Elvis Presley liked to stay in Suite 1016. In fact, the song “Heartbreak Hotel” was written about the Knickerbocker by Hoyt Axton’s mother. Some of his publicity shots were taken inside the hotel.

Frances Farmer, who had a brilliant career in the 1930s and 1940s, turned to alcohol and drugs. She was arrested at the Knickerbocker after getting into a fight and dragged out half-naked. She was taken to a sanitarium where she was abused and eventually given a lobotomy. (Actual pic below of the arrest!)

Famous film director D.W. Griffith died of a stroke in 1948. He was living on the 10th floor and collapsed in the lobby under the art deco chandelier. He had turned to alcohol and Hollywood disowned him. Later, he was remembered as a brilliant director and, in 1999, a plaque honoring Griffith was placed in the lobby at the Knickerbocker.

Irene Gibbons, who designed costumes for famous actresses such as Judy Garland, Elizabeth Taylor and Marlene Dietrich, committed suicide at the Knickerbocker in 1962. She went into a deep depression after the death of actor Gary Cooper, whom she loved.

Bess Houdini, widow of Harry Houdini, conducted annual séances on Halloween night on the rooftop of the Knickerbocker. She did this for 10 years until 1936. During the first séance, thunder and lightning began. It was believed that this storm was limited to the top of the hotel and was not seen anywhere else in the Hollywood.

“The Hollywood Knickerbocker Apartments, formerly the Knickerbocker Hotel, is a senior home located at 1714 Ivar Avenue in Los Angeles, California. Built in 1925 by E.M. Frasier in Spanish Colonial Revival style, the historic hotel catered to the region’s nascent film industry, and is the site for some of Hollywood’s most famous dramatic moments. Rudolf Valentino was a regular at the bar before his death in 1926.”


Hollywood History

When Spanish explorers first entered the area now known as Hollywood, Native Americans were living in the canyons of the Santa Monica  Mountains. Before long, the Indians had been moved to missions and the land which Hollywood now occupies was divided in two by the Spanish Government. Acreage to the west became part of Rancho La Brea and settlements to the  East became Rancho Los Feliz.

By the 1870s an agricultural community flourished in  the area and crops ranging from hay and grain to  subtropical bananas and pineapples were thriving. During the 1880s, the Ranchos were sub-divided. In 1886, H. H.Wilcox bought an area of Rancho La Brea that his wife then christened “Hollywood.” Within a few years, Wilcox had devised a grid plan for his new  community, paved Prospect Avenue (now Hollywood  Boulevard) for his main street and was selling large  residential lots to wealthy Midwesterners looking to build homes so they could “winter in California.”

Prospect Avenue soon became a prestigious residential street populated with large Queen Anne, Victorian, and Mission Revival houses. Mrs. Daeida Wilcox raised funds to build churches, schools and a library and Hollywood quickly became a complete and prosperous community. This location of prime real estate was later named “Hollywoodland” in 1923.

In 1911, the Nestor Company opened Hollywood’s first film studio in an old tavern on the corner of Sunset and Gower. Not long thereafter Cecil B. DeMille and D. W.  Griffith began making movies in the area drawn to the community for its open space and moderate climate.

The Hollywood sign soon became an American cultural icon of movie stars and film location so it became an official landmark and the “land” was dropped in 1949.

Hollywood tidbits and facts:

In 1906, a streetcar line was constructed in the Hollywood district down the middle of “Sandy Road”. This lane was known as the “Rose City Line”. The establishment of the streetcar route facilitated the growth of the suburb of Hollywood.

In 1923, Harry Chandler, a real estate agent and investor built the famous Hollywood Sign to advertise the area “Hollywoodland”. The total expense for this advertisement was $21,000. Initially, it was built to last only for eighteen months. However, as of today, the Hollywood Sign has lasted for eighty years.

In 1939, four thousand twenty-watt bulbs were put to illuminate the signboard and a caretaker was appointed to maintain the same. The part of land, which included the “Hollywood” sign, was sold to the city of LA.

The alphabets of the signboard began to fall down. To restore the same, in 1978 an auction of the alphabets was held by Hugh Hefner, founder of the magazine “Playboy”. This auction was held for a period of three months. Alice Cooper, American rock singer, sponsored the alphabet “O”. Gene Autry and Paul Williams sponsored the alphabets “L” and “W” respectively.

In 1995, a trust known as “Hollywood Sign Trust” was set up to maintain the Hollywood sign.

 Mary Pickford

Hollywood is just as interesting to visit today and the city’s culture and crazy crowds makes for interesting people watching.


I looooove Lucy!!!!

I looooooove Lucy!!!!

When I was a young child something that I shared with my mother and grandmother is that we loved to watch I love Lucy.  She was a wild woman who would do anything to make her audience laugh.  As an adult I can honestly say Lucy’s character was very catty, a tad bitchy, especially to her good friend Ethel, but still a good wife and mother.  I still enjoy watching I Love Lucy episodes to this day with my daughter!

Lucille Ball was quite the actress and comedian well outside of her part in the I Love Lucy show.  Lucille Desiree Ball was born on April 6, 1911 in Jamestown, New York.  Her career started in 1933 when she appeared in The Bowery and 28 other films by 1936 including Moulin Rouge and The Three Musketeers before her name started to appear in the credits.  Not many people know but Lucille Ball was one of the original Follies Girls aka Ziegfeld Follies.  They were in a series of Broadway shows but were known for the many beautiful girls in very risqué costumes!

Check this out, what a lineup!!

I love Lucy most when she is playing something that is outside of her I love Lucy shows.  She is a great actress and I adore her opposite Bob Hope.

I do have a movie suggestion, a must see of early Lucille Ball films and that would be “Having a Wonderful Time” (1938) starting Ginger Rogers.  Lucy plays a college crazy woman called, “screwball”.  It’s quit fitting for Lucy and she is her usual wild self.  I also want to add that although she is known for her wild red hair, she has also been a blonde and a brunette.

Lucy is obviously beautiful and known for her comedy, but I have seen her in a serious roll, much later in her career, which left me speechless.  She was so incredibly talented and diverse.  She stared in a TV movie in 1985 called Stone Pillow.  In this movie she plays a homeless woman who befriends a young social worker.  Another Lucy must see.

Stone Pillow (1985) Poster

I hope you enjoyed my tribute to Lucille Ball!


Happy Birthday Charles Chaplin

Happy Birthday Charles Chaplin

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Where does one begin when trying to sum up Charlie Chaplin’s career?

Sir Charles Spencer “Charlie” Chaplin was born on this day, April 16, 1889 in London, England.

Charlie Chaplin, considered (and for good reason) to be one of the most pivotal stars of the early days of Hollywood and film.  Charlie Chaplin was an actor, comedian, director, producer, writer, musician and music composer whose work in motion pictures spanned from 1914 until 1967.

He is most recognized as an icon of the silent film era, often associated with his popular “Little Tramp” character; the man with the toothbrush mustache, bowler hat, bamboo cane, and a funny walk.

Here is an interesting trivia fact that I had no clue about: “On March 3, 1978, his dead body was stolen from the Corsier-Sur-Vevey cemetery. It took until 18 May when the police found it.” – OH MY  I know silent films aren’t for everyone but if you ever want to give it a shot, you will not be let down with Mr. Chaplin.  He is a great comedian who can make you laugh without saying a word, and that’s saying something.

Top 5 Charlie Chaplin movies I suggest:

1: The Great Dictator (1940)

2: The Gold Rush (1925)

3: The Circus (1928)

4: The Kid (1921)

5: Modern Times (1936)

If you are in the Los Angeles area, I would suggest looking up the Egyptian Theatre for silent film screenings as I have seen first hand Chaplin films on original 8mm along with commentary.  It was a fabulous experience and definitely a great way to view the classics!


Joan Crawford…Need I say more?

Joan Crawford

Joan Crawford is one of my favorite actresses of all time.  She has played many different types of roles but always sucks you into her character.  If you were supposed to love her, you did, if you were supposed to hate her and cringe at her catty ways, you did.  I was going to try and pick my favorite Joan Crawford movie but I just couldn’t.  I love early Joan and her barely there eyebrows.  There is something about early cinema that give me chills and I watch in nostalgic awe the fashions and mind states of the characters involved.  To list a few of early Joan Crawford movies I think should be on everyone’s cinema bucket list I would have to say the following in no particular order as I can’t chose which I like more!

Rain (1932)

Dance, Fools, Dance (1931)

Grand Hotel (1932)

The Women (1939) an absolute must if you are going through a breakup.

Mildred Pierce (1945)

and of course Whatever happened to Baby Jane (1962)

All can be found on the IMDB link provided.  She stared in plenty of other movies and my Joan journey still continues, feel free to suggest your own Joan favorite!