Need a dynamic speaker for your next event? With a vast knowledge of film history I can wow your crowd with tales of sex, greed and murder in old Hollywood
I love talking about old movies, classic Hollywood actors and actresses, and really bringing films to life. I currently teach part-time in Long Beach and am often called upon by my students to speak at their local clubs and organizations about the movies and the folks who make them. If you want your group to be entertained by stories of intrigue, sex, murder, and greed than I'm your gal! Please call for pricing and availability
Deeply saddened to hear this news. Heaven gained an angel today.
Doris Day, the perennial girl-next-door whose career as a singer and actress spanned almost 50 years and made her one of the biggest Hollywood stars and most popular entertainers in the United States has died. She was 97.
Interesting take. I had suspected this book from the beginning as nothing more than trash. https://ladailymirror.com/2018/08/06/scotty-bowers-mountain-of-lies-not-the-hill-i-care-to-die-on/
Scotty Bowers’ mountain of lies is not the hill I care to die on. But be assured that he has told a mountain of lies. Have you seen even one photograph of him with one of his alleged amours? Scotty…
Next Saturday, April 6th, I begin my next class: Hollywood Men of the 1940s. We will explore the naughty, tragic, and shocking lives of some of the biggest names to grace the Silver Screen during the war years. Class begin at 9:00am and run until 12:00pm at Cal State Long Beach. See you there!!!
Happy St. Patrick's Day, or as it's known in our house, "Happy Darby O'Gill Day"
Happy birthday to the wonderful and underrated actor, David Niven, who would have turned 119 years old today.
Niven, who had a very long and busy career in Hollywood, was much more than a mere actor. He was involved in British intelligence alongside novelist Ian Fleming, was a published author of two best selling books, and TV producer. In honor of his birthday (and the fact that he is my number #1 Classic Hollywood crush) we are ranking a few of his films....
Director Stanley Donen has passed away, age 94. A truly remarkable man and a great loss to the Hollywood community. In honor of his artistry, I have ranked his best loved films from WORST to BEST. (But, believe me, his "worst" is still better than most!)
This weekend, I will be giving a lecture on the one and only Gene Autry. He may be just a "B" movie cowboy, but for a few years he topped Clark Gable at the box office! He also sang the first record to sell a million copies, was a decorated war hero and he was the owner of the Angels baseball team. Not too bad for a 'cowboy'.
But, behind his sunny smile, lurked demons that threatened to destroy the King of the Cowboys.
Come find out the true story of Gene Autry
This weekend I will be lecturing on the lives of three comedy masters: Harpo Marx, Stan Laurel, and Oliver Hardy. These three men have brought laughter and joy to billions of people around the world. Harpo would become a mentor to a young Lucille Ball. Oliver Hardy, a role model for young Spanky MacFarland. And Stan Laurel, would be a tremendous influence on legends Dick Van Dyke, Jerry Lewis and Blake Edwards.
Come hear the truth about these giants of comedy- this Saturday 9:00am-3:00pm
Happy 97th birthday to the wonderful Betty White!
My grandfather, Richard Hathcock, worked with her on a local TV show in the 1950s. He had only great things to say about her. God bless her and here's hoping she has MANY more years left on this earth!
For your listening pleasure, Gary Cooper brings you that wonderful rockabilly classic, "Bird Dog"
Gary Cooper reveals heretofore unknown talent as a singer by performing the Everly Brothers' hit "Bird Dog" with the Sportsmen Quartet on the 9/21/58 Jack Be...
Don't miss this Saturday as we learn about two of Hollywood's greatest imports: Basil Rathbone and Errol Flynn!
Lecturing this weekend on the incomparable Bing Crosby. Very complex human being. Was he the monster his son Gary made him out to be? Or was he actually a victim?
You can find out only if you attend my next lecture!
To find out how, please PM me for details.
Happy birthday to the King in "Jailhouse Rock", a movie that shows he COULD act.
Why was Leslie Howard's plane shot down? That is the question that everyone has been asking since it happened over 70 years ago on June 1, 1943.
I think the more important question is...why was it allowed to happen?
To answer the first question, let's look at the facts regarding why Leslie Howard was named Public Enemy #1 by none other than Joseph Goebbels:
1. He had made a film called "Pimpernel Smith", where he plays a character who successfully thwarts the Nazi powers by rescuing countless victims from their camps. And finds ancient artifacts disproving the Nazi propaganda of being descendants of the Aryan race. Goebbels was enraged by this- the way the Nazis are made to be idiots, the way their Aryan heritage is called into question.
2. Howard had an affair with one Conchita Montenegro back in 1931 during production of "Never The Twain Shall Meet." They had remained friends and she had become recently engaged to Ricardo Arnau, a top diplomat in Francisco Franco's cabinet. Howard had been doing some light spy work for Winston Churchill and Churchill asked Howard to sweet talk Franco into siding with the Allies during the war. It is now known that Montenegro arranged a meeting, through her fiancée, between Howard and Franco for such a purpose.
Hence, why Howard had a target on his back.
But what is even more chilling is the theory that Churchill may have allowed the plane to go down so the Germans wouldn't know that the British had cracked their Enigma codes.
Could Howard and the other 16 passengers aboard the plane been sacrificed for the greater British cause? Or could it have been because Leslie Howard's friend, Alfred Chenhalls, bore a resemblance to Churchill and the German spies on the ground at the airport mistook him for Winston?
The world may never know WHY it was shot or if it was sacrificed or a case of mistaken identity. But one thing is for certain:
Leslie Howard died a hero. He was no weakling. He was man who loved his country enough to risk his life and to speak truth to power.
God bless Leslie Howard and all those who died on the final flight of the Ibis.
First day of class yesterday on men of the 1930s. Got the greatest compliment paid to me after class. A couple who have been in my classes for over a year, came up to me to let me know how much they enjoyed my biography of Mickey Mouse last semester. In my lecture, I had mentioned his terrific performance in "Mickey's A Christmas Carol". Well, they had never seen that movie before. So, for Christmas Eve, they tracked down a copy at their local library to play for their relatives that night. They also made Disney themed cupcakes, recreated my biography of Mickey, and made up a Mickey Mouse trivia game- all because they LOVED my presentation!
What better compliment could I get than that?
In just one week, I will begin my next semester on Hollywood history at OLLI at CSULB. This class will focus on male actors of the 1930's. We will be exploring the lives and performances of such stars as Clark Gable, Errol Flynn, Leslie Howard, Harpo Marx, and others. Prepare to be shocked by some of the startling revelations made!
Classes are Saturdays 9:00am-12:00pm. You can sign up for classes online
Christmas time needs "The Lemon Drop Kid" directed by Sidney Lanfield and starring Bob Hope, Marilyn Maxwell, and Jane Darwell. This Damon Runyon story about a crooked bookie using an old lady's charity home as the front for his criminal activities, is actually VERY heartwarming. Plus, its the film that introduced one of my favorite Christmas carols, "Silver Bells". In the scene, Marilyn Maxwell, Bob Hope and William "Fred Mertz" Frawley, sing the song on the streets of New York to various people of different ethnicities. (PC this scene is not). All turns out right in the end. This is a Christmas movie, after all. But getting there is half the fun!
And seeing Bob Hope in drag, is a riot!
"Scrooge" aka "A Christmas Carol" directed by Brian Desmond Hurst and starring Alistair Sim, Mervyn Johns, and Hermione Baddeley is the definitive movie "Christmas Carol". Aside from the wonderful acting (and Alistair is THE Scrooge), there is a tremendous score that places you smack dab in Dickens' time. Watching this film, you really feel as though you are in London in the 1830s. Its a haunting movie and one that is not to be missed if you want to get into the Christmas spirit.
Eerily, George Cole, who plays Scrooge as a younger man, was quasi-adopted by Alistair Sim! When George was 15, he and his mother lived with Alistair and his wife, who acted as mentors for the hopeful actor. George lived with Alistair until he was 27 and appeared with him in 11 films!
And if you're a fan of "Mary Poppins" or "Maude", you might find Hermione Baddeley VERY familiar looking...
"Miracle on 34th Street" 1947, directed by George Seaton and starring Maureen O'Hara, John Payne, Natalie Wood and Edmund Gwenn, has to be one of the most beloved films ever made. It is certainly one of my family's holiday traditions. Whether its waiting for the psychiatrist to tug at his eyebrow or Susan to tug on Kris Kringle's beard, we have to watch this film every year.
But there is one particular actor in it that I wait for every year because he plays such a HEEL and that is the WONDERFUL Jerome Cowen as the district attorney. He is so pompous, so sure of his victory in convicting Kris Kringle of being nuts that when he is confronted by his own words coming out of his own son's mouth being used against him, his utter humiliation is delicious! Cowen never gets the recognition he should as a consummate actor and a terrific comedian.
Pay attention to him next time...you'll be glad you did!
"It Happened On Fifth Avenue" 1947 directed by: Roy DelRuth. Starring: Victor Moore, Charles Ruggles, Ann Harding, Don DeFore, and Gale Storm.
This film is a long-lost little gem of a holiday film that came out the same year as "Miracle on 34th Street". It tells a sweet, simple story about a hobo (Victor Moore) who spends half of the year in the closed-up-for-the-season mansion of Charles Ruggles. He encounters Don DeFore and his fellow vets who are in need of a home for the holidays and he invites them to crash at the mansion with them. But then, the owner shows up- what will happen when he finds these strangers in his house, using his things, wearing his clothes????
I love this film because of the heart in it, particularly between Ann Harding and Charles Ruggles. Their characters are divorced but through complications in the story are forced to live together again. Their scenes where they reminisce about their early married life when they were poor, are both poignant and heartbreaking. This is great acting at its best- pure, simple, and truthful.
I highly recommend this film to anyone wanting to get into the holiday spirit.
In honor of our Queen of the 30's, Norma Shearer, I have ranked 10 films that are MUST SEE for Norma fans in order from #10 to #1. Click on each title for my review!
#10 Lady of the Night, #9 The Student Prince in Old Heidelburg, #8 Romeo and Juliet, #7 He Who Gets Slapped, #6 The Barrets of Wimple Street, #5 A Free Soul, #4 The Divorcee, #3 Smilin' Through, #2 The Women, #1 Marie Antoinette
In honor of our King, Clark Gable, I have ranked ten Clark Gable films you MUST SEE in order of #10 to #1. Click on each film poster for a complete review.
10. No Man of Her Own 9. Night Nurse 8. A Free Soul 7. Too Hot To Handle 6. Red Dust 5. San Francisco 4. Mutiny on the Bounty 3. The Misfits 2. Gone With the Wind 1. It Happened One Night
Since our King and Queen of the 1930's actually did work together, here is a little anecdote about their teaming up in "A Free Soul", the film that catapulted Gable to stardom:
Norma, who was the wife of MGM studio head Irving Thalberg, had played virginial types her entire career leading up to a film called "The Divorcee", made in 1930. After that, her image on film became one of the sophisticated woman of affairs who openly enjoyed the sensual side of life. Norma was devoted to her husband Irving, but he was not a very healthy man. Due to his heart problems (which would eventually kill him by 1936), their sex life was not as exciting as Norma would have liked. Though she was always faithful to Irving, never having affairs with any of her co-stars during her marriage, several of her male co-stars said that during kissing scenes Norma would get incredibly "worked up".
Mr. Gable had a very difficult time with her shooting "A Free Soul". In the famous scene where Gable shoves her down onto the couch and she invites him to make love to her, Gable claimed that she was very naked under her dress and that he could feel every inch of her pressing against his body. While he was flattered, he was also very uncomfortable; how could he look her husband (his boss) in the eye when his wife was enjoying teasing him on the set?
If you look closely at the two of them during this scene, you will see quite the twinkle in Norma's eye- and Clark restraining himself as best he could!
We have a winner for the sexiest female actress of the 1930's! Norma Shearer wins the contest and is our Queen of the 1930s!
Now it's time for the girls!
VOTE for the sexiest actress of the 1930s!
THE POLL HAS CROWNED IT'S KING!!!
Clark Gable has been voted the hottest male actor of the 1930s. Congratulations and long live the King!
The first American movie star to enlist in the military during World War Two was...James Stewart! Jimmy of "It's a Wonderful Life" fame was very interested in aviation, having garnered a commercial pilot's license and clocked in over 400 hours of flying time before Pearl Harbor. In an era when most movie star's drafts were quickly gotten rid of, Stewart did the unthinkable: he wanted to answer his draft notice! In fact, he was ready to be inducted, but failed to meet the weight requirements because he was 5 pounds underweight.
So, he hired MGM fitness guru, Don Lewis, to help him bulk up. This time, he was able to persuade the Air Corp to take him in, signing up March 22, 1941. By 1942 he was a second lieutenant, mostly doing recruiting and publicity events for the war effort. But Jimmy wanted to do more to serve the country he loved. He wanted to see action, to be seen as more than just a pretty face in a uniform. Eventually, he would become the commander of his squadron, where on December 13, 1943 he led his squadron in a bombing raid on U-boats in Kiel, Germany. It was a success! He was soon promoted to major and eventually rose to the rank of Brigadier General. He officially retired from the army May 31, 1968 a full 27 years after joining. When he died in 1997, the Army Air Forces honored him with a firing of three volleys for his service.
God bless you, Mr. Stewart, and thank you for your distinguished service,
FIRST EVER POLL!!!! Poll closes tonight so get your vote in!!!
Please vote for (in your opinion) the hottest leading man of the 1930s by "liking" or "loving" their photo. Your choices are as follows...
Clark Gable was a motorcycle fanatic. He, Andy Devine, Ward Bond, Victor Fleming, and others would ride their bikes on the weekends. These were strictly to be all male times- no women were allowed.
Enter Carole Lombard. When she and Clark were just dating, she decided to follow the boys out on their ride one weekend in her trailer. When she got to their camp, she proceeded to cook them all dinner. Though, initially, the other men grumbled that a woman had infringed on their weekend getaway, her cooking and humor won them over.
Soon, they were all giving Clark knowing winks and nudges, as he made his way to the door of Carole's trailer. He supposed that since she came out there, she was wanting some "love".
But Carole shocked them all by shoving Clark out the door and locking it, saying with a grin, "oh no you don't! This is a boys' weekend. You go sleep with them!" She then turned the lights out in her trailer and went to bed.
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