Friday, May 29, 2015


Comedian Bob Hope and his wife Dolores had one of the longest marriages in Hollywood history. They were married for 69 years until Bob's death in 2003. While Hope entertained the troops during World War II and made countless movies and radio appearances, Dolores stayed at home and raised their four adopted children. During Hope's popularity the media as well as Dolores herself avoided any gossip or rumors about the entertainer's infidelity. However, now over ten years after he died, many of the rumors of Bob Hope have become fact. One rumor that has been proven was that Bob Hope had a first wife whom he was married to briefly before Dolores!

Bob and Dolores always claimed that they married in February 1934 in Erie, Pennsylvania. But at that time he was secretly married to his Vaudeville partner  Grace Louise Troxell, after three years together on and off. One of Hope's biographers found divorce papers for Bob and Louise dated November 1934, so either Bob Hope was a bigamist or he lied about marrying Dolores in February that year.

He actually married Louise in January 1933 in Erie when they were travelling on the Vaudeville circuit. When he claimed he had married Dolores in Erie he was actually miles away in New York, on Broadway. More intriguing, there is no record anywhere of his marriage to Dolores, if it happened. And there are no wedding photos, either. But he never forgot Grace and quietly sent her money in her later years.

Who was Grace Louise Troxell is what I wanted to investigate. Her whereabouts were harder than I thought to solved. There is not much about Grace after her short marriage to Bob "two wives" Hope. What I found out is Grace Louise Troxell was born on October 25, 1912 in Cincinnati, Ohio to a hardware salesman William Asa Troxell Jr. (1881-1964) and housewife Katherine S. Hummeldorf (1888-1939). Grace was the 4th of 8 children and her family was pretty poor, but she was a pretty good dancer and a beauty by Ohio standards so she met up with Bob Hope and made her way to vaudville by the late 1920s.

After the whirlwind quickie marriage and divorce to Bob Hope, Grace tried to make it as a solo act in New York City in 1935. After a few months though, Grace moved back to Ohio where she met and married a car salemen by the name of Herbert Koppmeier (1901-1974). He was eleven years older than Grace, but he gave her stability that she wanted. They were married on May 4, 1940. The marriage was reportedly a happy one and the couple had a daughter. However, when Herbert got ill finances got tight for Grace. Reportedly Bob sent her money before and after Herbert died in 1974. On August 30, 1992, Grace died of heart failure in a nursing home at the age of 79 and Bob Hope while not attending her funeral, did pay for all of the funeral expenses. Grace Louise Troxell did not have a lot in her failed show business life, but until her death she always had hope... 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015


With two small children, I don't get the time to watch many new movies. However, I recently heard actor John Lithgow on NPR radio talking about his new movie in 2014, Love Is Strange, and I wanted to see it. I finally picked up a copy off of ebay and got a chance to watch it. Yes, I do not have a Netflix membership yet. I still like watching movies the old fashioned way.

Anyways,  the plot revolves around two gay men who have lived together for 39 years and finally get married, a decision that will alter their lives in ways that are unexpected and transforming. We first meet Ben, a seventy-one year old artist, (John Lithgow in a breathtaking performance) and his partner George (Alfred Molina in an equally fine portrayal,) a music teacher in a Catholic school - both excitedly, and nervously preparing for the ceremony and the post- wedding party. From the moment we first view Lithgow and Molina singing a duet together - their voices and theatrics in synch and at odds - tender intimacy is apparent. Ira Sachs and co-writer Mauricio Zacharias have created two remarkably gentle and loving individuals, their intimacy and enduring connection, is both understated and powerfully passionate.

The consequences of ultimately legitimizing their union bear witness to the harsh realities that accompany that choice. Soon after the nuptials, George gets fired from his job, and the economic demands of existing in NYC, forced to sell the apartment in order to find more affordable housing, interrupts their former cadence of living. Having no alternative, George and Ben, temporarily separate to move in with friends and relatives till they can find a home of their own. Molina and Lithgow stunningly convey the anguish of living apart and the intense longing of being united again. It is as if one person is sliced in half – going through the motions, but not fully functioning without the other.

The movie, and the modern romance between John Lithgow and Alfred Molina had the potential to make this film a modern classic, but the last fifteen minutes of the movie seem like it was pieced together all wrong. Maybe the studio got hold of the film and edited it, but I feel the ending, as it stands, did not give the movie the finale it deserved. Love Is Strange was like watching a runner in a marathon that starts off strong, but loses energy in the end. The best part of the movie was Lithgow and Molina, who make you believe quite easily and quickly that they are a couple. However, I wish the movie told the ending a little better. It was well worth finding this copy off of Ebay, and it was well worth watching this beautiful film featuring some wonderful acting though...

MY RATING: 7 out of 10

Monday, May 25, 2015


Last Veteran's Day on November 11, 2014 I posted a story on Jimmy Stewart and his military experience. Now that it is Memorial Day, I figured I'd post an interesting story about Mel Brooks and his time in the military during World War II...

Mel Brooks is best known for his award-winning comedy films such as Young Frankenstein and Blazing Saddles. But Brooks was also a combat veteran of World War II who fought under General Patton in the Battle of the Bulge: a four-week-long battle that resulted in the death of over 60,000 Allied troops.

Brooks, who was studying psychology at Brooklyn College at the time, was drafted into the Army and sent to war as a combat engineer in the 1104 Combat Engineer Battalion, 78th Infantry Division. During his time in the Army, Brooks was primarily responsible for disarming land mines.

While fighting in Germany, Brooks often heard Nazi propaganda being played from loudspeakers, which must have really got on his nerves because he went about creating his own speaker system to play Al Jolson, a Jewish singer, back at the Nazis, according to Military.

Brooks, when asked about his time at war, said, “War isn’t hell . . . War is loud. Much too noisy. All those shells and bombs going off around you. Never mind death. A man could lose his hearing.”
So the next time you watch Spaceballs, remember that Mel Brooks once fought Nazis with music because apparently he really hated how loud warfare was...


Saturday, May 23, 2015


I love checking out celebrity advertisements, especially the older ones featuring classic Hollywood stars. The print ad below featured Vincent Price (1911-1993) hawking Creamettes Macaroni. I do not know what Vincent Price and pasta have to do with each other, but Price was a great chef. I don't have a date on this ad, but I would place it as the mid to late 1970s...

Thursday, May 21, 2015


One of my favorite character actresses of all-time was the great Thelma Ritter. Surprisingly Ritter got into acting later in her life compared to other Hollywood actresses. Ritter was born in Brooklyn, NewYork City, on Februayr 14, 1902. After appearing in high school plays and stock companies, shetrained as an actress at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. She established a stage career buttook a hiatus to raise her two children by her husband, Joseph Moran, an actor turned advertising executive.

Thelma Ritter appeared in high school plays and was trained at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. In the 1940s she worked in radio. Her movie career was started with a bit part in the 1946 Miracle on 34th Street (1947). In the movie she played a weary Xmas shopper. Her performance in the short scene was noticed by Darryl F. Zanuck who insisted her role be expanded.

Her second role, in writer-director Joseph L. Mankiewicz's A Letter to Three Wives (1949), left a mark, although Ritter was again uncredited. Mankiewicz kept Ritter in mind, and cast her as "Birdie" in All About Eve (1950), which earned her an Oscar nomination. A second nomination followed for her work in Mitchell Leisen's' classic ensemble screwball comedy The Mating Season (1951) starring Gene Tierney and John Lund. She enjoyed steady film work for the next dozen years.
She appeared in many of the episodic drama TV series of the 1950s, such as Alfred Hitchcock Presents, General Electric Theater, and The United States Steel Hour. Other film roles were as James Stewart's nurse in Rear Window (1954) and as Doris Day's housekeeper in Pillow Talk (1959). Although best known for comedy roles, she played the occasional dramatic role, most notably in With a Song in My Heart (1952), Pickup on South Street (1953), Titanic (1953), and The Misfits (1961).

During the period 1951 to 1963 Ms. Ritter was nominated for 6 Academy Awards. She is one of the most nominated actors who never won the statue. Shortly after a 1968 performance on The Jerry Lewis Show (1967), Ms. Ritter suffered a heart attack which proved fatal. Ritter died on February 5, 1969 a few days short of her 67th birthday. She was survived by her husband of 41 years and her two children. Amazingly Thelma Ritter was only a part of Hollywood for two decades, but the countless movie roles she had will never be forgotten and a testament to what a wonderful character actress she was...

Tuesday, May 19, 2015


In January 1974, a 19-year-old UCLA student named Steve Stoliar started The Committee for the Rerelease of Animal Crackers to pressure Universal Studios into releasing the Marx Brothers' 1930 black-and-white film, which had been in copyright limbo for at least two decades. Executives at Universal were more concerned with their recent releases, Airport 75 and Earthquake, than they were in untangling the legal knots necessary to re-release a 44-year-old movie.

"I probably discovered the Marx Brothers when I was in high school and I wondered where they had been hiding all my life," Steve Stoliar said in a recent interview with us.

"They were such a wonderful blend of physical comedy and clever wordplay -- either Groucho's wordplay or Chico's mangling of the language."

Marx mania swept college campuses in the late '60s and early '70s. Their anarchic shenanigans resonated with baby boomers who weren't even alive when the Marx Brothers were making movies. Abbie Hoffman once said, "Groucho Marx had more to do with my subversion than Karl Marx."

Stoliar's campaign led to a campus visit from Groucho himself, who sat down and chatted with damn-near levitated Stoliar. After collecting a few thousand signatures, Universal announced that they would strike two prints of the film and premiere it in Westwood and New York. It broke the box-office record at the United Artists Westwood.

Groucho hired Stoliar to work out of the comedian's Beverly Hills home to handle fan mail and organize all of the memorabilia -- an extraordinary job that would last three years and become the basis for one of the more honest and complex show-biz memoirs in modern memory Raised Eyebrows: My Years Inside Groucho's House.

Stoliar's storied tenure as Groucho Marx's secretary is tempered with highs and lows, bookended by the psychotic Erin Fleming -- Groucho's young and mercurial life manager and companion who hitched her wagon to the star in his declining years. But before the shadow of Erin Fleming would darken the day -- at least for Stoliar--at 1083 Hillcrest Road, it was an auspicious start to a young man's dream-come-true.

"Erin helped me set up the campaign to get Animal Crackers rereleased," Stoliar said. "She would call me at all hours and just start talking about whatever was on her mind. I felt like I had been specially selected that she'd share all of this information with me."

Most extraordinary was Stoliar's free rein around Groucho's house, not to mention Groucho's egalitarian lunch policy which allowed staff to dine with him and freely interact with celebrity guests.

Although several strokes had diminished Groucho's caustic swagger significantly, there were still many flourishes of the wit that made him Groucho--something which never went unnoticed or unappreciated by his secretary.

"He used to love it when I brought him the mail because he subscribed to the Hollywood trade papers," said Stoliar. "One time he came to the table and said, 'Wonderful mail today, nothing but requests for money.' I said, 'You got a Variety didn't you?' 'Yes,' he said. 'A variety of requests for money.'"

"The only limitation was that I was also fighting against time," said Stoliar. "He was getting hazier and having health problems. It wasn't as though the longer I stayed there, the closer we got, because he was pulling away against his will. It was kind of a strange juggling between time and intimacy."
"Steven was being very parental, almost like he was Groucho's bodyguard," recalled Groucho's nephew and Harpo's son, Bill Marx.

"He was a very important figure in Groucho's life at that time from the standpoint of caring."
It was also gratifying for Groucho to have such an enthusiastic and knowledgeable employee in Stoliar.

 And then there were the many moods of Erin Fleming, which kept everyone--cooks, nurses, maids, and secretary/archivists -- on eggshells and off-balance.

"She would fly off the handle, slam her fist, and slam doors," said Stoliar. We used to tell what kind of mood she was in by how hard she'd throw her keys in the dish. You never really knew what you were in for and it was a release of tension when she'd leave."

There were others who hadn't seen Fleming's dark side and had an altogether different take on her -- at first.

"I didn't see anything wrong with her when I met her," Dick Cavett said.

"She was a little overwrought, always a little on edge -- or had an edge on from something -- but she seemed rather nice and charming and devoted to Groucho. He was pretty lonely and his children were not all that available."

Stoliar always remained mindful of the fact that it was Fleming, after all, who made the dream possible and who allowed him access to Groucho and his famous friends.

It was impossible to ignore Groucho's diminishing mental and physical condition, which concerned friends and family and only intensified Fleming's megalomania. She alienated him from his children and continued booking him for appearances, despite his failing condition, and members of the household witnessed Erin yelling at Groucho until he cried.

"I began to hear Arsenic and Old Lace-type references to Erin and, of course, lived to find that most of it was true," Cavett said. "Steve was a good source of information and we were friends enough that it wasn't as if he was distributing gossip to a stranger who might make damaging use of it."

"Groucho said to my dear friend [biographer] Hector Arce in the hospital towards the end, 'This is no way to live,'" Stoliar said. "He was painfully aware of how bad things had gotten. It was time and yet still you hate saying goodbye."

Groucho Marx died on August 19, 1977.

In the months before Groucho's death, his son Arthur Marx took Fleming to court for temporary conservatorship of his father. A California Superior Court judge appointed writer Nat Perrin to handle his dying friend's affairs and Perrin tasked Stoliar to not only watch the house on weekends, but gave him the authority to keep Fleming from entering the premises. A battle over Groucho's estate raged on for nearly six years before the case came to trial in 1983, but the judge ruled in favor of Arthur Marx, ordering Fleming to repay $472,000 to the Marx estate, including $221,000 the Bank of America claimed she had swindled from Groucho...


Sunday, May 17, 2015


Here is an excellent online story I found about another great British Dance band singer - Chick Henderson (1912-1944)...

Chick Henderson was born Henderson Rowntree in West Hartlepool, England. As a boy he loved to sing and was an active member of a church choir. He was heard by Harry Leader and given an audition, who immediately signed him up in 1935. Chick started recording with the band in 1935 and made three records on the Eclipse Label. His first recording was ‘Zing Went the Strings of My Heart’, matrix 2544-1, on 15th June 1935, and released on Eclipse 1011. Chick made his first broadcast on the BBC in August 1935. Chick joined the Joe Loss Band in September 1935 after having been heard on radio. He cut the first Joe Loss records on 22nd October 1935 in the London HMV studios, ‘Wyoming in the Gloaming’, OEA-1998-1, and ‘The General’s Fast Asleep’,OEA-2000-1. Chick and Joe Loss went on to record over 250 tracks.
Even though Chick was the principal singer for Joe Loss, he continued to make records on Columbia and Regal Zonophone with Harry Leader. The mid 1930’s is a period which is difficult for record collectors and historians. Columbia used the name Harry Leader but Regal Zonophone released Harry Leader discs under a number of aliases such as Wally Bishop, International Novelty Orchestra, and Mel Rose. To complicate things further these sides were released in Australia under all these names and also as The Rhythmic Troubadours on RZ. Some Joe Loss tracks also used these aliases. 
From all accounts Chick Henderson was a shy and modest person who loved to spend quiet weekends with his family and friends, but at least once a month he was in the recording studio with Joe Loss, usually putting down about four numbers each session. Very few recordings required more than one take.
In July 1937 he made his first solo recording‘Greatest Mistake Of My Life’ and ‘Broken Hearted Clown’. He had only accordion and piano as accompaniment. It was not until November 1937 that his other solo disc was recorded on RZ, and it was the only time that the label credit reversed the order, Chick Henderson with Joe Loss. His best seller was ‘Begin The Beguine’ of 5/7/1939, but he made a large number very highly regarded discs. Chick received £4 for the recording session, while Joe Loss picked up a gold disc!
In 1940 Chick recorded eight tracks with Harry Roy, three with Organ Dance Band & Me, and four with London Piano Accordion Band. His last recording session was in 1942 in Glasgow with Joe Loss.
Less than a year following the start of World War II in September 1939, he began serving in the Merchant Navy. He survived two torpedo attacks on his ships, but after four years of service, sustained fatal wounds in Southsea from flying bomb shrapnel. Chick Henderson was 31 years old. A Sub-Lieutenant in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, on strength of HMS Victory at time of his death, he was buried in Haslar Royal Naval Cemetery under his real name.
After a recording career of only seven years, Chick made about 280 tracks although his name is not on the majority of labels. He made 19 with Harry Leader, and 242 (247?) with Joe Loss, plus 2 with instrumental accompaniment. Some of his recordings were not released in Australia in 78 rpm format. Strangely it took many years before EMI started to release compilations on LP and Cassette. 

Friday, May 15, 2015


Joseph Cotten was one of those actors that was great in every role he starred in, but never got the recognition he deserved. It has been over twenty years since his death, and sadly only real movie fans remember the name Joseph Cotten. For me, Cotten starred in one of my favorite Alfred Hitchcock movies, Shadow Of A Doubt (1943), but he had some truly remarkable roles in his long Hollywood career.

Joseph Cotten was born on May 15, 1905 in Petersburg, Virginia, the son of Joseph Cheshire Cotten, Sr., an assistant postmaster and his wife, Sally Willson Cotten. He worked as an advertising agent after studying acting at the Hickman School of Speech and Expression in Washington, D.C. His work as a theatre critic inspired him to become involved in theatre productions, first in Virginia, then in New York City. Cotten made his Broadway debut in 1930.

In 1934 Cotten met and became friends with Orson Welles, a fellow cast member on CBS Radio's The American School of the Air. Cotten had his first starring role in Welles's second production for the Federal Theatre Project — the farce Horse Eats Hat, adapted by Welles and Edwin Denby from Eugène Marin Labiche's play Un Chapeau de Paille d'Italie. The play was presented from September 26 to December 5, 1936, at the Maxine Elliott Theatre, New York.

In 1937 Cotten became an inaugural member of Welles's Mercury Theatre company, starring in Broadway productions of Julius Caesar, The Shoemaker's Holiday and Danton's Death, and in radio dramas presented on The Mercury Theatre on the Air and The Campbell Playhouse.

Cotten made his film debut in the Welles-directed short, Too Much Johnson, a comedy that was intended to complement an aborted 1938 Mercury stage production of William Gillette's 1890 play. The film was never screened in public; it was reported in 2013 that a print had been discovered in Prodenone, Italy.

Cotten returned to Broadway in 1939, creating the role of C. K. Dexter Haven opposite Katharine Hepburn's Tracy Lord in the original production of Philip Barry's The Philadelphia Story. The play ran for a year at the Shubert Theatre, and in the months before its extensive national tour a film version was to be made by MGM. Cotten went to Hollywood, but discovered there that his stage success in The Philadelphia Story translated to, in the words of his agent Leland Hayward, "spending a solid year creating the Cary Grant role." Hayward suggested that they call Cotten's good pal, Orson Welles. "He's been making big waves out here," Hayward said. "Maybe nobody in Hollywood ever heard of the Shubert Theatre in New York, but everybody certainly knows about the Mercury Theatre in New York".

In mid-1940 filming began on Citizen Kane, portraying the life of a press magnate (played by Welles) who starts out as an idealist but eventually turns into a corrupt, lonely old man. The film featured Cotten prominently in the role of Kane's best friend Jedediah Leland, eventually a drama critic for one of Kane's papers. The rest would be movie history...

Tuesday, May 12, 2015


Now that my son is getting older, the theme song for "Barney" has been replaced with "Take Me Out To The Ball Game" as the most popular song in our house. Even though the game of baseball is not the same as it used to be, there is just still something great about taking your son to see a game. It is one of my favorite things I have done with my son. With the song stuck permanently in my head, I had to do some research on where this anthem of baseball came from!

"Take Me Out to the Ball Game" is a 1908 Tin Pan Alley song by Jack Norworth and Albert Von Tilzer which has become the unofficial anthem of North American baseball, although neither of its authors had attended a game prior to writing the song. The song (chorus only) is traditionally sung during the middle of the seventh inning of a baseball game. Fans are generally encouraged to sing along, and at some ballparks, the words "home team" are replaced with the team name.Jack Norworth, while riding a subway train, was inspired by a sign that said "Baseball Today – Polo Grounds". In the song, Katie's (and later Nelly's) beau calls to ask her out to see a show. She accepts the date, but only if her date will take her out to the baseball game. The words were set to music by Albert Von Tilzer. (Norworth and Von Tilzer finally saw their first Major League Baseball games 32 and 20 years later, respectively.) The song was first sung by Norworth's then-wife Nora Bayes and popularized by many other vaudeville acts. It was played at a ballpark for the first known time in 1934, at a high-school game in Los Angeles, and researchers think it made its debut at a major-league park later that year.

Norworth wrote an alternative version of the song in 1927. (Norworth and Bayes were famous for writing and performing such smash hits as "Shine On, Harvest Moon".) With the sale of so many records, sheet music, and piano rolls, the song became one of the most popular hits of 1908. The Haydn Quartet singing group, led by popular tenor Harry MacDonough, recorded a successful version on Victor Records.

The most famous recording of the song was credited to "Billy Murray and the Haydn Quartet", even though Murray did not sing on it. The confusion, nonetheless, is so pervasive that, when "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" was selected by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Recording Industry Association of America as one of the 365 top "Songs of the Century", the song was credited to Billy Murray, implying his recording of it as having received the most votes among songs from the first decade. The first recorded version was by Edward Meeker. Meeker's recording was selected by the Library of Congress as a 2010 addition to the National Recording Registry, which selects recordings annually that are "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

Saturday, May 9, 2015


Here is another movie review from guest reviewer and film historian Bruce Kogan. This time up he reviews a forgotten 1947 drama. I haven't seen the movie in years, so I looked foward to this review...

In the annals of Hollywood legends, Wild Harvest has a unique reputation. Not that it's a great film, but because of the circumstances under which it was filmed. At least the interiors that were done at Paramount studios under interesting circumstances.

Mentioned in both Beverly Linet's biography and in the The Citadel series on The Films Of Alan Ladd, there was a strike by one of the unions at the time. Rather than be guilty of crossing the picket line, director Tay Garnett had cast and crew bunking at the studio. As Garnett liked a happy set, he catered everyone with plenty of food and a nice free flowing supply of liquor.

There were several bar scenes in this film which is about the itinerant harvesting crews who use the giant combine machines to harvest wheat in the autumn. If the cast looks a little oiled and lubricated they were. A great time was had by all.

Lloyd Nolan narrates the film and it is his eyes through which we see the action. He spends most of the time coming between Alan Ladd and Robert Preston who are his best friends, but have totally different personalities. Ladd is a by the book dead serious guy who has raised the money for the machines and hired a crew. Preston is an ace mechanic and Ladd needs him to keep his combines running. But Preston likes a good time and nothing keeps him from that.

Enter Dorothy Lamour who probably was playing her worst character. She plays of Ladd and Preston and gets their hormones going. But Preston is whom she marries and Preston who has a bit of larceny in his soul starts skimming the wheat and selling some of what they harvest in some private sales. In the old west this would be the equivalent of cattle rustling and the wheat farmers feel about the same way toward 'high graders' which is the term for what Preston is doing.

Wild Harvest veers wildly toward serious drama and outright slapstick comedy. Maybe under more normal working conditions the film might have turned out better, who knows. The most interesting character in the film is Lamour who could have done more of these roles had she been cast. Still Ladd and Preston fans will see something interesting if not the best work for either of these guys.


Thursday, May 7, 2015


It has been nearly 25 years since screen legend William Holden died. He sadly died when he bled to death after falling. It is interesting to read this original obit from the NY Times of November 17, 1981...

William Holden, the film star who won an Oscar in 1953 for his role in ''Stalag 17'' and who represented the manly, straightforward, romantic figure during a career of more than 40 years, was found dead yesterday in his apartment in Santa Monica, Calif.

Mr. Holden, who was 63 years old, was found by an apartment manager. The police said he had apparently died of natural causes and had been dead for possibly two or three days. His permanent home was in Palm Springs but he maintained an apartment in Santa Monica.
His performance as Gloria Swanson's ill-fated lover in ''Sunset Boulevard'' in 1950 was perhaps his best known; it won him a second Oscar nomination. His role in ''Network '' in 1976 won him a third. His most recent movie was ''S.O.B.,'' a farce, in which Vincent Canby, reviewing the film in The New York Times, said he was ''especially fine.'' The movie was released last July.
Mr. Holden was for many years a sort of grownup boy-next-door type, but his acting developed a fine cynical edge in such films as ''The Bridge on the River Kwai'' and ''Sunset Boulevard'' as well as ''Stalag 17.'' 'I'm Not a Classic Actor'
''I'm a pretty fair interpreter of a certain kind of contemporary character,'' he said in an interview in The Times in 1976. ''I'm not a classic actor, dealing in tragedy. Most actors have a specific corridor, and within the limits of that corridor they travel the course of their career.
''For me, acting is not an all-consuming thing, except for the moment when I am actually doing it. There is a point beyond acting, a point where living becomes important. When you're making a movie, you get up in the morning and you put on a cloak; you create emotions within yourself, send gastric juices rushing up against the lining of your stomach. It has to be manufactured.''

Indeed, there was a seven-year period in the late 1950's and early 60's when Mr. Holden made no movies in Hollywood; he moved abroad to Switzerland, Hong Kong and Kenya. He became a conservationist and a founder of the Mount Kenya Safari Club. He invested in hotels in Africa, where he said he was happiest. However, he did return to Hollywood in 1965 to make ''Alvarez Kelly.''
The actor, whose original name was William Franklin Beedle Jr., was born April 17, 1918, in O'Fallon, Ill. His father was a chemist and his mother a teacher. The family moved to California when he was very young, and he attended public schools in Monrovia and Pasadena. At junior college he took a course in radio drama, and made his first stage appearance at the Playhouse Theater. A talent scout, impressed by his performance in the role of Madame Curie's grandfather, persuaded Paramount to give him a small part in ''Million Dollar Legs'' in 1939. It was then that he took the name William Holden, which he made his legal name in 1943.
It was also in 1939 that he had his first major role - and the title role - in ''Golden Boy,'' opposite Barbara Stanwyck. Mr. Holden's performance established him immediately as star. From then on, he made more than 50 movies; most but not all were successful, and he tried to set certain standards both for himself and for the movies in which he agreed to appear. He was handsome but not in a classic matinee-idol style; he was the decent average man, only a bit better than average. He became one of the most popular male movie stars ever, respected by the critics and by directors. The director Billy Wilder said that he was ''the best movie actor of his generation.''
His most notable movies included ''Our Town'' (1940); ''Apartment for Peggy'' (1948); ''Union Station'' (1950); ''Executive Suite'' (1954); ''Sabrina'' (1954); ''The Country Girl'' (1954); ''The Bridges at Toko-Ri'' (1955); ''Love is a Many-Splendored Thing'' (1955); ''Picnic'' (1956); ''The Key'' (1958) and ''The World of Suzie Wong (1960)...

Tuesday, May 5, 2015


URBAN LEGEND: Screen goddess Marilyn Monroe was born with six toes.

STATUS: 100% not true.

There have been countless rumors about Marilyn Monroe, both during her short time on this earth...36 years and in the fifty plus years since her untimely death. One of the most interesting and absurd rumors is she was born with a birth defect that caused her to have six toes on one foot!

For some people, there just had to be something wrong with the perfect Norma Jeane Baker. So when a snap taken during a shoot with photographer Joseph Jasgur on Zuma Beach in California emerged appearing to show Marilyn with an extra toe on her left foot, it was immediately seized upon.

Jasgur himself seized upon it to help the sales of his book, saying he could prove it with his pictures. Sadly, the widespread circulation of pictures of her with the more standard five seem to prove the point. The mystery sixth is believed by almost everyone as just a lump of sand and a trick of the light...

Sunday, May 3, 2015


It is hard to believe that Bing Crosby would be 112 today. It seems like he was in everyone's living room - whether on a new record or on television in a new special just recently. Happy birthday to Bing and to celebrate the birthday boy, here are some pictures of Der Bingle through the years...