Books on the golden age of movies, for the most part, should be categorized as fiction. It is quite understandable considering that studio publicity departments and the fan magazines existed to create a fantasy world where the men were all gallant and trustworthy and the women chaste and happy homemakers at heart. Stars were valuable commodities for the studios, their images carefully crafted and highly protected.
There are times when I wish that was still the case. We know way too much about today's stars. Actors are simply different than the rest of us, it's part of what makes them good at what they do. It does not, however, necessarily make them interesting or likeable. Oh, where was Eddie Mannix when Jane Fonda went to North Vietnam and palled around with the enemy?! That should never have been made public ... my dislike of Fonda has made it so very difficult to enjoy the good movies in which she has appeared.
Anyway, getting way off the track here .... writing Tuesday's entry, I was reminded of the numerous versions of why Bob did not appear in Mutiny on the Bounty. You would think there would be a straightforward explanation available for something so basic. Nah. Let's see, there's the somewhat common story of Bob getting sick and having to drop out of the project. And there's the one I accepted for a while as the most plausible, wherein Bob decides he wants out of the movie because his role would be too secondary to Gable's. Made sense.
A third version is from a 1953 interview with Bob, mentioned in Mark Viera's biography of Irving Thalberg. According to Bob, he had requested a vacation between No More Ladies and Mutiny and refused to work. Thalberg denied him the vacation and used the work refusal as an excuse to replace Bob in the movie with Franchot Tone. Now that makes more sense. As it turned out, Bob would be away from the studio from May, 1935 to January 20, 1936 when filming of Petticoat Fever began. Now that's a good vacation.
Jan. 31 - Having drinks with Phyllis & Fred Astaire at the Trocadero
Feb. 10 - Playing the ponies with Constance Bennett & Ria Gable (Clark's #2) at Santa Anita.
Feb. 15 - Out on the town with Tullio Carminatti & Chester Morris
Feb. 20 - Playing the ponies with Fred Astaire at the Riviera Country Club
P.S. Re the 2nd photo ... this marks the first time I have used a photo with a vendor stamp. That's rather tacky of me, I know, but it fits in this blog entry so well. It was up for sale some while back. I lost the bid, darn it. It's the way Bob is looking at Ria ...
Audrey Totter specialized in tough-talking dames in the late 1940s. She was quite good at it and paired off very well with a number of, errrr...., mature leading actors. In 1947-49, she made three movies in a row with favorite actors of this blog. She was in The Saxon Charm (1948) with our Bob. I have used the photo of the two before ... it's worth a repeat. They make a handsome couple.
In 1949, she co-starred with Ray Milland in Alias Nick Beal.
Now, to complete the cycle, I recently ran across this photo for High Wall (1947) in which psychiatrist Audrey tries to prove a brain-damaged Robert Taylor did not murder his wife. I am guessing she was successful.
Actually, if you skip one of her movies, you will find she appeared with Clark Gable in Any Number Can Play (1949). That's one impressive foursome. Ahh, another photo to find ...