Thursday, January 29, 2015

Betty, Why Did You Let Him?

These photos are of the dining and living rooms of the Colonial cottage where Bob and Betty lived prior to the estate they built on Mono Vale Dr. in Beverly Hills. The home does not exactly scream movie star, does it.  Of course, it is 1932, at the height of the Great Depression when people were often losing their homes rather than buying a new one. 

Wall murals and a silver goblet collection ... the decorator's touch, perhaps?  I have a difficult time imagining a young theater couple amassing silver goblets.  You will note the dining room is across from the living room, the living room's bannister can be seen through the entrance way. 

The article that contained the above photos, also provides a very interesting description of the home's bedrooms.

Bob has his own bedroom with twin beds??  TWO beds?  What's up there...who would have used the second bed?  

By the way, does anyone know the street name for this home?  I know the street no. is 1718, but have not run across the street's name.  Just one of the many things I do not know about Bob.  Would be nice to cross off at least one item! 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Warm Thoughts for a Cold Winter Day

                   William Holden and Kim Novak in Picnic (1955)

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Leo the Lion in der Vaterland

Stars having an affair during filming was certainly not unusual.  I am sure it helped during the love scenes.  Barbara Stanwyck and Robert Taylor certainly do not appear to be acting. What was more unusual is the affair lasting beyond the production schedule.  Babs and Bob definitely belong in the latter group.  A handsome, happy couple indeed. 

    Barbara Stanwyck and Robert Taylor in His Brother's Wife (1936)

The photo is actually a lobby card made for distribution in Germany circa 1939.  Besides the MGM stamp, the Germans added their approval stamp.  American movies were still being shown in Germany, but they were censored before release ... no Hitler jokes, thank you.  It is difficult to see the stamp.  I have blown up Bob's sleeve ... the eagle and swastika are fairly clear.  A photo of the stamp imprint on the back is even clearer. 

Seems rather distasteful to see the German swastika and the MGM logo together.  Of course we were not at war in 1939, the motion picture studios as well as many other companies conducted business in Germany as usual.  But still ... I can't imagine Taylor was very pleased to see the swastika stamped on his sleeve. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Oh, Please, Don't Hit Me!

      Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1940) Bob and Director Alexander Hall

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Stars and Starlets, Both Had Their Roles to Play

Just love the promotional stills when the studio was doing Bob's he's-now-a-star campaign.  It was in full force with the making of Shipmates (1931) and still going during the making of The Man in Possession (1931), as displayed in the photo below.  (This gorgeous double-weight print came from the estate of director Sam Woods, shown on the far right.)  The MGM starlets were kept busy supporting Bob in his campaign, and evidently much appreciated by the newly-minted "Star." 

 Joan Marsh, Lillian Bond, Bob, Dorothy Lee, Unknown, Karen Morley   and Sam Woods on the set of  The Man in Possession.

Most of the female contract players' careers did not last any longer than their short term contracts.  Having a successful career in the movies was indeed the exception for these young girls.  Joan Marsh had a chance at grabbing the gold ring.  In 1931 she signed a contract at MGM when she was 18, or 17, depending on the source.  She is placed on the cover of Movie Classic Magazine, and compared to Garbo. 

The studio tries out various "looks" ... Jean Harlow, anyone?!

Of course, there's the swimsuit shot, displaying the starlet's better attributes ...

And the I'll-do-anything-you-tell-me-to-do stills...

Joan had bit parts in a half-dozen films at MGM.  Her first movie was Inspiration (1930), and will also appear with Bob in Shipmates.  Below she is shown dancing with Bob accompanying her on the piano during a break in the filming. 

When her contract ends at MGM, Joan continues to work at various studios, never past the bit part at the major studios, the leading lady in a few Poverty Row films.  She does show up in a Bob movie one more time.  In Fast and Loose (1939) she has a good-sized supporting role as the bad girl who gets our hero Joel Sloane in trouble with all-knowing spouse Garda - Roz Russell, of course.  I wonder if Bob had anything to do with her getting the part. 

        Sidney Blackmer, Bob and Joan Marsh in Fast and Loose.

Joan makes her last movie in 1944, retiring at the advanced age of 31.  She married her second husband in 1943, a marriage that produces two children and lasts until his death in 1994.  Joan lives on until 2000, age 86.  I'd say she was one of the lucky starlets.