For the longest time I have wondered what it was about Jack Holt's face that seemed so familiar. I was rather sure it wasn't another actor. I searched through images of family in my mind, but did not see any Jack Holt lookalikes. A former teacher, perhaps? No such luck. There was just something about that profile, besides being so distinctive. Something from my long ago past.
Voila!! Recently ran across an article that states the cartoonist Chester Gould patterned Dick Tracy's jut-jawed countenance and stoic demeanor on his favorite film star, Jack Holt! That's why he seemed so familiar, a pleasant remembrance from my childhood. One of my Sunday heroes!
These two photos were taken in the same photo session by Lazlo Willinger. Taken in late 1939, they were used to promote The Earl of Chicago, released on January 5, 1940. Bob is 35 at this time, beginning the transition from youthful beauty to middle-aged handsome.
It is always interesting to me how a photographer can change the look of a subject with lighting, positioning of the subject, or a little touching up of the final picture. In the above photo, Bob's face appears more angular. His eyebrows are slightly arched, causing his forehead lines to be more prominent. It is a stronger, more competent Bob. More the serious man he had become, much less the movie star.
In the photo below, Bob's face is softer. The eyebrows are lowered, the forehead lines are barely visible. There is the hint of a smile in his eyes, he is not as formidable. It is a friendlier Bob, still the movie star.
Or to put it all more succinctly, Bob was one handsome man.
Robert Young is second from the left in the above photo. In movies since 1931, he is the old pro with the casting credit of second lead. (Note how Bob is in a full slouch, trying to keep the top of his head in the frame.)
And the young man on the far left is Robert Taylor. He has only 9th billing, but just two movies later he is co-starring with Irene Dunne in Magnificent Obsession . As in Mr. Taylor had one meteoric rise to stardom.
Irene Dunne and Robert Taylor inMagnificent Obsession (1935)
Just love this photo. 1. The immaculately dressed and coiffed Ms. Dunne has just been hit by a speeding car. Only in Hollywood in the 30s. 2. That is one gorgeous automobile. Almost as gorgeous as Robert.
Trade cards are quite small, most seem to be 2-1/4" x 1-3/4", small enough to be included in a pack of cigarettes or perhaps a small chocolate bar. Would I buy chocolate to obtain a picture of Bob? Oh, yes. Would I continue buying the chocolate so I could collect more pictures of Bob? Yes, of course. That's what I would call the perfect sales pitch.
Some were extremely well made. I like that you can collect nifty Bob photos without having to pay a minor fortune for them.
I found this one just recently. It is a promotional shot of Bob for the movie Shipmates (1931). Had not seen the photo before and can only imagine how much the original would cost. I bought it from a vendor in Holland for just under $5, postage included. A whole lot of cuteness for such a small amount!
One of Bob's passions was dog breeding, an endeavor he practiced throughout his adult life. As with most (if not all) of his activities, he excelled at it, even serving as a judge in dog shows. He changed breeds over the years. The above picture (c. 1938) shows Bob with two of his favorite Dalmatians. The Springer Spaniel was another favorite breed. And in an interview given in May, 1980, 76-year-old Bob talked about living on a farm that produced "... hay, Labrador Retrievers and maple syrup."
Quite fittingly, 'Young Bob' had an energetic Wirehaired Fox Terrier named Laddie.
Now, if I just had a picture of 'Old Bob' walking his estate (or "farm" in Bob's view) with a favorite Lab ...