Tuesday, September 23, 2014

"Workin' 9 to 5" - They Wish

Making movies has always required long hours on the set.  In the 30s, before the concepts of time and a half and double time existed, working into the wee hours of the morne was not uncommon.  There would be lulls between actual filming, especially for the cast.  Stars sometimes had the option of retreating to their dressing rooms for a nap, or what have you.  :0) 

In the photo below, Bob is playing the vibraphone during a break on the set of Ever Since Eve (1937).  Marion Davies, his co-star, always had musicians on the set of her movies, a carry-over from her silent picture days when music was used to help set the mood for the performers.  Since Eve was Marion's last picture, I'll guess this may have been the last movie to have musicians on the set for the actors.  As for Bob at the vibraphone ... just another of his many talents. 


There were breaks for mealtimes, and to be sure you didn't waste time leaving the studio, the larger studios had commissaries open long hours to serve their employees with their somewhat erratic work hours.  Below, we find Bob at the MGM commissary during, once again, the filming of Ever Since Eve.  I'm guessing he's thinking when the photographer shows up: "Geesch, can't I ever get any peace around here!"


Even on your day off - note that's singular, no two-day weekends - you could be required to come to the studio, often for publicity purposes.  In 1929, a very young and dapper (always!) Bob appears for a photo shoot featuring Fifi D'Orsay, "The French Bombshell."  This is before Bob/MGM admitted there was a Mrs. Bob. 


I'm just glad they all "suffered" through it and made so many delightful movies for us to enjoy these 80 years later.  Their hard work, our enjoyment.  

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Guest Hunk #3



Wanna guess who his handsome guy is?  Clues:  In 1927 he was convicted of manslaughter for beating to death the husband of his lover, and spent 25 months in San Quentin.  He was a child actor and maintained a successful career in the theater and movies until his death in 1956.  Understandably, he played a lot of tough guys, cops in particular.  I somehow doubt his directors gave him much grief.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Bob Movies in Living Color

Colorizing lobby cards is an interesting concept.  Like, maybe the movie goer wouldn't later notice that the film they're watching is actually in black & white?  Whatever, the colorization was sometimes successful, and sometimes not.  In the scene below, at least the background has color.

                                  Live, Love and Learn (1937)

Now, why do I think David and Lynn Conway did not decorate their home in beige and brown?  Dig the floral armless couch and matching curtains ... 

                                The First 100 Years (1938)

In no way does color improve this scene with Tommy Duncan and his manservant Elmer.  (Elmer??)  Well, the image of Bob under a purple comforter has its pluses.  (Down, woman!)  Do note how the coffee table is decorated:  a cigarette lighter, a cigarette box and not one, but TWO ashtrays.  Ah, times do change.  

                                Unfinished Business (1941)

Bob's entire career was in B&W, even on TV.  I certainly don't mind B&W movies, but it would have been interesting for him to have made at least one color movie so we could check out his blue eyes.  Hideout in color, maybe?  Or Piccadilly Jim?  Never Night Must Fall!

Another abrupt change of thought:  a slightly belated Happy Birthday to humorist Robert Benchley!  Below, he appears to be having a liquid breakfast.  This probably did not require much acting.  But a very funny man, none the less.

                        Robert Benchley (b. September 15, 1889)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Bob's Favorite Tie, I'm Assuming

Bob was, of course, one of the best-dressed men of his day.  No buying off the racks at Macys for our Bob.  No, siree.  His choice in hats is sometimes questionable - he had this thing for straw bowlers - but everything else in his wardrobe was just, just so.  He even carries off wearing a tie adorned with movie reels, a tie which seems to be a favorite. 



The first sighting of the tie comes on September 7, 1937, when Bob wears it in the Los Angeles Labor Day parade.


It then appears in The First Hundred Years (1938).


Home and Garden Magazine does a feature on Bob and his new home for their November, 1938 issue.  Once again, the tie ...


The tie even travels to England, as seen in this photo of Bob and Betty departing from New York on June 26, 1939. 


A colorized still from The First Hundred Years shows the tie being green with yellow reels.  Could be.  Wonder if it was a gift. 

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Stunned, Shocked and Enthralled!

My vote for the herald that best catches the essence of the picture: