Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Masterpiece Editions

I'f you've bought photos from Jay Parinno before, you've probably seen this. They have another web site called I guess I had ignored the flyer in the past because I checked it out this time and voila, Bob pics. Do a search & you'll find five photos:
  • Labeled as They Were Expendable - I'm lost on this one, it's Bob with a kid. She looks familiar...
  • Two from Vanessa, Her Love Story (ugh)
  • June Bride
  • Lady in the Lake (mirror scene)
Reprints aren't cheap. They range from $20 to $50.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Weekend Brain Dump's photo gallery is back up. There's close to 60 high res Bob photos up there now. Right click, "Save Image As..."

TCM had a ton of war movies playing this weekend in remembrance of Memorial Day. I'm in the midst of watching Clark Gable & Walter Pidgeon duke it out as Army Air Force generals in Command Decision. About half way through. There's a ton of dialogue that sucks you into the story.

Went to a massive flea market on Sunday. Person I was with stopped at a booth to look at used DVDs. "What are you looking for?" I asked. "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" he answered. To which of course I replied, "careful, I don't think you want the 1941 version." "Yeah, I know - I found that out at the library."

I finally finished burning five Bob movies to DVD from TCM's mini-marathon last week. I think I started watching all of them at one time. I did finish The Mystery of Mr. X. That one's going on ye olde "Favorite Robert Montgomery Movies" list. I'll post more on the films in the coming week or two.

A friend of mine clued me in on a web site that touts "all you can upload" for hosting your photos for blogs, journals, etc. Check it out at:

Friday, May 26, 2006

Photo Friday

First off, have a safe (and sunny) Memorial Day weekend. Don't forget the true meaning of the day.

Anyhow, today brings another Hurrell photo (large here).

Not to be confused with this one, from the same shoot (available on in high res).

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Mr. Ford, Mr. Wayne, Mr. Montgomery

File this in the "did you know" folder. The New York Times web site has movie reviews from way back when. Just ran into their review for They Were Expendable, December 21, 1945. An interesting read:

"Each plays his part well. Robert Montgomery and John Wayne, however, are the most frequently and forcibly worked."

Check it out by clicking here.

While you're at it, check out the quick blurb for TWE on The Donna Reed Foundation for the Performing Arts web site.

And...there's a critique of TWE, by David M. Cross, over here.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Free Old Radio Shows

Ran into this web site the other day - M Radio. It's a podcast of old time radio shows, but you can download however you like as MP3 files (no subscription needed). I found it interesting that they had The Lux Radio Show presentation of Here Comes's Mr. Jordan, so I started listening to it. "...Starring Cary Grant..." I just can't see him playing the role of Joe..ok, sorry, hear him playing the role.

Anyhow, plenty of old radio variety - check it out: Mr. Jordan | other shows

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Don't You Dare Forget

TCM celebrates Bob's birthday (a little late) on May 24 - tomorrow - with a bunch of back-to-back movies.
  • June Bride
  • Shipmates
  • Made On Broadway
  • When Ladies Meet
  • Riptide
  • Mystery Of Mr. X, The
  • Hide-Out
  • Fugitive Lovers
  • Biography Of A Bachelor Girl
Get recording!

Monday, May 22, 2006

This is Not the Court of Queen Elizabeth

TCM has some interesting tidbits about the rivalry between Bob and Bette Davis during the filming of June Bride. My fav:

"Montgomery also had more experience with comedy than Davis did and never let her forget it with comments like, "Bette, my dear, this is not the court of Queen Elizabeth and certainly not the castle of Lady Macbeth.""

I actually watched TCM's documentary on Bette - Stardust, The Bette Davis Story. I stand firm - I still don't care for her. My vote stands with Joan Crawford.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Happy Birthday, Robert!

Make sure you do your part to celebrate by mixing a Martini (or Cosmo in my case) and putting on your fav Bob movie.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Lt. Robert Taylor, USNR

I'm going to pick on Robert Taylor, sorry, Lieutenant (jg) Spangler Brugh, since I had a post on him last week. Yep, this Nebraskan wasn't born with the smooth, Hollywood-type name. In February 1943, RT joined the Naval Reserve and was assigned to the Navy's Aviation Volunteer Transport Division (he had a civilian pilot's license). He became a Naval Aviator on 11 January 1944 after graduating from pilot instructor training.

RT was considered *too old* at 32 to go into combat, so they kept him busy doing training films. In 1944, he was sent to NAS Glenview, Illinois, as aircraft operations officer. I only mention this cause Glenview is not far from here. The one time Navy base is now a high-end mall with Starbucks, Beemers & the like (ugh).

This is good. during a refresher training flight, RT did a slow roll - and lost his $300 gold Zippo lighter into the Mississippi River, from his wife, Barbara Stanwyck. Oops.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

From Drones to the Bronze Star

Bob was promoted to Lieutenant Commander in early March 1943 while still in the South pacific, after which he was flown back to the States to recuperate from the jungle fever he had contracted, leaving him more than twenty pounds lighter.

Lieutenant Commander Montgomery contributed to the ongoing development of dronettes for Navy use. Dronettes had been developed by another actor, Reginald Denny, whose hobby had been radio-controlled model planes.

In February 1944, now 41 and known in the Navy as an outstanding officer, storyteller, and mimic, Bob joined the staff of Commander Destroyer Squadron 6 on the USS Barton. The Barton was one of the hundreds of Allied vessels that were preparing for Operation Overlord, the Normandy invasion. Bob was awarded the Bronze Star for "his cool and courageous performance of duty in the face of frequent devastating enemy aerial attacks throughout the entire assault period."

Yeah, I could literally write out the entire chapter on Bob, but I'll leave it here. As you can see, he did more than his part to serve the country in WWII.

Above from Stars in Blue: Movie Actors in America's Sea Service by Wise & Rehill

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Into the Pacific

Having requested sea duty, Bob was ordered to the Melville, Rhode Island, Torpedo Boat School. Before heading out from Washington, he broadcast the radio program This is War, which would be the first in a series designed to heighten Americans' awareness of the war.

After qualifying in all phases of PT boat operation, he was ordered to Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron 5, which operated in the Panama Canal Zone. There he served as executive officer and division commander of the squadron, and as commanding officer of PT-107. If you remember your history books, kids, JFK was on PT-109.

Following his PT boat tour, in November 1942 Bob was ordered to the 10,000-ton light cruiser USS Columbia, which had joined the Pacific Fleet in the Solomons.

Bob became assistant operations officer and intel officer on the staff of Commander Destroyer Squadron 5, and for his exemplary service he received a Letter of Commendation, with authorization to wear the Commendation Ribbon.

Above from Stars in Blue: Movie Actors in America's Sea Service by Wise & Rehill.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Brig. Gen. James M. Stewart

I love Jimmy Stewart. A great actor and a down to earth person. Did you also know that he flew combat bomber missions in WWII? Instead of giving the lowdown here, I thought I'd offer some sites that offer much more info than I can provide:

Monday, May 15, 2006

More Tales From the War

More tidbits from Stars in Blue: Movie Actors in America's Sea Service

In 1940 his reported income was over two hundred thousand dollars. That same year, Bob volunteered for duty in the American Field Service, becoming one of the first Hollywood stars of World War II era to enlist in the armed forces. He drove an ambulance in France until the Americans were forced out after Dunkirk fell. The actor escaped the onrushing German jugernaut through Spain and Portugal, but his withdrawal was temporarily delayed by a side trip to fly to the rescue of fellow thespian Madeleine Carroll, trapped on the Riviera.

In early 1941, Bob applied for US Naval service. While he waited for the response he made several movies in quick succession, no doubt anticipating the lost income that acceptance into the military would mean. He and his wife also scaled down their lifestyle, dismissing servants and selling their estate and fancy cars. Lt. (jg) Henry Robert Montgomery was commissioned in the U.S. Naval Reserve on 28 April 1941. After a one-month assignment with the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations in Washington, he reported as assistant naval attache at the U.S. Embassy in London. His duties as an intelligence officer there included running the Naval Operations Room, which tracked the location of all British ships.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Armed Forces Week

Today (May 14) kicks off the traditional Armed Forces Week, saluting those who have served in all branches of the military. As my small *salute* to the military, I thought I'd give it a Hollywood slant.

Picked up an interesting book recently titled Stars in Blue: Movie Actors in America's Sea Service by Wise & Rehill. It's a very interesting read, packed with short stories on stars that have served in the Navy. Great for us with short attention spans. Apparently there's a whole series of these books for each branch of the military.

So, each day this week I'm going to pick out a blurb on Captain Henry Montgomery Jr. (rank he retired at) and various other actors. This should be interesting!

Kicking things off is a photo of Lieutenant Commander Montgomery. It's a bit hard to distinguish real photos of Bob in the Navy from those from They Were Expendable, but if you can peg the rank down, you can kind of get it (he was a Lieutenant in TWE). There's going to be a period where rank & movie match. Put it this way, if the photo looks overly dramatic, it's for the movie.

Bob became LCDR in March 1943 while in the Pacific.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Antique Hunting

This is the *official* photo I will now place on any post when I discuss my shopping at antique malls ;0)

I shoulda bought the darn photo.

The Killer in You

Put Once More, My Darling into the machine the other day. I really didn't know what to expect - never saw it before. Figured I was in for another version of The Bachelor & the Bobby-Soxer. Nope, I had a good laugh instead.

Now I'll admit, the story creeped me out a bit at first - the 19 year old & the older guy bit. I got over it.

How can I explain this...the movie has all the goods Bob could put out: the years of experience, the comedic timing, directing. Voila - an entertaining & well done film.

Some of my fav parts of the film:
  • The studio scene & the whole Scottish getup
  • Anytime you hear Ann Blyth being called 'Killer'
  • The limo driver - Charles McGraw
  • The Captain getting hauled back into the Army - with mom along side
  • Pajamas at the night club
  • Old Las Vegas
Someone should make up some 'Killer' t-shirts & sell them...

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Off Topic

A friend emailed me a streaming music site yesterday - Pretty neat so far. You tell it what you like and it learns your music interests. For example, I've got my radio station, "Artie Shaw Radio" going on right now. Still cleaning out the oddball lounge music that appears...

TV - Old School Style

Picked this off ebay. The other fellow in the photo was a director - the seller's father.

Larger version here.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Interesting Fella - Robert Benchley

Ok, so I have this photo of Bob and this other guy - drinking. The guy looks familiar. Someone points out to me who this guy is and it all starts clicking together. It'’s Robert Benchley. Literally the next day, I'm watching one of The Thin Man DVDs and one of the extras is the featurette Why Daddy, with guess who.

I really don'’t know much about Robert, so I started looking around. Instead of giving you some drawn out bio, here'’s some of the more interesting points I found, compliments of Wikipedia:
  • He was an early and regular contributor to the New Yorker Magazine, Life magazine and a humor columnist for the Hearst Corporation Newspapers.
  • The Robert Benchley Society gives an annual humor award in Benchley's honor.
  • He's in Hitchcock's Foreign Correspondent (aha, another familiar face)
  • One of Benchley's specialties in film was the "embarrassing speech" -- nervous, stammering, clearing his throat, making no sense whatsoever.
  • He is the father of author Nathaniel Benchley author of The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming, and grandfather of Jaws writer Peter Benchley.
  • Spotted these on IMDB - The Sex Life of a Polyp and The Romance of Digestion
You can also check Robert out in his roles with Bob in Live, Love & Learn and Picadilly Jim (which is on my *to see* list).

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The Blog of Forgotten Roberts

I think I've found another forgotten actor - Robert Taylor. There is absolutely squat on him on the Internet (I'm watching Johnny Eager). I figured there's be sites all over the place. Shows me, eh!

Maybe I'll start calling this the "Blog of Forgotten Roberts." Anyhow, a nice Hurrell, compliments of Dr. Macro's site.

Letty Lynton

Banned in England on grounds that it "justified homicide without penalty."*

But that's what makes this movie so good!

Restraining order! That's what I kept screaming to myself in the back of my mind as I watched Letty Lynton. That slimy "Latin Lover" Emile got what was coming to him.

Anyhow, a great movie that I'd recommend to all y'all. I was just reading that this movie is stuck in copyright limbo-land, that it copied too closely the play Dishonored Lady (read more here). It's 2006 - get over it. Who's still alive from that lawsuit?

Bob does the typical playboy role in LL, but I'm not complaining.

* Tidbit from

Monday, May 08, 2006

The Sins of the Children

The Sins of the Children, one of Bob'’s early films from 1930, was just released on DVD by the Roan Group. Of course, I had to pick me up a copy from Amazon.

The quality of the movie is pretty good. The sound is hard to understand at times, just because it'’s an early sound film and the main character has a thick German accent. I caught myself *squinting* to hear some of the dialogue in the movie - that makes no sense at all!

The DVD itself starts with a mini-overview of the actors in the film. At first I thought I bought an analysis to a movie without a movie. This overview is done by Lou Lumenick (never heard of him) from the New York Post. Looks like someone got their home movie camera out for that piece.

I had a hard time getting into Sins at first, but it became more like a soap opera as the story developed and I got sucked in. The father of four does whatever is needed to make sure his children have the best and live healthy lives. He and his wife as parents give up much, including an opportunity to get rich. Well, as time goes on, the children make mistakes, big ones, and dad is always there to bail them out. The end of the movie reminds me a lot of It'’s a Wonderful Life.

Bob actually has a smaller role in this film as the love interest of the father'’s daughter. I think the most likeable character in the whole story is played by Elliott Nugent, the inventor in the family.

Double Indemnity

Attention classic DVD fans. In another attempt to part money from your wallets, Double Indemnity is being re-released August 29 as a "special edition" as part of the Universal Legacy Series. As someone who doesn't own the first DVD, I haven't lost anything. However, if you own it already, and like getting the super-duper feature packed DVDs, here's your chance to fork out more cash.

Here's the extras:
  • Shadows of Suspense
  • Audio Commentary from Film Historian Richard Schickel
  • Audio Commentary with Film Historian / Screenwriter Lem Dobbs and Film Historian Nick Redman
  • Double Indemnity TV Movie (1973, 75 mins.) - Ugh, I can probably live without
Amazon has a pre-order price of $18.99 (retail $26.98). From what I've read of the reviews on the past DVD issue, hopefully the picture quality will be better.

While I'm on the topic, I recommend another Fred drama for your viewing pleasure, Above Suspicion (which I don't believe is on DVD yet). It's on TCM here & there - check it out.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Simply Wow

Some of you are going to know about this site already, so just skip over this post. For you others (I know you’re out there) this one is for you.

Go visit, click on the “Gallery” link and sign up – it’s free and easy. There are a ton of beautiful, high-res images for your downloading pleasure. I mean some of this stuff is just outstanding. There is one album of Bob stuff that is beyond slick. Great scans of stuff I’ve never seen before. Check it out.

I’d also recommend the albums for John Wayne, Clark Gable, Jimmy Stewart, Jimmy Cagney, Veronica Lake, Joan Crawford, and Hitchcock.

I’m not sure where the site owner got this stuff but shew, good job!

Friday, May 05, 2006

Photo Friday

I've seen this one float around before, but not with the signature. If you want to buy it, it's for sale on an autograph web site, for a couple thousand. I like how it's signed "Bob" - never seen that before.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

From Green Corn to Guns

I'm a John Dall fan. "John who"?

Well, chances are you've seen him. He tried to tame Annie Laurie Star in Gun Crazy. Gave an Oscar nominated performance in The Corn Is Green. Helped commit murder in Rope. Was a Roman army commander in Spartacus.

No one else seems to remember him, so I will.

There's hardly any info out there on him except for the usual IMDB bio. His movies on DVD are harder than hens teeth to find - that and he really didn't make many films.

I picked up the Deana Durbin DVD Sweatheart pack to get Something in the Wind. Naw, I really don't care for the singing numbers. I think now thinks I like musicals. Set also includes Ray Milland & Robert Cummings, so it isn't a total waste.

Just my two cents for another forgotten actor.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Joan Crawford Showdown

If you were stuck on a desert island and had a choice between Susan and God and Dancing Lady, which would you want? Well, I'd like a third choice, but after watching both in the past week, I'd have to vote for Dancing Lady.

First off, Susan and God has to be one of the most annoying Joan movies I've seen. The only saving grace for the entire movie was Fredric March, who at one point threatons Joan's character with a chair. He should have hurled it. I had an hour invested into the movie so I kept watching it. I'm not going to waste my time here writing about it. Moving on...

Now Dancing Lady, that's a whole other story. I'd describe this movie as prime MGM. Franchot Tone is in it, plus Clark Gable, The Three Stooges (to my surprise), Robert Benchley, and Fred Astaire for a number or two. I'm not a big musical person, but the way they stage these scenes, it draws you in. There's one muscal scene where people from the 1800s walk from their time into the 1930's, changing their costumes and vehicles just by passing a wall. I know I can't describe it correctly here, but it's nice camera work. There's a scene where Joan & Fred Astaire are dressed in German outfits, you know, the lederhosen and blond pigtails. Wish I had a photo of that scene. Oh, another scene, where the women are singing about beer & pretzels. The camera goes from woman to woman where they look into the camera and sing/talk a line. They just sound so blah it's funny.

There's one scene where Franchot takes Joan to meet his family. He's wearing a white suit, white shirt, white tie & white shoes. For some reason I started thinking he was an elegant version of Boss Hog. Wow, Franchot has his own web site -

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Nobody Pushes Bob Around

I ran into the web site for the Screen Actors Guild the other day & low and behold, a page for Bob. Not a whole lot of background, but I loved this blurb:

"A leading star at MGM -- signed in 1929 when he was 25 -- tall, debonair, recognized as one of the best-dressed men in Hollywood, "Bob" wielded considerable clout, and did not hesitate to use it. As Colliers magazine once put it: "Nobody Pushes Bob Around."

Go check out the site. I wish they had larger versions of the photos they have on the page.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Hello, Mr. Jordan, Mr. Farnsworth, Mr. Murdoch...

Finally watched Here Comes Mr. Jordan for the first time. I ended up watching it off my PC since the DVD had a non-US region code on it - I'll crack it one of these days. As mentioned before, the DVD was a bootleg off of VHS. I really can't complain - the quality was good & there were no commercials.

I guess my first impression of the movie was how different it is from typical 1940s flicks. It has a different spirit about it (literally). Can't put my finger on it. Maybe it's the storyline, or the actors....I'll figure it out. Anyhow, I can see how it was nominated (and won) the Oscars it did.

James Gleason was a joy to watch - almost better than Edward Everett Horton, who had a smaller part than I would have thought. Makes me want to go watch Arsenic & Old Lace again...

I loved the movie. I hate to admit it, but I felt a little teary-eyed at the end. What's the word I want to use...heartwarming?

And no, I have no interest in watching the remakes of this story!