Man in Possession (1931) is a fun movie. The cast is excellent: Bob, Charlotte Greenwood, Irene Purcell, C. Aubrey Smith, Beryl Mercer, Reginald Owen and Alan Mowbray. A whole lot of talent and experience on one set. In the two scenes above, Bob holds his own while having to rely on his facial expression alone. C. Aubrey and Reggie have fun with being aghast at Bob's goings on. And in the bottom photo, Beryl and Irene smartly ignore the boys totally.
A bit of trivia: C. Aubrey Smith will also play Bob's father in But the Flesh is Weak. Beryl Mercer appeared in four movies with Bob: Three Live Ghosts, Man in Possession, Lovers Courageous and Night Must Fall. And Reginald Owen ties Joan Crawford for being in six Bob movies: Man in Possession, Petticoat Fever, Trouble for Two, Three Loves Has Nancy, Fast and Loose and The Earl of Chicago.
And what does a 31-year-old Bob Montgomery buy for himself on his birthday....why a miniature airplane, of course?! Hey, he could have afforded a real one, so give him points for trying not to over do it in the middle of the Depression. He had it handmade by fellow actor Reginald Denny, who built it according to Bob's specifications ... another area of expertise for our Bob, Hollywood's Renaissance man.
1935 ... 80 years ago. But he feels so real to me. That's one of the great things about movies. The screen actors live forever, always accessible on our DVDs, on our computers (and yes, a few of us still have them captured on VHS!) Bob will always be there to be appreciated as an old friend, or discovered anew by future fans. It is all rather comforting.
As is the appropriate way of celebrating his birthday, I will be watching a couple of his movies during the day. I certainly hope that you will be able to, as well. Have not yet decided which ones. I find it better to go with the mood I am in at the time. And whatever mood that is, it will be improved after I have spent time with the man.
So, Happy Birthday, Mr. Montgomery. Thank you, ever so much.
(And to get you in the proper mood for remembering Bob on his day, give "The Optimist" another viewing.)
On the theory that it is impossible to see too much Montgomery, I've decided to list some more video clips for your viewing pleasure. They are all available on YouTube, hopefully there is something that you haven't seen. Even if you have, they're all enjoyable a second, third time or more.
Recently, fellow Montgomery fan Masha, sent me two links to interesting Bob stuff. (I know, saying both interesting and Bob is redundant!) Masha wanted to "share" them with me. Great stuff, and now I'm passing them on to you. Hope you enjoy them as much as I did. And thanks again, Masha.
Academy Awards: 1949 Oscars Bob was the emcee for the awards ceremony. The link has several segments, covering the entire show. You can skip to the 3:30 timeline of the first segment when he is introduced. (Jean Herscholt may have been a good actor, but he gives one boring speech.) I was overwhelmed by how handsome and elegant our 45-year-old Bob is at this time. You'll note he carries a handkerchief the entire time. Not sure if he was simply that hot or experiencing a bit of nervousness in front of a live audience! Bob makes all of the introductions, there are a few attempts at humor. And everyone reads from notes, a time before teleprompters! Oh, yes, the medals on Bob's tux...so very Montgomery.
Washington Hearing on Reds in Hollywood 1947 I am sure we have all seen some of this footage before. This video has the audio of Bob's statement, not just the video. And at the very beginning when they show Bob in the crowd with George Murphy and Ron Reagan, you'll catch Bob laugh (or giggle more like it) and do his famous shoulder shrug. It is right at the 0:17 count. Don't blink! Wish there was audio for that segment.
1960 Republican Convention This is a video I ran across a while back. There are two Bob sightings in this video for a total of maybe six seconds. Not much Bob, true, but it is Bob as a Presidential aide, not "just" a show biz personality. A rare sighting. Bob is part of President Eisenhower's entourage when he comes on the stage of the convention to give a speech. At the 3:07 count, you will catch Bob on the far right of the screen as Ike and his party arrive. Lasts just a few seconds. He's wearing a dark suit, wearing his black glasses. And at 3:22, you will see him sit down a couple of chairs from Ike on the right side of the screen. He immediately turns to talk to someone standing behind him. Like I have said before...don't blink!
"Optimist" And since it's almost Bob's birthday, and we can't have too much Bob....this is a great Bob tribute. Jackie, the person who made the film, does a wonderful job of catching the spirit of Bob on film. It almost makes be cry...
Constance Cummings was Bob's leading lady in The Haunted Honeymoon (1940). Born in Seattle May 15, 1910, Constance began her Broadway career as a chorus girl and went on to become a Commander of the British Empire in 1974 and a Tony winner in 1979, and continued to act on the stage into the mid-1990s. Please checkout her extensive and interesting obituary on Alt Film Guide.
Maureen O'Sullivan was born May 17, 1911, in Ireland and died in Scottsdale, AZ at the age of 87, a mother of six (her first child Michael died in 1958), grandmother to 32 and great grandmother to 14. In between, she managed to become a successful actress and made one movie with Bob, Hide-Out in 1934. Wish they had made more, they were so good together. Check out her website for many photos of the beautiful actress and her family. The site has a wonderful photo of Maureen and Bob on the set of Hide-Out. It's almost as good as this one:
Bob's birthday is next week. He'll get his own post...duh.
Wow, the caterers went all out for Bob's dining experience. Looks like discarded lumber from a set. (You can imagine how present day stars would react to such treatment.) Difficult to imagine Bob eating alone with no one to talk to. Gee, I would have joined him!