Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A Man and His Car

Bob was a car enthusiast.  I'm sure you have seen the photos of Bob and his latest prize.  There was the 1931 Cadillac...

Then there was the 1933 Cadillac ...

The 1933 Cadillac was a 452C V16 Convertible Victoria, one of two made with its particular features.  It cost $7,500 new (a LOT of money in the midst of the Depression!) and sold for $412,000 when up for auction in 2009.  Check out all the dials on the dashboard, not your basic Model A for sure. 

In 1935 he buys a Bentley while in England and uses it on a driving tour of Europe with Betty.  Now that's the way to travel.  He has it shipped home and is seen below with Bob arriving at the studio. 

And lastly, an auto I ran across recently, but no Bob with car photo as yet, a 1939 Lagonda V-12 Rapide Sports Roadster, with engineering by W. O. Bentley, originator of Bentley Motors. Bob test drove it at the Brooklands race track in England before having it delivered to Beverly Hills.  This Lagonda was the very last one bodied by the firm before WWII.  It cost Bob $8,900.

It sold at auction in Feb., 2012, for $900,000.  Bob had great taste.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Hey, Hon. Look at the girl on the Left, isn't that...

As any movie fan can appreciate, it is always great fun to spot a future star in a movie or photo wherein they are merely an unlisted extra or bit player.  I ran across the picture below on the web, and once my eyes finally left the image of a very young Bob, I noticed the girl next to him and realized it was a very, very young Ann Dvorak.  She had just turned 17.

                                   So This Is College (1929)

Later, I identified her as one of the models in a still from Our Blushing Brides (1930)  She is second from the left, had to check the cast credits to make sure.  She also appears in Bob's Free and Easy (1930) in an uncredited role as a chorine.  Have not found a still of her in that, as yet. 

Ann gets her big break in Scarface (1932), becomes embroiled with her bosses at Warner Bros. over salary and the quality of the movies they put her in, and moves to England with her British husband to assist in the war effort (that's WWII, folks) by driving an ambulance.  An interesting lady for sure. 

And, if you have not already done so, do check out  It is a great blog with daily posts on Ann and the author's (Christina Rice) lengthy journey of researching, writing and successfully getting her book on Ann published.  The book is "Ann Dvorak: Hollywood's Forgotten Rebel," a great tribute by a fan to help keep her star's memory alive.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

What a Handsome Couple

It's been a few weeks since I included any Bob pictures in my entries.  That's too long.  So, ta-da, two of my favorites to share with you.  The second photo is probably quite familiar to you, but I just love the serious face of the young Mr. Montgomery.  Maybe it was the uniform.  

                    Bob and Madge Evans in Fugitive Lovers (1934)

                           Bob and Madge Evans in Hell Below (1933)

Thursday, November 14, 2013

In Appreciation, Mr. Powell

I have been a Dick Powell fan for more years than I would like to admit.  He was the No. 1 Star of Four Star Productions, a very successful TV company that produced a multitude of hit shows in the 50s and on into the 60s.  Charles Boyer and David Niven were two of the other stars, but it was workaholic Powell who was the driving force behind the company's success.  I grew up watching many of his shows including "Richard Diamond, Private Detective" with David Janssen;  "The Rifleman" with Chuck Connors; "The Detectives" starring Robert Taylor; and, "Wanted:  Dead or Alive" which propelled Steve McQueen into stardom. 

Late at night, I would watch the young Powell as the lead juvenile in a whole series of Warner Bros. musicals.  The cute baby-faced singer with a delightfully strong tenor voice was featured in such hits as "The Gold Diggers of 1933" and "42nd Street."  

                      Dick Powell, Nov. 14, 1904 - Jan. 2, 1963

An older Powell excelled as a tough guy in film-noir classics such as "Murder, My Sweet" and "Johnny O'Clock," co-starring Evelyn Keyes.

There are similarities in Dick's and Bob's careers.  From early on, both were typecast by their studios and not allowed to expand into other types of roles.  Bob tried to escape the typecasting, but "Night Must Fall" did not change the way the studio handled him.  Dick had to quit Warner Bros. in order to get a role against type in "Murder, My Sweet."   Bob and Dick both turned to producing movies in the mid to late 1940s, and then went into TV production, Bob in 1950 and Dick in 1952.  Also, they were born in the same year (1904), married very petite ladies and, sadly, they both die of cancer.  Dick was only 58.  It would have been interesting to see what affect Powell would have had on television given a few more years. 

Thank you, Mr. Powell, for many, many hours of enjoyment. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Another Broadway Actor Defects to Hollywood

Bob was not a "Star" on Broadway, just "a comparative newcomer among Broadway juveniles."  His last appearance was in the comedy Possession (1928), which ran from October 2nd to November 1st, 1928.  The play was not a big success, but it did provide him a chance at stardom in the movies.  By January of 1929, he and Betty are on a train to Hollywood with contract in hand.

1928 was a good year for Bob.  The 24-year-old appears on Broadway, marries Betty and then signs on to a career in movies.  Not bad. 

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

A Centennial Remembrance of a Fine Actor

I first saw Gig Young in Teachers Pet (1958).  He was playing his signature 2nd lead man role to lead man Clark Gable.  It was Gable who led me to see the was Gig that warmed my heart.  Handsome, debonair and projecting an aura of immense likeability ... what was there not to like.  I also enjoyed him in The Desk Set (1957)  and That Touch of Mink (1962), his character losing out to Spencer Tracy and Cary Grant, respectively.  On television he was a co-star on The Rogues (1964-65),  playing - no surprise here - Tony Fleming, a handsome, debonair and lighthearted rogue.

                Byron Ellsworth Barr, Nov. 4, 1913 to Oct. 19, 1978

Gig's downfall was alcoholism, slowly destroying his career, his marriages and his life.  Broadway performer Elaine Stritch, also an alcoholic, describes their destructive relationship in her one-woman show, Elaine Stritch at Liberty (2002).  (The DVD is available to rent on Netflix.  Do try it out, Stritch is a wonderful entertainer.)

It was after their breakup that Gig becomes involved with Elizabeth Montgomery.  [Plot alert, more sadness and heartbreak ahead!]  Dad Bob, not surprisingly, was strongly opposed to his 23-year-old daughter marrying a 43-year-old alcoholic who was only nine years his junior.  Not approving of the marriage, Bob did not attend the wedding.  Of course Dad was right, the troubled marriage lasts officially for six years. 

It has been written that Liz was attracted to Gig as a father figure.  Let's see, handsome, debonair, a great sense of humor ... yeah, I can see that. 

In memory, lets raise a toast to the troubled Mr. Young who brought smiles to our faces and warmth to our hearts.  May he rest in peace. 

Friday, November 01, 2013

Just Three Innocent Lambs

The1930s studio version of three stars out on the town:

                           Bob, Rudy Vallee and George Raft

And now the wire service photo capturing how they really were enjoying themselves: