Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Poor Una, the Worst Honeymoon Ever

Lets see, you actually marry your handsome Prince Charming, head off for a honeymoon in France,  and drats if Prince Charming (now Rat fink) doesn't run off with his ex-wife to Switzerland.  On YOUR honeymoon!  Poor Una. 

                      Private Lives (1931) Bob & Una Merkel

At least you have your wedding picture taken by George Hurrell wearing an absolutely scrumptious wedding gown.  (It's a 10x13 photo slightly trimmed because of my scanner.  Sorry, George!)

Monday, December 22, 2014

Greetings from Bob!

A Christmas card from Mr. and Mrs. Robert Montgomery with Bob's hand-written "Greetings" on the cover.  How better to celebrate the season.  

There are three prancing deer embossed on the card, almost completely faded unfortunately.  The edge is silver, worn as well.  What is perfectly clear is the "Greetings" written by Bob.  Nice personal touch to an otherwise formal card. 

I'm guessing it's from the 1929 - 1931 period by the style, and no mention of family, i.e., Mr. & Mrs. Robert Montgomery & Family. 

A very, very nice memento to have.  Many thanks to the fortunate owner, Liz, for sharing it with us. 

I am sort of ready for Christmas - I never accomplish all my plans!  My husband has the outdoor lights up, a much dreaded task he undertakes every year on my behalf.  No snow for Christmas, but a chance of some much needed rain here in dry, very dry Bakersfield.  Good weather for bundling up in front of the fireplace with a glass of eggnog (with brandy, of course!) and some Christmas cookies to watch a favorite movie or two.  Oh, my ... they're playing Elvis Presley's "Blue Christmas" on the radio.  Need to wrap this up before I become way too sentimental. 

I do wish all of you a Merry Christmas.  Please take the time to give an extra special hug to a family member or good friend, whether it be in person or in your thoughts.  It's a very good chance they will appreciate it much more than that great deal you found on Black Friday.  

Thursday, December 18, 2014

"His Critics Will Gnash Their Teeth"

Poor Bob, one weak movie after another through most of his career.  Typecast, placed in so-so movies, an irritant to his bosses and still able to maintain a lengthy, successful career.  I guess that's what being a star is all about. 



Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Bob in Blu-Ray Even!!

The Criterion Collection (criterion.com) has announced (via Carrie) that Ride the Pink Horse is one of their April releases!!  You can pre-order it now, to be delivered by March 17th.  A digitally restored Bob ... can't wait. 

And would someone please, please dig Letty Lynton out of its legal morass and provide a digitally restored, beautiful young Bob!!!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Which Smile Do You Prefer?

I'm partial to the first photo, the cat-who-just-ate-the-canary smile.

Photo Caption:  "Robert Montgomery is an actor first, an idol afterward.  He has demonstrated his versatility in a wide variety of roles and he will never be satisfied to smile his way through his films.  His latest is "Love in the Rut."  (Changing Rut to Rough was a good idea.)

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Christmas = IAWL

I'm a sucker for It's a Wonderful Life this time of year (but I can't stand watching it on NBC with all of the commercials). So, in the spirit of the holidays, here's some neat photos from LIFE Magazine that you might enjoy from behind the scenes. And I have to apologize upfront - I found this in my Twitter feed the other day but I don't remember who ran across it first!

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Totter ... Sexy Lady No Matter the Pose

Ran across this rather distinctive portrait of Audrey Totter recently.  Photographers are always trying for a different way to capture their subject and sometimes their effort produces an, shall we say, odd photo.  I mean, Audrey looks great, the fancy hairdo and highlighted bare shoulder, but what's with the pillow?  Note the very small tab, or what have you, on the lower right corner which identifies the picture as being for "Tension MGM 1949."  That seems to indicate the picture is positioned correctly, as does the location of the snipe on the back.

                         Audrey Totter in MGM's Tension (1949)

But doesn't the horizontal view make a bit more sense?  Or have I missed something here?  So, what'd ya think??

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Such a Handsome Young Man

Since the photo speaks for itself, I thought I would take this opportunity to mention a great Montgomery post on another website.  Do check out Hollywood (allanellenberger.com) for the November 28th post titled, "Robert Montgomery in the 1930 Census."  It has some interesting info from the census and a great photo of Bob at his 1930 residence. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Elegant, Debonair & Dressed to the Nines X Two

TCM is showing The Last of Mrs. Cheyney Monday, Dec. 1st at 11:30 a.m. EST.  Bob and Bill Powell on the same set ... my. 

           The Last of Mrs. Cheyney (1937) with Joan, Bill and Bob

Well, the bird is slowly thawing and I'm pretty sure I have everything needed for our Thanksgiving feast.  I am not domestically inclined, but do go all out for Turkey Day, even bake my own pumpkin pies!  After gorging and napping most of Thursday, we'll watch our Missouri Tigers hopefully beat Arkansas on Friday.  The real fun is on Saturday when Christmas decorating begins.  It all sounds great, just hope the ole' body can handle it all once more.  And I hope the holiday brings you happiness, a full stomach and good memories.  

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Bob Looking Precious (As Always!)

I happened across this photo on eBay under the heading "Clark Gable and Wallace Beery in China Seas."  Something didn't look quite right.  Oh, hey, it's Bob in women's clothing!  Anyway, I purchased it and fervently hoped the vendor wouldn't send me a photo of Clark and Beery.  I'm trying to imagine the roles being reversed ... nah.  Bob, secure in his masculinity, handled the role with ease.  Clark ... I think he'd be quite uncomfortable in a dress. 

                                Forsaking All Others (1934)

November 20th was Evelyn Keyes' birthday.  Although they were not the most compatible duo off stage while filming Here Comes Mr. Jordan,  it doesn't show through in their performances.  I have always liked the scene at the end when the auditorium lights go dark and Joe says to Betty, "Don't be scared."  Did you know that Bob asked to have the female lead's name changed to Betty as a tribute to his wife?  (Or so they say!) 

                               Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

If You Met a Movie Star, Would You Take a Photo or Ask for an Autograph?

These photos were taken by an amateur photographer during the filming of They Were Expendable (1945), truly candid shots, not the posed "candids" taken by the studios.  Bob in real life ... wearing a coat and tie, signing autographs and hanging out with navy brass.  I said real life, definitely not a normal life.  By the way, that's damage to the photo, not Bob wearing messy pants! 

There were several filming locations for the movie.  I'm guessing these were taken in Miami, but it could have been Key Biscayne.  This location was used at the beginning of the movie.  It is the scene wherein the boats return to the base as part of a review by the big brass, and then Brick and Rusty walk with the brass while the crew are lined up along the road between the wharf and the base housing.  (The road looks more like a sidewalk from the perspective of the picture below.) 

I have enlarged part of the above photo to get a good look at Bob.  Notice that the sailor is not offering him assistance in getting into the boat.  By this time, Bob has had a bit of experience with boats.  Expendable is definitely one of my favorite movies, not just because Bob is in it (although that doesn't hurt), but it's a great movie with Bob giving one of his best performances. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Meandering Thoughts on a Thursday Morne

When I ran across this photo in an early 1930s magazine, I thought how ridiculous it was.  It shows starlet Joan Marsh wearing a sun mask "to retain white skin on the face while tanning the rest of the body."

Later, I ran across a current ad for a "solar visor."  The idea still seems ridiculous. 

An explicit sex scene, 1929 style ... Run girl, run!!!

        Devil May Care (1929) with Ramon Novarro & Dorothy Jordan

 Ah, Alfie ... my favorite Brit humorist.  

                             George Sanders in Rebecca (1940)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

"Give a Veteran a Hug Day"

... they all deserve one.

                            Lt. Cmdr. Henry Montgomery, Jr.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Three Blonds and a Brunette

Alan Ladd, Robert Redford, Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert Montgomery ... and what do these four people have in common, you might ask.  Off hand, I'd have to say Bob seems to be the odd man out.  (I mean that in a positive sense!)  And not just because of his hair color. 

Well, they all appeared in versions of The Great Gatsby.  Bob played Gatsby in a May 9, 1955 airing of Robert Montgomery Presents.  Unfortunately, I know little about it.  I read an article some time back which was a comparison of the various Gatsby performances.  The author said that Bob's portrayal was the most convincing, if you could get past his being too old for the part.  Bob was going on 51 at the time, and, well, pretty much looked it.  Still ...

The show was to have been aired on April 11th, but delayed until May 9th because of Bob's illness.  Being live television, Robert Montgomery Presents was cancelled that night.  Weird to think of that happening today.  And by the way, does anyone know what illness struck down our Bob?  He must have been very, very ill. 

              Bob and Phyllis Kirk in Robert Montgomery Presents:
                              The Great Gatsby, May 9, 1955

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Reggie Truscott-Jones ... One Handsome Dude

My scanning an 11x14 photo means image loss, but young Mr. Milland's gorgeous face remains intact.  (As always, my kudos to wife Mal for keeping the marriage going for 53 years!)

                                Wings Over Honolulu (1937)

Thursday, October 30, 2014

All Good Wishes

This is a 5 x 7 fan photo of Bob, a darn good portrait.  Got it just recently, had to wait forever for it to get down to a reasonable price.  The vendor insisted it was a "signed" photograph.  No way!!  We can't even be sure it was Bob that wrote the original template, could've been a secretary even.  What is known is that this signature was used on several of Bob's early fan photos.  It's a darn good chance that Bob never handled this photograph.  No possible thumbprint or actual DNA!!  Just a great picture.

Bob developed a unique and nifty autograph.  There's those interesting g's and y's.  Underlined with two hash marks.  And, in many cases, a period after his name.  Bob touched these pieces of paper. 






                                             Older Bob

Just don't know when he used the last shown autograph, it is certainly an abbreviated version.  The period stands out.  It's later than 1945 for sure, an actual year would only be guessing.  Anyway, if you're buying a photo because of the signature, look for one that is personalized, i.e. "To Kenneth, Thanks for your help." If it's a portrait of Bob from his TV show and all it has on it is "All good wishes, Robert Montgomery," it's probably been signed by an autopen.  Maybe not, but ...

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

And Every Snowflake is Different

I Love this photo of Bob ... to the point of having several copies, all just a tad different.  The first is an obvious original, has the MGM ID number,  MG 29353, and deterioration, unfortunately.

The second one is another 8 x 10, but without the number.  It's also on double-weight paper which perhaps explains its better condition.  Also note, the image is closer cropped.

The third is a 5 x 7 fan club photo, with the bottom cropped even more.  And, of course, there's that fan club signature stamp ... "Sincerely yours" ... makes me want to cringe.

And now for something entirely different ... Hey, he's looking away from the camera and his hand is on the bar, a world of difference!  It is, of course, a reprint.  From an original negative, perhaps?  Whatever, he's just gorgeous. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Miscellaneous Thoughts for Thursday

When I began spending good chunks of my day on the computer reading about movies and stars of the 30s and 40s, I ran across a website that sparked my interest in Mr. Montgomery.  I mean, I knew who he was and have always been fascinated by him, but this website provided the framework for my pursuit of everything Bob.  The Earl of Hollywood was set up by R. E. Lee, and is an absolute treasure.  Or should I say was ... last week I tried to pull it up to verify a Bob factoid, and The Earl was missing, not there, kaput.  Those darn fates screwing things up for me once again!  Drats!

I shared my sad discovery with Carrie who, as is often the case, saved my day.  She introduced me to the Internet Archive Wayback Machine, which enables one to access the archived version of the site.  (Go to https://archive.org/web/ and search for earlofhollywood.com.)  Thank goodness.  And my sincerest thanks to Mr. Lee for his efforts to set up such a great site.


In 1936 Howard Hawks, then at RKO, tried to make Gunga Din.  MGM agreed to loan out Robert Montgomery and Spencer Tracy to play two of the three soldiers, but they would not agree to loaning out Clark Gable to be the third lead.  The project was shelved and eventually made in 1939 by George Stevens, with stars Cary Grant, Douglas Fairbanks and Victor McLaglen.  If you're wondering which role Bob would have had, the picture below should be a good clue.


Dialogue from The War Nurse (1930): 

     Wally:  "Ah, come on and say yes, it saves a lot of time."
     Babs:  No response
     Wally:  "It's my birthday."
     Babs:  "Yeah, well I'm no present."

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Audrey Totter and the Fourth "Boy"

In my post of October 7th, I discussed Audrey and her co-stars, Roberts Montgomery and Taylor and Ray Milland, and ended it with the goal of finding a photo of Audrey and the fourth of her series of mature stars, Clark Gable.  As it turns out, it was a very simple search.  All I had to do was open an e-mail from John McElwee of Greenbriar Picture Shows and there were the photos shown below --- two great publicity stills for Any Number Can Play (1949).  I particularly like the 2nd one ... how often do you get to see Audrey smiling?!  Thanks again, John, for sharing.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Did Bob Mutiny? Or Did Thalberg Make Him Walk the Plank?

Books on the golden age of movies, for the most part, should be categorized as fiction.  It is quite understandable considering that studio publicity departments and the fan magazines existed to create a fantasy world where the men were all gallant and trustworthy and the women chaste and happy homemakers at heart.  Stars were valuable commodities for the studios, their images carefully crafted and highly protected.

There are times when I wish that was still the case.  We know way too much about today's stars.  Actors are simply different than the rest of us, it's part of what makes them good at what they do.  It does not, however, necessarily make them interesting or likeable.  Oh, where was Eddie Mannix when Jane Fonda went to North Vietnam and palled around with the enemy?!  That should never have been made public ... my dislike of Fonda has made it so very difficult to enjoy the good movies in which she has appeared.

Anyway, getting way off the track here .... writing Tuesday's entry, I was reminded of the numerous versions of why Bob did not appear in Mutiny on the Bounty.  You would think there would be a straightforward explanation available for something so basic.  Nah.  Let's see, there's the somewhat common story of Bob getting sick and having to drop out of the project.  And there's the one I accepted for a while as the most plausible, wherein Bob decides he wants out of the movie because his role would be too secondary to Gable's.  Made sense.

A third version is from a 1953 interview with Bob, mentioned in Mark Viera's biography of Irving Thalberg.   According to Bob, he had requested a vacation between No More Ladies and Mutiny and refused to work.  Thalberg denied him the vacation and used the work refusal as an excuse to replace Bob in the movie with Franchot Tone.  Now that makes more sense.  As it turned out, Bob would be away from the studio from May, 1935 to January 20, 1936 when filming of Petticoat Fever began.  Now that's a good vacation.

                                 Wardrobe test for Mutiny

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Bob Enjoying his 1935 Winter Break

    Jan. 31 - Having drinks with Phyllis & Fred Astaire at the                     Trocadero

   Feb. 10 - Playing the ponies with Constance Bennett & Ria Gable                       (Clark's #2) at Santa Anita.

     Feb. 15 -  Out on the town with Tullio Carminatti & Chester                              Morris

    Feb. 20 - Playing the ponies with Fred Astaire at the Riviera                              Country Club

P.S.  Re the 2nd photo ... this marks the first time I have used a photo with a vendor stamp.  That's rather tacky of me, I know, but it fits in this blog entry so well.  It was up for sale some while back.  I lost the bid, darn it.  It's the way Bob is looking at Ria ...

P.P.S.  Don't you wonder what Betty did for fun?

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Audrey Totter and the Boys

Audrey Totter specialized in tough-talking dames in the late 1940s.  She was quite good at it and paired off very well with a number of, errrr...., mature leading actors.  In 1947-49, she made three movies in a row with favorite actors of this blog.  She was in The Saxon Charm (1948) with our Bob.  I have used the photo of the two before ... it's worth a repeat.  They make a handsome couple.

In 1949, she co-starred with Ray Milland in Alias Nick Beal

Now, to complete the cycle, I recently ran across this photo for High Wall (1947) in which psychiatrist Audrey tries to prove a brain-damaged Robert Taylor did not murder his wife. I am guessing she was successful. 

Actually, if you skip one of her movies, you will find she appeared with Clark Gable in Any Number Can Play (1949).  That's one impressive foursome.  Ahh, another photo to find ...