Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Happy Birthday, Dahling!

Tallulah Bankhead was born on this day in 1902 in Huntsville, Alabama.  Whereas she maintained her southern accent throughout her life, any trappings of the southern belle were left behind when, at the age of 16, she moved to New York City to begin her life in the theater.   The hard-drinking, chain-smoking and drug-using bisexual with a wonderful raspy voice found great success on the stage, less so on film.  I just read a review of her performance in Faithless (1932) wherein the author points to a lack of subtle expression in her face as a reason she was not successful in movies.  A good point.  Of course, there was nothing really subtle about Ms. Bankhead. 

                    Tallulah Bankhead and Bob in Faithless (1932)

Tallulah --- great name, isn't it! --- was the star of Faithless, Bob's role was almost a supporting performance.  He was in the hospital for three weeks during the scheduled filming of the move with a severe attack of appendicitis (keep in mind that penicillin was not widely available until the 1940s), so his part may have been cut back.  Whatever, he is in it enough to make you understand why Tallulah would "turn to the streets" to get medicine for her deathly ill husband.  And Bob certainly had the experience to portray a man confined to a bed.  All in all, a decent enough movie, worth watching if you don't expect a masterpiece.  Hey, it's pre-code and Bob is in it.  What more could one ask ...

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Just What Did Bob Say to the President?

Let's see ... Dwight Eisenhower, President of the United States, writes a defensive letter to our Bob.  Hmm.  Difficult to imagine Bob hassling Ike.  I cannot imagine that many people did period.  And, he gets to add a signed letter from "D. E." to his private collection.  (Certainly beats the autograph I got from Eddie Bracken!) 

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

So Nice To Snuggle Up To

I am getting so tired of this winter.  Six years of drought in sunny California left me spoiled by unusually warm and dry winters.  This appears to be a payback year.  All this rain, rain, rain ... arrggghhh!  And it's cold, not Midwest cold, but darn cold for us.  Cold and wet.  It is just no fun.  None at all.  Brrr.  Maybe if I had mukluks and a fur lined coat to wear, and Bob to snuggle up to ... yeah, that would make things a whole lot better!

                     Bob and Myrna Loy in Petticoat Fever (1936)

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Gorgeous at Any Age

This is actually a trade card, slightly larger than most, but still only 2" x 2-1/2".  I place it in the category of great things come in small packages.   If I had a copy of the original color photo in an 8x10 format, it would be in a silver frame and on my desk.  Bob is 50ish in the photo.  I know I'm appreciating it with the bias of my advanced age, but, hey, it's the eyes and the touch of a smile that does it for me for Bob no matter what the age.  And elegant to boot ... rrrff!!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Do I Really Have to Say it

Bob or Herbert Marshall.  Let's see...

         Bob, Norma Shearer, and Herbert Marshall in Riptide (1934)

Watch Norma agonize over that choice this coming Thursday at 9:00 a.m. PST on TCM.  

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Definitely Not a Candid (39 and GORGEOUS!)

                            Photo by Manatt for MGM (1943)

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

It Might Just Be An Actual Candid

Most "candids" of stars taken by the studios were staged more than a still taken on the set.  In the photo below, it appears Bob is standing outside of a studio building, perhaps on a break, reading a script or newspaper or racing sheet.  With the trash can as part of the background and the look on Bob's face, I would guess it is an actual candid.  Unless...perhaps Bob, the avid photographer, has set it up, having someone take the photo for him, wanting to show his work environment behind all the glamour.  It is difficult to distinguish what is reality from the image Hollywood portrayed of itself. 

I am guessing, primarily because of the hat, that Bob is filming Live, Love and Learn (1937).  Yes, a lot of guesswork is involved in trying to identify just what is happening in photos taken 80 years ago. 

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Belated Happy Birthday, Marion Davies!

Marion Cecelia Douras was born January 3, 1987, in Brooklyn, NY.  A star in her own right, she is, unfortunately, primarily remembered as the mistress of William Randolph Hearst.  

Bob and Marion's first movie was Blondie of the Follies (1932)Bob and Marion were, respectively, 28 and 35 at the time.  So, Bob was at his prime, while Marion was already past her peak, way old for female stars of the time.  But, she carries it off in Blondie, while holding her own in gorgeously photographed publicity stills. 

             Bob and Marion Davies in Blondie of the Follies (1932)

Only five years later, Marion and Bob co-star in Ever Since Eve (1937).  It is the last movie for Marion who is now 40 and showing her age.  Bob turned 33 during filming.  He has left his gorgeous stage, adding a few pounds and losing some hair....but, still handsome.

                       Marion and Bob in Ever Since Eve (1937)  

How frustrating it must have been for actors of this period, the skills and knowledge of their trade improving while their appearances declined.  These days, those double chins, age lines and thicker waists are taken care of in the editing room, extending the career of many a middle-aged star.  

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Happy Birthday, Mr. Milland!

Ah, you rakishly handsome man ...

                                 Ray Milland, b. January 3, 1905

Ray showing his dark side ...

                   Ray and Raymond Lovell in So Evil My Love (1948)

Ray and his new home, 1940s style.  Interesting lamp ...