Thursday, December 28, 2017

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Happy Birthday, Dear Kasper ...

Whoever cast Sydney Greenstreet as Kasper Gutman in The Maltese Falcon (1941) is a hero of mine.  It is the perfect casting of an excellent actor in a great role.  And the success of that movie, largely thankful to Mr. Greenstreet, enabled him to take over other great roles, particularly Alexander Yardley in Christmas in Connecticut (1945).  I just love the Sydney Greenstreets, the Peter Lorres, the James Gleasons, and the long list of great character actors that have made a movie great, or at least for brief moments on the screen have dazzled us with their greatness.

                      Sydney Greenstreet, b. December 27, 1879

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Merry (Cough) Christmas 1950s Style

Except for my maternal grandfather, I cannot think of an adult male that I knew as a youth in the 1950s that did not smoke.  Cigarette ads were aplenty, not trying to get you to smoke but to smoke their brand.  And giving a carton of cigarettes as a Christmas gift was perfectly acceptable, preferred if you got the brand right!

Of course, celebrities highlighted many a cigarette ad ...

And Bob was one of the many ...

Even Santa smoked his Prince Albert!

There have been many changes over the past six decades, a few even for the better ...

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Isn't He Just Too Cute!

Theoretically, Bob had a pilot's license, obtained in July of 1930 along with good pal Chester Morris.  They went to Georgia for flying lessons and obtained their licenses at that time as well.  (Fast learners, our boys.) Then they flew their planes back to California.  There are photos of Bob on his return, thanks to the MGM publicity department.  And that's the first and last mention of his being a flyer.  Well, he did dabble in flying miniature planes in the 1930s.  And the man flew commercial planes extensively, liked to take naps on his flights.  But ...

Hmm ... perhaps he decided it was not a sufficient challenge or it simply did not appeal to him or he was too busy to continue with flying.  Perhaps the young and ambitious Mr. Montgomery participated in a complete fabrication by the studio.  Maybe Betty just said no. 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Fun With Photos, Course 101A For No Credit

It's just me playing with photos, which I enjoy, particularly when they are of Mr. Montgomery.  I used to think the two photos below were by Ted Allan, but I now believe they are by Harvey White who worked briefly for MGM.  IMDB gives him only one movie credit as the still photographer, which was Dinner at Eight (1933) and I ran across a photo credit for the first photo as being by White in 1933.  They are very distinctive photos, unlike others credited to Allan.

Whatever (you think!), the copy I have of the first photo is actually a vintage poster, about 11x15.  I also have a larger 38x25 poster which I looked at once and thought to myself:  "Why did you spend good money on something you may well never look at again?!"  And I haven't.  But, still, it is a Bob. 

This second photo is your basic 8x10.  I love White's use of background for his subject.  Nifty photos. 

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Fairbanks, Jr., One Dapper Gentleman

Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. was born December 9, 1909.  By 1925 (and only 15) he is playing young beau roles in the silents and supporting his mother and an assortment of her friends and family.  At the age of 19 he marries 23-year-old (at least) Joan Crawford.  A rather precocious young man was he. 

                               Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. at 15 ...

Doug and Bob were good friends, meeting while Joan and Bob were making Untamed in 1929.  They spent a lot of late nights and weekends hitting the Los Angeles speakeasies.  In his first autobiography, The Salad Days, Fairbanks describes an interesting vacation with Bob and Lawrence Olivier.  The three rented Cecil B. DeMille's huge yacht, crew and all, for a cruise along the coast of Mexico.  One can only imagine ... 

                                          ... and at 39

Doug and Bob joined the navy together, Doug would become a highly decorated naval officer.  After the war he and Bob would grow apart, in part because of different political views.  What a silly reason to lose a friend.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Bob Entertains the Gallery

It is 1931 (my best guess!), and Bob is spending another day at the races.  Being a sports enthusiast, as well as a man who enjoyed the casinos of Monte Carlo, horse racing must have been doubly attractive to him.  And it would appear by the big grin on his face in the photo below, that the social aspects of the event were also to his liking. 

I love the looks of the ladies that comprise his audience.  The three laughing ladies have obviously been won over by his banter.  However, the young lady behind them wearing the glasses seems underwhelmed by his performance.  I guess even Bob couldn't win over all of them!