Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Misfits Final film of Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe 1961

The Misfits 1961
Actors' Final Films, Final Performances

Directed by John Huston, the 1961 movie, The Misfits starred Clark Gable,
The Misfits
Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn Monroe, Montgomery Clift, Thelma Ritter and Eli Wallach.
There is a lot outside of the movie itself that makes it noteworthy. It would be the final film for both Gable and Monroe. It opened February 1, 1961.

This page includes the baptism of Clark Gable's son, November 1961; news, videos. Also information on the deaths of Tyrone Power, Sr. and Tyrone Power, Jr. The final films of father and son.

The Hollywood community stuck together. The creative people in the movie industry formed lasting friendships. The actors, directors, writers, designers and craftspeople helping one another through tragedies. 

The film was written by Monroe's then (1961) ex-husband, Arthur Miller. Monroe and Miller had married in 1956. Miller had been her third husband after James Dougherty and baseball great, Joe DiMaggio.

Reviewers praised Gable's performance in The Misfits. "His role is a character he and all his fans loved best -- a lusty, virile cowpoke who hunted wild horses by day and wild women at night. Some of his love scenes with Marilyn are torrid
Clark Gable photo
reminders of the old Gable and Jean Harlow movies of the '30s. ....

Also, they talked about the grueling schedule, conditions in the hot Nevada desert and his tragic death.

"Gable shot the final scenes of the movie last Nov. 4, suffered a heart attack two days later and died 10 days after that."
 --The Ocala Star-Banner (Florida), January 24, 1961

Clark Gable died November 16, 1960 at the age of 59. The film was released after his death. 

Gable had been working with Jean Harlow on Saratoga when she suddenly and unexpectedly died. The film had to be completed with stand-ins and lookalikes back in 1937.

Newspaper article, 1961 review The Misfits pt.1
Newspaper article, 1961 review The Misfits pt.2

Per his wishes, his wife had his body interred in The Great Mausoleum at Forest Lawn Memorial Park beside his third wife, Carole Lombard. Mrs Gable said a third tomb adjacent to her husband's had been reserved for herself. Kay Williams Gable died in 1983. They are near the bodies of Irving Thalberg, Florenz Ziegfeld, Will Rogers and Jean Harlow.

Gable received full military honors at his funeral honoring his service as an air runner in bombing missions during World War II. His wife, Kay Williams Gable, was pregnant and gave birth to their son after Gable's death.

News reports talked of his heart disease but his wife also had heart problems. As she was pregnant, people kept watch on her and she was able to deliver her baby successfully to everyone's relief and delight.

Cat Ballou with Jane Fonda and Lee Marvin was Nat King Cole's final film. It was released months after his death.

The final film of actor Frank Morgan, well known as The Wizard (and other roles) in The Wizard of Oz was Key to the City from 1950 also starring Loretta Young and Clark Gable. The movie came out after his death. By then, Morgan had been working on Annie Get Your Gun. He was replaced by Louis Calhern. Morgan had been in other films including Bombshell with Jean Harlow and The Shop Around the Corner with Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullavan.

Sadly, Loretta Young suffered a miscarriage while on the set of Key to the City. Newspapers spoke of her fainting and having been carried to her dressing room by Clark Gable. After a stay in the hospital they were unable to save the baby. Young and her husband ad executive Tom Lewis had three other children.

Coincidentally, they said that Gable had told his wife he would never want a funeral like that of Tyrone Power just a few years earlier in 1958. 

The Death of Tyrone Power

Power, at 44, had died of a heart attack in Spain while making the film Solomon and Sheba. Gina Lollobrigida played Sheba. The film was recast with Yul Brynner
Tyrone Power
playing Solomon. 

Similar to Clark Gable, Tyrone Power's wife also had been pregnant when he died. Cesar Romero read Thomas Wolfe's The Promises of America as a eulogy. He also had a military funeral, five Marine officers served as pall bearers.

Some in the papers called his funeral a spectacle. It was overflowing with people. A couple of months after the actor's death, his widow, Deborah Power gave birth to their son, Tyrone Power IV on January 22, 1959. Power had two daughters previously. This baby was his third child and his only son. 

His performance as Leonard Vole in Witness for the Prosecution, 1957 was his last completed film. With an incredible cast, the film also starred Marlene Dietrich and Charles Laughton.

The actor sometimes went by the name Tyrone Power, Jr. His father, also an actor went by Tyrone Power, Sr. The Miracle Man, 1932 was made with Hobart Bosworth instead of Tyrone Power, Sr. who died at 62. The Big Trail, 1930 was his final film. It also starred John Wayne.

"Power's death was a tragic duplicate of that of his father, Tyrone Power II. His father was fatally stricken on the set of a picture, The Miracle Man. He died a few hours later in the arms of his son. 

"Power had continued a theatrical dynasty begun  by his grandfather on the Dublin stage in 1827. Tyrone Power the first was a celebrated comedian whose baptismal name comes from County Tyrone, Ireland."
-- The Day, November 15, 1958 (New London, CT)

In 1962, Monroe started work on Something's Got to Give, a remake of the Cary Grant - Irene Dunne film My Favorite Wife, but the film was never completed. Please see links below for a more on that film. Marilyn Monroe died August 5, 1962 at the age of 36. 

You often see such a change in an actor throughout their career, comparing their early work to later. Their first film roles may well be bit parts. Why is there an extra interest in an actor's last role, their final performance? 

Sadly you cannot tell what will be a star's (directors, etc.) last movie any more than what will become a huge hit or a cult classic. Rather than making it into a sad time, it can be a time to celebrate not only one movie and an actor's entire body of work. 

I read about a woman who hated having her photo taken. Then the unthinkable happened, her child died. She had photos of her child, but very few of herself and her baby together. A regret was that she hadn't taken more pictures of the two of them together. You never know when something will happen.

The Misfits Movie Trailer

Marilyn Monroe's Screen Test, hair, make-up, costumes for The Misfits
Arthur Miller wrote the film especially for her. Includes comments from Kevin McCarthy who plays Marilyn's divorced husband.
Leonard Maltin (and Mary Hart) on Entertainment Tonight 1991. 

The show, sometimes just called ET has been on the air since 1981. Print, radio and television were our sources of Hollywood news and celebrity gossip long before we had the Internet.

Short silent footage of the stars from a press conference

Baptism of Clark Gable's Son, November 1961

"John Clark Gable would be baptized in a dress made by famous designer Don Loper who said, 'It's suitable for the son of the former king of Hollywood.' Loper who makes dresses for some of Hollywood's biggest stars, presented the gown to the late actor's widow Kay as a present to the baby who was born March 20.

"'It's the kind of dress that England's Prince Charles wore,' Loper said. 'It's a very formal dress made of batiste linen and balencien lace. It has 100 yards of lace.' 

"Loper added that the child's bonnet and undergarments will be made of the same material. 'The dress was made with great love because all the people in my sewing department are fond of Mrs. Gable,' Loper said."
-- excerpt from a UPI article in The Schenectady Gazette, June 3, 1961

Newsreel and color footage, 1961. The child of Clark Gable and Kay Williams Gable is christened....


Louella Parsons is a godmother of ten-week old John Clark Gable, who was born March 20, 1961. The child was carried by one of his godmothers, Mrs. Carl Leigh. Godfather was Vince Williams, brother of Mrs. Gable. 

Marilyn Monroe, Jack Benny and Mary Livingston, Cesar Romero are there. Also, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Stack. Leo Carillo and Mervyn Leroy and Fred Astaire were among the 100 invited guests.
-- Information from an AP article run in several papers. One is titled "Young Gable wails during Christening"

Clark Gable also had a daughter, named Judy Lewis. Her mother was actress Loretta Young. Some said that Lewis never knew Gable, but she met him when she was a child. It was only confirmed to her that he was her father she was in her thirties.

Judy Lewis was born in 1935. Her book, Uncommon Knowledge is fascinating and even new copies are very reasonably priced. Books like these give an idea of the culture of Old Hollywood and the times back in the 1930s and 1940s.

John Gable has children, Kayley Gable, born 1986 and Clark James Gable, 1988.

The First Lady of Hollywood: A Biography of Louella Parsons by Samantha Barbas

Since we're talking about famous children and grandchildren, Jennifer Grant, daughter of actors Cary Grant and Dyan Cannon was born in 1966. She gave birth to a son, whom she named Cary Benjamin, in August 2008.

Cary Grant stopped making movies when his daughter was born, so he could spend more time with her. Walk Don't Run, his final film came out in 1966.

Hollywood fashion designer Don Loper played himself in a famous 1955 episode of I Love Lucy, The Fashion Show. He worked for big studios such as MGM and is said to have introduced Judy Garland to Vincent Minnelli.

Cesar Romero was The Joker on Batman

Prince Charles of England was born November 14, 1948, several years before Gable's son.

Keep your eye on your local PBS schedule. There is an older edition of the series Great Performances called The Making of The Misfits. You may see it aired again sometime.

Related Pages of Interest:

You can tell them Clark Gable left his jacket at your place: Auctions & Memorabilia

Clark Gable Marries Kay Williams July 1955

William Powell after the death of Jean Harlow: Includes: The final films of Jean Harlow, Carole Lombard, Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe

My Favorite Wife, Cary Grant and Irene Dunne; with video, information on the 1962 remake that was never completed; Something's Got to Give with Marilyn Monroe, Dean Martin and Cyd Charisse. Video includes deleted scenes and news.

George Burns vs Clark Gable Gracie's Plan Burns and Allen

Pop, Rock and Country Memorial Songs Inspiration from Monty Python, The Beatles, Jim Henson

The Death of Jean Harlow

Carole Lombard and William Powell

Buying and Selling and Buying Back Academy Awards, Stephen Spielberg, John Lennon, Vivien Leigh

Fan girls chasing Clark Gable 1930s, 40s in cars and on foot: tear his clothes, nibble his ears and more

Friday, June 27, 2014

Jean Harlow is Reckless 1935 Joan Crawford is Dancing

Young and Reckless in 1935

Publicity shot for Reckless, Harlow and Powell
Photo taken
to promote Reckless*
Reckless MGM's 1935 musical melodrama is the story of a Broadway singer and dancer Mona Leslie (Jean Harlow). She and a rich playboy, Rob Harrison Jr. (Franchot Tone) marry impulsively.

This is upsetting to his stuffy father. Turns out that Rob was engaged to Josephine 'Jo' Mercer (Rosalind Russell). 

It also upsets to Mona's manager, Ned Riley (William Powell). Though he'd told Harrison that he didn't have feelings for Mona, he realized that he does when she and Harrison become serious about one another. 

He tries proposing to Mona, but she's so exhausted from her late-night date with Rob, she falls asleep before he can finish asking her. Then he decides that it's too late. The movie takes a complicated turn when the emotionally distressed playboy kills himself, and Mona gives birth to his baby after his death.

Must-See Moments:

Just about anything with Granny, May Robson is a favorite of mine. We don't see Rosalind Russell as Jo Mercer until about half-way into the movie but she's worth waiting for. Jo and Mona become friends. 

She refuses to become a victim. Russell is just lovely and with Adrian providing the costumes, Jo Mercer is a beautiful bride in a spectacular satin wedding gown. Too bad that it's one of the lesser known Rosalind Russell movies.

Rosalind Russell before Mame
There's a scene at the racetrack where Mona and Rob's fancy friends meet Ned's friends and their interaction is funny. 

Before Mona goes on stage to resurrect her career, Granny crosses her and the fingers of Mona's little baby for good luck. 

Cross Your Fingers

Toward the end, Mona is giving a show to earn money to raise her son. Ned has put up all the money he has to finance the show. She's being heckled by the crowd. The scene is well played. Mona valiantly tries to get through her song before letting them have it. Watch an entire audience get told off by Jean Harlow.

"How dare you! .... If this is the last song I'm ever to sing for you please have the decency to let me finish." 

Bill Powell's character, Ned Riley watches from the sidelines with a tear in his eye. (Okay, to be fair, just about all the good guys, and gals, have a tear in their eyes during this scene.)

"Wish me good luck"
"Give 'em both barrels"

As she sings her encore, Powell is right offstage, whispering another marriage
Reckless Movie Poster Insert
14 x 36 Inches - 36cm x 92cm
proposal. "You usually fall asleep when I propose to you." This time she hears him and reaches back to take his hand. 

Powell and Harlow

Coincidentally the story Powell gave newspapers was that Jean Harlow had fallen asleep in the car on their first date. She'd said it was a compliment to him and that she just liked to sleep. 

There is a poignancy to this movie for fans who assumed that in real life the couple would, if not get married, probably spend their lives together. This didn't happen because of Harlow's tragic death.

When Harlow was dating Powell, she went from wearing a diamond on her engagement finger, to a huge 152-carat sapphire ring. 

People suggested both were engagement rings and friends said they were engaged when she died.

In Reckless, Powell proposes to her twice. In Libeled Lady they pretended to be married. The perfect double feature is Reckless with Libeled Lady, particularly if you haven't seen either. Libeled Lady is fantastic.

Harlow's performance:
Reckless magazine photo, 3 stars
"Trouble brews between
Bill Powell and
Franchot Tone..."
Even though this movie may be a bit soapy for some, it's one of Jean Harlow's more serious performances and for that it is noteworthy. She's a 'good girl' who got swept up in the bad publicity surrounding the death of her on-screen husband. 

She asks her new father-in-law, "What do you know about my reputation?" When he assumes the worst based solely on her job, her appearance and how quickly she and his son were married.

Watch how good Powell is with the young actors, Mickey Rooney and Allen Hoskins aka Farina both around 13 at that time. Reviewers mentioned this, too. Powell's own son was about nine years old. "Always keep up a good front," he tells Rooney's character, Eddie.

Reckless can be streamed or it's available in some DVD sets, you may find it in a library. The movie is also shown with some regularity on various movie channels. 

The film trailer talked about Harlow and Powell, the two most talked about stars in Hollywood. Powell was shown inside a heart.

Before Filming Began, The Backstory:
Harlow gets Billed, Crawford gets Toned

In 1933 a young Joan Crawford, Clark Gable, May Robson, Franchot Tone, Ted Healey, The Three Stooges and many others made Dancing Lady. Joan Crawford was a big MGM star and an experienced dancer. It was released late October 1933. Her first film of 1934 ended up being Sadie McKee with Franchot Tone and Gene Raymond. This wasn't the plan, though.

Dancing Lady movie poster 1933
Joan Crawford, Clark Gable, Franchot Tone
22 x 28 Inches - 56cm x 72cm
Filming of Reckless took place November 1934-February 1935. Franchot Tone, William Powell, Rosalind Russell and the popular Joan Crawford were set to play the four lovers in this movie.

In what all the papers had called a secret wedding, Crawford and Tone had been married just that past October. Word is that Tone had given Crawford a big sapphire engagement ring.

Powell was known for playing Philo Vance. He and Myrna Loy would soon release The Thin Man. It would be the first in a franchise of very successful films.

Basis of the story:

The movie was thought to be based on actress and torch singer Libby Holman who dated both men and women, including a young Montgomery Clift. She lived what was called the reckless lifestyle. In 1932 there was a highly publicized story about the death of her husband, tobacco heir Zachary Smith Reynolds II. People asked, was it a suicide or murder? You can still read a Libby Holman biography and decide for yourself.

Ned proposes to Mona while she's singing
this time she's awake
The public was fascinated with the Holman/Reynolds story and the court case. Films such as Brief Moment starring Carole Lombard and Gene Raymond and Sing, Sinner Sing starring Leila Hyams and Paul Lukas were both from 1933. 

Written on the Wind from 1957 with Rock Hudson and Lauren Bacall was also said to have been based on or inspired by the Holman/Reynolds case. It shows, then and now a juicy Hollywood scandal may be bad for those involved but can be good for those who try to cash in on it. Suicide stories were packed with drama, even fictionalized.

It's said that ten writers and screenwriters had their hands in this movie, not all credited. Screenplay is from a story by Oliver Jeffries, a pseudonym for David Selznick who was also producer.

Victor Fleming, the director had been wanting to make a musical. He supposedly said that he wouldn't have planned one for Jean Harlow. If you're looking for a musical, this isn't one of the greats on that score. But it's great looking and fun.

Two weeks before the premiere of Reckless, MGM publicity chief Howard Strickling wrote Howard Dietz, his New York counterpart and a friend of Holman's, assuring him there was "nothing ever done here to connect the Holman case with Reckless and will be doubly careful in the future." Numerous books have been written about Libby Holman, about Reynolds and his death. 

Strickling was one of the ones who came out in the mid-1960s to speak against some of the biographies and films that were being made about Jean Harlow. In the movie, Hollywoodland, Joe Spano plays Howard Strickling. Ben Affleck stars in this 2006 film, playing actor George Reeves who starred in The Adventures of Superman. Adrien Brody is a fictional character, a private detective hired to look into the actor's apparent suicide. 

In 1985 Time Magazine reported that Madonna was in talks to star in a movie about Libby Holman. The director would be movie directed by Herbert Ross, known for Goodbye Mr. Chips and Funny Girl.

clipping of Reckless review, similarity to Smith-Reynolds case
Reckless review sees similarity to Smith-Reynolds case
excerpt from 1935 St. Petersburg Times

A short time before filming began, the press was buzzing with stories of a blossoming romance between Jean Harlow and William Powell. Harlow had recently separated from her third husband. Powell had divorced second wife, actress Carole Lombard, the year before.

The studio decided to use this to their advantage and switched leading ladies from Crawford to Harlow. Was the studio also hoping to cash in on the interest in the death of Harlow's second husband, Paul Bern? He had been found dead with a gunshot wound to the head also in 1932. His death was mysterious, its circumstances still debated to this day.


Harlow wanted to do a picture with Powell but she was no singer and dancer.
Jean Harlow and William Powell in Reckless
Harlow has found the one
who has her "all atwitter"
She didn't want to do a storyline that mirrored the situation with Paul Bern. She had been cast in the role and in those days, people were under strict contracts. The studio told actors what pictures to make. 

You were suspended (without pay) from working if you declined to make a movie. There were other consequences.

William Powell suggested that she go ahead. Declining to make the movie and getting suspended would be worse for her career than stepping up and playing the part. It would
look bad for her personally.

Some of the audience interest in this movie has always been the story behind the film. Like Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor working on Cleopatra, Powell and Harlow were new lovers while making Reckless. Reporters soon began calling Powell her constant companion and asking when they would marry.

Powell would work with Joan Crawford in 1937 when they made The Last of Mrs. Cheyney. Franchot Tone made four films with his wife, Joan Crawford.

As with any other movie, we can take almost anything we hear about things that happened off-screen or behind the scenes with a grain if not a whole shaker of salt. And really the behind the scenes things don't matter as much as what we see on the screen. 

I heard a chat not long ago about film as being a business rather than an art form. The movie is a product, something different from the way painting is a piece of art. I'll give credit to Turner Classic Movies (TCM) since there's a good chance I heard this conversation there.

Leo the MGM Lion is proud of his new hit!
He's roaring louder than ever about its songs,
beauty thrills romance and
Powell and Harlow ... the two most talked about stars!
Powell and Harlow the two most talked about stars

Who's that I hear?

Betty Halsey was Jean Harlow's dancing double. Virginia Verill is said to have dubbed some if not all of Harlow's songs here and in the Cary Grant movie, Suzy. Margaret Booth was the editor on Reckless and getting all of this as good as it was in the early thirties is laudable. 

This is a good place to mention that copies of Reckless that I've seen are not spectacular. I've seen it shown on TV and seen it streamed. I don't know if the film hasn't been restored or if we're just spoiled by the high quality of most of the movies we get to see from sources such as Turner Classic Movies. It isn't bad, but .... you may notice that the film is from 1935. I would give it a B grade. (Full disclosure: I later received a refund for the streamed viewing of Reckless due to quality of video and transmission issues. This was not expected or requested.)

May Robson gives Powell a swat on his backside
Great Cast:

The film has an incredible cast. Its love triangle was Franchot Tone, Jean Harlow and William Powell. Also in the film, Rosalind Russell, May Robson and Allan Jones. Russell's first film had been Evelyn Prentice, with Myrna Loy and William Powell just the year before. In 1936 Irene Hervey married Allan Jones. They're the parents of singer Jack Jones.

Carl Randall danced with Flo Ziegfeld's Follies in the late 1920s. The papers said he was being brought from Broadway to dance with Jean Harlow. 

Ted Healy had appeared the year before with Harlow in Bombshell. In 1923, as a vaudevillian he started the act Ted Healy & His Stooges. The Stooges were Moe Howard and his brother, Shemp Howard. The brothers went on to form their own group, The Three Stooges.

Nat Pendleton was in the 1933 Frank Capra film, Lady for a Day which starred May Robson as Apple Annie. Libby Taylor is maid at Granny and Mona's house. Taylor is said to have been discovered by Mae West.

Mickey Rooney and Allen Hoskins aka Farina (from Hal Roach's Our Gang aka The Little Rascals) who were in their early teens have small roles. Apparently back in the day of Our Gang, Farina could be portrayed as a girl or a boy, the name was chosen to be gender-neutral. 

At the beginning of the film, Hoskins is credited as Farina and they say "Used to be a her."  He was the first African American child actor, the first in the Our Gang series. The character of Buckwheat, played by Billie Thomas (remember too the SNL skits with Eddie Murphy?) came after Farina.

Similar situation with child actors Norman "Chubby" Chaney and Joe Cobb. The makers of the series also wanted a heavyset actor. When one Little Rascal outgrew the role, he had to be replaced. Contests were held to win the roles.

In 1936 Powell and Harlow teamed up again, this time with Myrna Loy and Spencer Tracy in Libeled Lady 

Nina Mae McKinney is a chorus girl. In the beginning of the film she's credited and they say, "Remember Hallelujah?" In 1929, Hallelujah was one of the first films by MGM, a major studio to have a cast of all African Americans actors.

As it's a film from the early 1930s, there are a few references and stereotypes that may not be pleasant to contemporary audiences. Included in the cast are three notable African American actors of the day. Libby Taylor is Granny and Mona's maid, Miss McKinney is a chorine/showgirl and young Mr. Hoskins plays a jockey. As Irving Thalberg is reported to have said, "movies are a good record of how we once lived."

You can play "Spot Margaret Dumont" while watching Reckless. If you see her before anyone else in the room, a duck will fall from the ceiling, you'll get 30 points -- and two hard boiled eggs.

Those who like sports, especially horse racing and wrestling will enjoy this one. Powell plays a sports promoter. We see great old wrestler Man-Mountain Dean, of course appearing in the wrestling ring. If you're familiar with old wrestlers' names, you'll know him. He was, uncredited, in some other movies like Mighty Joe Young

There's a short video of a wrestling match between Dean and Jumping Joe Savoldi from the 1940s at the end of this article.

The story is about acceptance and overcoming adversity. It's about picking up the pieces and moving forward. There's a lot to read into this movie if you want to do so. If you're a fan of Powell and Harlow it's great to see the two of them together at the beginning of their relationship. 

The reviews that I found were all across the board. There are high and low points, some depends on your taste. See it if you're a fan of Rosalind Russell, May Robson or the designer, Adrian. This movie gets overlooked but it ought to be included and enjoyed by fans.

"Who is That Way about Which?"
Cute little feature from 1936. Even though we see Harlow & Gable on screen,
in real life now Gable likes Lombard and
Harlow likes her ex-husband, Powell...
James Stewart remembers Jean Harlow:

When they made Reckless both Powell and Harlow were big stars. There is a funny quote from James Stewart about acting with Jean Harlow. The quote has been in different books and magazines and I think he's talking about one of her last and best films, Wife vs. Secretary with Clark Gable, Myrna Loy and May Robson.

"She really kissed. Some actresses fake it. Not Jean. I did quite a love scene with her -- long before it became the thing to do on screen. I remember it to this day - we did it six times. And that dress. Yes she was braless and she didn't seem to wear anything under the dress. Well I forgot my lines. That's what I did." 
 -- A wonderful life the films and career of James Stewart by Tony Thomas

Harlow was and is far from the only actress to do this. Tallulah Bankhead was also well known for going without underwear.  Apparently in 2002, actress Glenn Close received a trunk load of lingerie from Armani after she said that she'd attended the label’s Moscow store opening underwear-free.

Ned's First Proposal to Mona: 

"You know how I'd do it, if I was going to do it. I'd cut out all that business about love and can't live without you. Any girl with any sense would know all that anyway. I'd simply say, 'How 'bout it, kid?' Well, how 'bout it, kid? Mona, how 'bout it?" (By now she's fallen asleep and doesn't hear him.)

* Posters, the William Powell, Jean Harlow Reckless promo photo at top of page and some other photos of the stars are available on Amazon.

Popular Books about the subjects:

Libby Holman: Body and Soul by Hamilton Darby Perry

Rosalind Russell Life is a Banquet. There's also a very interesting Life is a Banquet documentary narrated by Kathleen Turner.

 Kid Carolina: R. J. Reynolds Jr., a Tobacco Fortune, and the Mysterious Death of a Southern Icon by Heidi Schnakenberg
This is available on Kindle 

Dreams That Money Can Buy: The Tragic Life of Libby Holman by Jon Bradshaw 

Bright Boulevards, Bold Dreams: The Story of Black Hollywood by Donald Bogle

Encyclopedia of African American Actresses in Film and Television by Bob McCann 

And since there are horses in the film...
Sgt. Reckless: America's War Horse and also:

They Called Her Reckless ... "In skirmishes and firefights, and ultimately in the savage Battle for Outpost Vegas, Reckless showed her bravery and resilience. In that last bloody fight, surpassing all expectations, she hauled ammunition for three days and nights wherever it was needed. For wounds sustained, she was awarded two Purple Hearts. .... She was promoted to sergeant by the commander of the First Marine Division."

 Find books on Harlow, Powell and Lombard listed on pages linked below....

One of Libby Holman's hit songs was Am I Blue?  

Related Pages of Interest:

Sapphire & Emerald Engagement Rings, Princesses Diana and Catherine; Joan Crawford and Elizabeth Taylor, Halle Berry and Penélope Cruz ....

William Powell, Jean Harlow and a diamond ring (Part of a series on Harlow, Powell and Carole Lombard)

The Death of Jean Harlow: Goodnight, my Dearest Darling   

Hume Cronyn: One Life, a Boatload of Characters; Tallulah Bankhead and a situation that arose on the set of Hitchcock's Lifeboat

Jean Harlow was a living doll

Image of Jean Harlow from Reckless
Jean Harlow as Mona Leslie
being questioned by the press

This discontinued doll is from 1993 and apparently kicked off the Barbie Hollywood Legends Collection. She's got platinum hair, said to have all the glamour of a 1930s film star. Jean Harlow sure looked like a living doll in the movie, Reckless.

Tonner gives Joan Crawford some equal time. Robert Tonner Woman of Passion in a chiffon and lace gown with faux leather shoes.  Great 1940s hairstyle, victory rolls.

Especially for the movie memorabilia or Barbie collector, the Barbie Hollywood Premiere Movie Star Collection complements this doll. She looks like Marilyn Monroe and comes in different Marilyn Monroe costumes.

The 1994 introductions to the Hollywood Legends collection were Barbie as Scarlett O’Hara from Gone With the Wind in the Green Drapery and Red dresses. Perfect for this 75th anniversary of Gone With the Wind. 1995 saw more Scarlett O'Hara dolls and the addition of  Barbie Doll as Maria in The Sound of Music and Barbie as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, a film also having its 75th anniversary in 2014.

Looking for Barbie and Ken? Mattel created different Rhett Butler dolls. One is Ken as Rhett Butler, and one is sculpted to look more like Clark Gable as Rhett Butler. There are three dolls in all, in different costumes fashioned after the movie. These are discontinued and only available on the aftermarket.

Mattel makes other dolls, like their Grace Kelly series, sculpted in the likeness of the stars, themselves, fashioning the clothes in great detail just like what both the characters and the actors wore in real life. In Grace Kelly's case, the costumes are modeled after those designed by Edith Head.

Among the many popular new Barbie dolls are the Mad Men dolls, Roger Sterling, Joan Holloway, Don Draper and Betty Draper.

This article is part of the MGM Blogathon: MGM Celebrating 90 Years of Entertainment Read all of the entries!

William Powell shakes hands with Mountain Man Dean in Reckless

Jumping Joe Savoldi played football for Notre Dame and wrestled.
Here he's wrestling  a bearded Mountain Man Dean in the 1940s. Old professional wrestling match.

Sources not cited above

Victor Fleming: An American Movie Master by Michael Sragow
The American Film Institute

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Cary Grant is all American June 26 1942

Archibald Alexander's American Adventure:
June 26, 1942

Happy Birthday, Peter Lorre
When do Errol Flynn & Peter Lorre become US Citizens?

Archie Leach became a U.S. citizen under naturalization certificate no. 5502057
Cary Grant and Barbara Hutton
on June 26, 1942. On that day, he legally changed his name to Cary Grant. 

When Grant was married to his first wife, Virginia Cherrill, Charlie Chaplin's leading lady in the movies, he named his dog (a sealyham) Archibald. 

The dog got lost in 1934 apparently when he was carrying his bride over the threshold. They took out ads to get him back. He used his birth name as a joke, for instance mentioning "Archie Leach" in His Girl Friday.

Cary Grant was born January 18, 1904. He would've been 110 in 2014. A couple of other actors born in 1904 are Ralph Bellamy and Peter Lorre. Bellamy costarred with Grant in The Awful Truth. Lorre costarred with him in Arsenic and Old Lace.

July 16, 1951 Cary Grant leaves hand and footprints and signature in cement
at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre
In mid-July, 1951 Cary Grant added his hand and footprints to Grauman's Chinese Theater during his imprint ceremony. I believe his comedy Room for One More with Betsy Drake was showing at the time.

November 1, 1962 Kirk Douglas puts his footprints in cement but he adds his chin imprint! Did Mr. Grant think of that back in 1951? In 1935, Cary Grant costarred with Jean Harlow in the film, Suzy. For those who like good looking people with cute chins....

July 7, 1988 will be the New York City premiere of A Fish Called Wanda. John Cleese, one of the screenwriters, plays a character named Archie Leach.

In October 1955, a Season 5 episode of I Love Lucy was called Lucy and John Wayne. Lucy and Ethel had stolen John Wayne's footprints from Grauman's Theater and broken them in the process.

What happened when John Barrymore went to add his hand and footprints? Find out below.

Joan Fontaine and Cary Grant
Suspicion 1941 signed 8x10 photo
Cary Grant Marries Barbara Hutton

Cary Grant married Woolworth heiress Barbara Hutton on July 8, 1942. The press nicknamed the couple "Cash & Cary."  She was 30, he was 38 years old. More about their wedding is below.

They had a prenuptial agreement where Grant, unlike other ex-husbands of Ms. Hutton, would refuse any financial settlement if they were to divorce. They remained friends after the divorce.

In 1933, Barbara Hutton married Prince Mdvani

In 1987, Farrah Fawcett starred in the biographical drama TV movie, Poor Little Rich Girl: The Barbara Hutton Story. James Read played Cary Grant.

Grant also received an Oscar nomination for his work in the 1941 film, Penny Serenade.

Peter Lorre becomes US Citizen 1941

Peter Lorre's birthday was June 26, 1904 in Rózsahegy, Austria-Hungary, now Ruzomberok, Slovakia. Lorre became a naturalized citizen of the United States on August 8, 1941. He had first filed his papers for citizenship in 1936. 

It was on that day that he changed his name from László Löwenstein to Peter Lorre. I read that on that day he was exuberant, a "svelte 150 pounds" and "a new man in more ways than one."

Peter Lorre, Sydney Greenstreet 8x10" Photo
In 1942, Lorre made the film Casablanca with Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. In 1941, The Maltese Falcon had been released. This was a great period for Peter Lorre movies.

Errol Flynn Becomes a US Citizen in 1942

Errol Leslie Thomson Flynn was born June 20, 1909 in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia. He would become a US citizen on August 15, 1942. 

Mr. Flynn didn't use his middle names, but his given name apparently was cool enough for him and the studio big shots.

In 1942, Flynn's movies Desperate Journey and Gentleman Jim were released.
The Edge of Darkness appeared early 1943.

Gentleman Jim, Errol Flynn
as heavyweight boxing champion James J. Corbett
fine art poster

John Barrymore's Ceremony Grauman's Chinese Theater 1940: He leaves more than his hand and footprints in cement

"Onlookers cheered as Sid Grauman pushed the left side of John Barrymore's face into the wet concrete. The great profile was recorded for posterity- alongside the foot and handprints of such notables as Mary Pickford, Gloria Swanson, Mickey Rooney, Tom Mix and his horse, Al Jolson and his kneeprints and Joe E. Brown and his mouthprint. Grauman collects such things."
 -- The Evening Independent September 6, 1940


Barbara Hutton and Cary Grant

It's been reported that in 1939/40 Cary Grant "volunteered for service in the Royal Navy but the Foreign Office advised the Admiralty that he, along with several other applicants would be of more use in Hollywood promoting positive images of the British to the American public."
-- Cary Grant: A Class Apart by Graham McCann

There was speculation that Cary Grant would marry model and actress Phyllis Brooks before he started going out with Barbara Hutton.

There's a television series called Great Romances of the 20th Century. They have an installment focusing on Cary Grant and Barbara Hutton. Toward the end of the show it seemed to say that Cary Grant and Dyan Cannon had a son, when in reality they had a daughter. The series overall, like many, is a little hit and miss. 

Cary Grant, Ralph Bellamy, Irene Dunne The Awful Truth
"Grant's agent, Frank Vincent was best man. Mrs. Madeline Hazeltine, wife of the sculptor Herbert Hazeltine, was matron of honor at the five minute ceremony. 

"Miss Hutton wore a film blue afternoon gown. She carried roses. Grant wore a blue suit. Miss Hutton will legally be known as Mrs. Archibald Leach, the real name of her husband. 

"Oddly enough Grant, a native of Bristol, England, is an American citizen. His bride isn't. She lost her citizenship when she married the Count Kurt von Haugwitz-Reventlow of Denmark on May 13 1935, the day after she divorced her first husband, Prince Alexis of the 'marrying Mdivanis.' .... 

"The black haired six footer, Grant one of the most popular actors in Hollywood was married once before to Virginia Cherrill who had been a Charilie Chaplin's leading lady. After seven months of married life she sued for divorce in 1935 charging grant with being sullen morose and stingy. 

"Since then he has become a 100,000-per-picture star. After one of his recent films he gave the entire $100,000 to war relief. He received his final citizenship papers on June 27." 
-- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, July 9, 1942

Hindsight quotes from the actress in the book, Chaplin's Girl: The Life and Loves of Virginia Cherrill, don't paint the Grant in so negative a light. 

One of the shortest YouTube videos I've ever seen shows Cary Grant's saying "The last man to say that to me was Archie Leach, just a week before he cut his throat!" His Girl Friday.

Interesting that it said she'd "legally be known as Mrs. Archibald Leach, the real name of her husband," even thought he'd recently legally changed his name and attained US citizenship. The article though, did have the year of his birth incorrect, saying they were going from a studio press release if I recall correctly, so chances are always good that a reporter goofed.

From everything I've seen and read, Grant never left Archie Leach far behind. He continued to visit Bristol, England. This was partly because his mother still resided there and she lived into her nineties. And it was his hometown. 

There's also the famous line attributed to him, "Everyone wants to be Cary Grant, even I want to be Cary Grant."

Note: There will be a Cary Grant Festival October 11-12, 2014 in his hometown of Bristol England. "A programme of screenings and activities across the city culminates in a glamorous double-bill film gala at the Bristol Hippodrome; the very venue where young Archie Leach got his first taste of acting before reinventing himself as Hollywood screen idol, Cary Grant."


Carole Lombard died in a plane crash on January 16, 1942. She was only 33 years old. Her final film, To Be or Not To Be, co-starring Jack Benny, was about to premiere. Benny was too distraught to go on the air with his radio show on January 18, 1942. They played music during that time slot instead.

The week before Cary Grant became a US citizen, on June 18, 1942: James and Mary McCartney were celebrating the birth of a baby boy born in Walton Hospital, Liverpool, England. They named him James Paul. 


Chaplin's Girl: The Life and Loves of Virginia Cherrill by Miranda Seymour

Evenings With Cary Grant: Recollections in His Own Words and by Those Who Knew Him Best

Cary Grant: A Class Apart by Graham McCann

The Lost One: A Life of Peter Lorre by Stephen Youngkin

Clay Handprint & Footprint Keepsake Photo Wall Frame Just one kind of handprint art you and your kids can create as a keepsake. There are hand print Christmas tree ornaments, too.

Related Pages of Interest:

Cary Grant gives Grace Kelly a wedding gift : A Poodle

Bringing Up Cary Grant and the Oscars

Errol Flynn's 32nd Birthday Party ends in a brawl Barbara Hutton's butler...

Cary Grant, Ralph Bellamy and Peter Lorre would turn 110 in 2014: they are the Super-Centenarians 

The Philadelphia Story came out in 1940

Six movies with disembodied hands

* As with every article posted, the sources are cited whenever possible, and all facts are correct to my knowledge.