wordpress visitor

Visiting the final sites of Rudolph Valentino’s life and death

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on May 22nd, 2015
2015
May 22

RUDOLPH VALENTINO

Visiting the final sites of Rudolph Valentino’s life and death

.

cover-valentino-pp

.

.

By Allan R. Ellenberger

.

During a recent visit to New York I stopped at some sites related to Rudolph Valentino at the end of his life. Specifically, the former Polyclinic Hospital where the screen-idol died and St. Malachy’s Catholic Church where his funeral was held.

.

.

polyclinic

The picture on the left is the Polyclinic Hospital as it appeared circa 1926.

On the right is how the building appears today.

.

New York’s Polyclinic Hospital and Medical College (345 West 50th Street, between Eighth and Ninth Avenues), where Rudolph Valentino died, played host to the ills of many prominent people over the years. Actress Mary Pickford, gangster Arnold Rothstein, singer Peggy Lee, and Marilyn Monroe are only a few of the famous folks who passed through these doors. After Valentino’s death, the 334-bed hospital remained politically and financially strong, and continued to function for decades as a totally independent hospital. A merger with the French Hospital in 1972, however, paved the way for bankruptcy and its eventual closing in 1976, fifty years after Valentino’s death. The former hospital building, while still standing, is now residential. The eight-floor suite where Valentino died is most likely reconfigured. Still, the windows on the east side (showing above), though some are bricked up, remain visible.

.

.

stmalachis

The photo on the left is the Valentino funeral procession leaving St. Malachy’s Church.

On the right is how the church appears today.

.

Founded in 1903, St. Malachys Catholic Church (239 East 49th Street, between Eighth Avenue and Broadway), today known as “the Actor’s Chapel,” still ministers to Broadway’s Catholic actor. Valentino’s New York funeral was held here, as was the 1929 marriage of Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., to Joan Crawford.

.

.

valentino-stmalachiinside

The interior of St. Malachy’s Church

.

valentino-candle

.

While visiting St. Malachy’s, I lit a candle in Rudolph Valentino’s memory. I am not of the Catholic persuasion s0 I hope I broke no laws.

____________________________________

.

Mina Crolius Gleason, Mother of actor James Gleason

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on May 10th, 2015
2015
May 10

HOLLYWOOD FOREVER CEMETERY

Mina Crolius Gleason, Mother of actor James Gleason

.

gleason-mina

MINA CROLIUS GLEASON

.

By Allan R. Ellenberger

.

On this Mother’s Day we remember Mina Crolius Gleason, the mother of playwright and actor, James Gleason.

.
Born Arabella Crolius on June 9, 1858, in Boston, her family had been in the theater for generations. She was on the stage as a child, appearing with her four brothers and sisters at the historic Castle Square Stock Company Theater.

.

Following her marriage to William Lawrence Gleason, she went on tour with him in Charles Frohman’s road shows. Later, the couple appeared in stock at Oakland and at Elitch’s Gardens in Denver.

.

.

gleason-james

.

.
Her son, James Gleason, was one of the most successful American playwrights and actors, in stage and films. Gleason made an impression in roles in such films as Meet John Doe, Here Comes Mr. Jordan and The Bishop’s Wife. He made his debut on the stage as a 4-months-old baby carried in his mother’s arms.

.
In April, 1927, Gleason wrote a part in The Shannons of Broadway especially for his mother, but she fractured a hip while stepping down from a train at Gallup, New Mexico. She was unable to act in the play, although her son postponed the production on her account.

.
Now an invalid, Mina was confined to her home at 117 North Maple Drive in Beverly Hills. On June 26, 1931, she was rushed to the Osteopathic Hospital and it was there she died the following day from heart disease. She was 73.

.

.

DC-gleason-mina2

Mina Gleason’s death certificate

.
Mina’s funeral was held at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Beverly Hills with interment, along with her husband’s ashes, at Hollywood Cemetery (Section 8, in the vicinity of John Huston).

.

.

gleason-mina

_________________________________

.

The Story of the Sacketts of Hollywood

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Apr 26th, 2015
2015
Apr 26

HOLLYWOOD PIONEERS

.

sacketts-title

.

Above: The extended Sackett family in front of the Sackett Hotel, in 1898. From left to right: Betsy Otis, H.D. Sackett‘s aunt; Mrs. Sackett; Lyman Hathaway, cousin of Mary Sackett; William H. Sackett; unknown; Mary Sackett; Zella Sackett, married to George Dunlap; unknown; Lilly ? ; Dora Miller. (LAPL)

.

.

By Allan R. Ellenberger

.
Horace David Sackett, whose family came to America from England in 1831, was born in Blandford, Massachusetts on December 29, 1843, the son of Leverett and Mary Culver Sackett. When he was eighteen years old, he went to Suffield, Connecticut and started a flourishing general merchandise and farming business that lasted for several years.

.
On January 15, 1873, Sackett married Ellen Minerva Lyman (b. July 24, 1848) and became the parents of five children, Mary Mariah (b. July 8, 1875), William (b. June 22, 1876), Warren Lyman (b. August 30, 1882), Zella Myra (b. June 11, 1883), and Emily (b. March 1885).

.
Sackett was a squat, spare, busy man with a short beard. He was cheerful and kindly but firm in his convictions. In 1887, with $10,000 in his pocket, he left Connecticut with his family and moved to Los Angeles. There he heard about land in the North Cahuenga Valley being subdivided for business and residential purposes. This new development called Hollywood was without lights, telephones, paved streets or other modern improvements.

.
The developer, Harvey Henderson Wilcox and his wife Daeida was looking for men willing to build up the area and attract new residents. Sackett’s daughter Mary recalled that her family was one of the first families in the area. “Mr. Wilcox subdivided his 160-acre ranch and named it Hollywood,” Mary recalled years later. “Both our families settled down there in May, 1888 when I was 12.”

.
Each lot was going for a fixed price of $1,000 each. But Wilcox gave Sackett, free of charge, three sixty-five foot lots facing the assigned business area at Cahuenga Avenue and the southwest corner of Prospect (now Hollywood Boulevard), if Sackett made certain improvements before the dummy line (the old steam engine with the open car) reached Wilcox Avenue.

.

.

sackett-store2

.

.
By 1888, the railroad was functioning, and Sackett built on the corner a three-story hotel building (above) of wood with a mansard roof, consisting of a corner store, and Prospect Avenue lobby and parlor. Behind that was the culinary department. The stairway from the lobby led to the two stories with their eighteen rooms and a bathroom. Behind the hotel was a barn and corral, and surrounding the store and lobby front was a cypress hedge and two-year-old pepper trees planted by Wilcox, which gave the place a very cozy appearance.

.
Here the Sacketts ran the first hotel in the Cahuenga Valley and the second general merchandising establishment within the corporate limits of Hollywood. He also kept a few horses for his clientele and to work the blocks east and south of the store, where he had a garden to sell produce in his store.

.
He later bought the lot south of the hotel and also two lots facing west on Wilcox Avenue, and south of the two northern lots in the row. Here he ran an overnight and breakfast place for city visitors from the north and the bachelors’ roost for the young single men of the village. At his store, Sackett sold butter and eggs, crackers and cheese, overalls, jumpers, boots and shoes, ribbons and yardage, and canned goods that were then becoming popular.

.
Another Hollywood pioneer associated with the hotel was Dr. Edwin O. Palmer, who later wrote a history of the area. Upon his arrival in California, he rented a room and an office for his medical practice.

.
Sackett’s daughter, Mary and her siblings, attended the old Temple Street School through grade school but didn’t go to high school because it was downtown, and they couldn’t get there on time. Later, Sackett added another store, where in a corner nook constituted Hollywood’s post office; Mary became Hollywood’s first postmistress, running her practiced eye over the little rack of boxes. For her duties, Mary was paid as high as $5 per month.

.
Tragedy hit the Sackett family in 1899 when his son, William died unexpectedly at 23 years of age and was buried at Rosedale, as there would not be a cemetery in Hollywood for another two years.

.
Due to competition from the new Hollywood Hotel, built two years earlier at the northwest corner of Prospect and Highland, Sackett closed his hotel in 1905. He sold the property to Henry Gillig, but it remained unoccupied for the next five years except for one store room on the first floor.

.
In 1907, Sackett built a six bedroom house on property he had previously bought at what is now 1642 Wilcox Avenue. Later that same year, in the reception hall of their home, Sackett’s daughter Zella married George Dunlap. He was the mayor of Hollywood at the time, and the city’s last as Los Angeles annexed Hollywood in 1910.

.
In 1910, J.P. Creque, one of the wealthiest men in Hollywood, bought the former hotel property for $28,000 from the estate of Henry Gillig, who was now deceased. Creque razed the abandoned hotel and erected a fireproof two-story cream brick structure that cost approximately $30,000. The Hollywood National Bank leased a portion of the new building; there were three other stores facing on Prospect. The second floor had offices with wide hallways and tile flooring.

.

.

sackett-loc-building

The J.P. Creque Building being built in 1911 on the site of the Sackett Hotel

at the southwest corner of Hollywood and Cahuenga.

.

In 1931, the Creque Building was enlarged by adding two stories; the Art Deco building at 6400-6408 Hollywood Boulevard, is still on the site.

.

.

sacketts-now

The Creque Building as it appears today on the site of the Sackett Hotel.

.
Now retired from the mercantile business, Sackett devoted himself to the management of his private interests and several properties that he owned. He took an active part in the public affairs of Hollywood and Los Angeles for many years and was a man of ability and worth. He was a staunch democrat and was interested in politics, especially in local matters.

.
It was in their Wilcox Avenue home that Horace Sackett died in 1918 and was buried next to his son at Rosedale. In 1929, his wife Ellen followed him in death at the age of eighty from heart disease.

.
At the time of Ellen’s death, the area around Hollywood Boulevard and Wilcox was mostly commercial, and land was being bought for business purposes. Mary Sackett was living in the family home, but instead of demolishing the house, she sold the property in 1929 but moved the house to the San Fernando Valley which was mostly residential.

.
Remarkably, the old Sackett house is still standing at 10739 Kling Street in North Hollywood. The 1908 residence looks somewhat out of place next to the small bungalow homes built mostly in the 1930s.

.

.

sacketts-home-now

The altered, but original Horace Sackett home, once located at 1642 Wilcox Avenue

in Hollywood, is now at 10739 Kling Street in North Hollywood.

PLEASE NOTE: This is a private residence. DO NOT DISTURB the occupants.

.

sacketts-home-now-back

.

.

sacketts-wilcox

On Wilcox, a row of storefronts still stands in place of the old Sackett homestead.

.
Mary Sackett never married and in her old age claimed that she never touched liquor, tea or coffee. “I’m an old maid and proud of it,” she insisted to a reporter in 1950. “I’ve never worn a bit of make-up, yet I had three proposals. Men have taken me out but usually with a chaperone. I wouldn’t let them kiss me good-night and to this day no man has ever been allowed to put his arm around me.”

.
In 1954, at the age of 78, Mary appeared on an episode of the  You Bet Your Life television show with host Groucho Marx and laughingly ruffled the comedians feathers. She asked Groucho to put away his trademark cigar, either lit or unlit, and he grudgingly complied.

.

.

sacket-groucho

Mary Sackett, 74, spars with comedian Groucho Marx on “You Bet Your Life.”

Click HERE to watch the episode. Mary’s segment begins at 18:45

.
When asked if a man might yet come along and sweep her off her feet, Mary replied, “Not a chance. I’m too set in my ways. I don’t want any man cluttering up my house.” When Mary died on January 31, 1969 at age 93 in Rosemead, California, she was the last remaining Sackett. She was buried in the family plot at Rosedale Cemetery.

.

.

sackett-grave1

.

.

sackett-grave2

The Sackett family grave marker at Rosedale Cemetery.

________________________________________

.

Hollywood: Then & Now–Rollin Lane house; now the Magic Castle

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Apr 11th, 2015
2015
Apr 11

HOLLYWOOD: THEN & NOW

Rollin P. Lane house; now The Magic Castle

.

magiccastlethen

.

.

magiccastlenow

.

7001 FRANKLIN AVENUE, HOLLYWOOD

.

The Magic Castle website

_____________________________

Presentacion Urquidez Lopez; her family was the first in Hollywood

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Feb 15th, 2015
2015
Feb 15

HOLLYWOOD FOREVER CEMETERY

Presentacion Urquidez Lopez; her family was the first in Hollywood

.

 outpostadobe

.

By Allan R. Ellenberger

.

Born in 1842, Presentacion Urquidez was the fifth child of Don Tomas Urquidez and his third wife, Ramona Candida Vejar. Don Urquidez, who was born in Santo Tomas Mission, Lower California, arrived in Los Angeles at the age of twenty-five. Urquidez was the first Spanish resident of what would eventually be known as Hollywood, and his cattle and horses roamed far over the southern slopes of the Cahuenga Valley. Annually he celebrated the fiesta of “The Sign of the Cross,” with its praying, dancing, horse racing, and barbecue with the pure native wines and brandies.

.

In 1853 Don Urquidez built the first house in what would be Hollywood (see photo above), an adobe and wood building that had its roof insulated with brea brought from the nearby tar pits. It was located in an old Native American graveyard on the northwest corner of Franklin and Sycamore Avenues.

.

On October 21, 1861, Presentacion married Jose Claudio Tranquilino Lopez at the Plaza Church in downtown Los Angeles. Afterward, festivities lasting eight days were held at their famous adobe in Hollywood.

.

Through various causes, the family lost its vast estates. Old and blind, Don Tomas returned from the celebration of the Eve of St. John at the San Gabriel Mission to find himself disposed of his beloved adobe. Later their home was bought by General Harrison Gray Otis, founder of the Los Angeles Times and was renamed The Outpost.

.

Presentacion would bear her husband Jose at least five children, and Carmen Avenue in Hollywood was named after one of them. In her old age, Presentacion remembered General John C. Fremont and much of the local history of the time and was one of the few remaining representatives of the time when most of this section was owned by the Spanish.

.

The evening before her death on September 8, 1908, Presentacion entertained a group of old friends until late in the morning, smoking her favorite cigarettes and talking about old times. She was weak and feeble, and after the last friend had gone, called for a final cigarette and was surprised that she was too weak to inhale the fumes. Sinking back on her couch, she turned her glance upward, gave a loud happy laugh and died with a smile on her lips. Two sons and a daughter and a large number of grandchildren survived her.

.

.

lopez-presentacion

At the end of her life, she claimed to not know her real age which

probably explains the wrong date on her tombstone.

.

Before her burial in Hollywood Cemetery, the funeral was held at the Blessed Sacrament Church on the southeast corner of Prospect Avenue (now Hollywood Boulevard) and Cherokee Avenue. Her tombstone reads, “En Paz Descanse” or “Rest in Peace.” Her grave is located in the northeast corner of the cemetery (where the older graves are) and about two rows from the wall.

_____________________________________

.

Katharine Hepburn on the cover…

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Feb 14th, 2015
2015
Feb 14

FAN MAGAZINE COVER

Katharine Hepburn

.

cover-hepburnB

_________________________________

.

Lizabeth Scott for Wohl Shoe Company

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Feb 7th, 2015
2015
Feb 7

CELEBRITY ENDORSEMENTS

Lizabeth Scott for Wohl Shoe Company

.

AD-scott-lizabeth

______________________________

.

Lizabeth Scott Obituary

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Feb 7th, 2015
2015
Feb 7

OBITUARY

Lizabeth Scott dies at 92; sultry leading woman of film noir

.

 scott2

.

By David Colker
Los Angeles Times
February 6, 2015

.

Actress Lizabeth Scott, whose sultry looks and smoky voice led many a man astray in 1940s and ’50s film noir, died Jan. 31 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. She was 92.

.

CLICK HERE to continue reading the Los Angeles Times obituary for Lizabeth Scott

_______________________________

.

The Miriam Hopkins Blogathon…

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Jan 24th, 2015
2015
Jan 24

MIRIAM HOPKINS

The Miriam Hopkins Blogathon

.

hopkins-blogathon

.

I’m pleased to announce The Miriam Hopkins Blogathon being hosted by Silver Screenings and A Small Press Life / Font & Frock websites on January 22–25, 2015. The Blogathon has been running for a couple days now but still check it out and all the great articles written about the fabulous Miriam Hopkins. The following is from the Silver Screenings website:

.

“We are so excited, we can hardly contain ourselves – and for Two Big Reasons!

.

“Firstly, you’re invited to help us celebrate one of the most remarkable actresses in Classic Hollywood: the fabulous Miriam Hopkins. The blogathon will run January 22-25, 2015, and we’d love to have you join us.

.

“Secondly, we’re excited to be co-hosting this event with our über-chic friend Maedez of A Small Press Life. But that ain’t the half of it! This blogathon with correspond with the launch of her new movie blog, Font and Frock, in January, 2015.”

.

So read what other bloggers are saying about Miriam Hopkins and check back here for more updates on my  biography of the actress!

_____________________________________

.

Clara Bow’s Childhood Home

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Jan 18th, 2015
2015
Jan 18

CHILDHOOD HOMES: THEN & NOW

Clara Bow’s childhood home

.

bow-portrait

.

857 73rd STREET, BROOKLYN, NEW YORK

.

bow-house4

.

.

On the second floor of this unpretentious house at 857 73rd Street, Brooklyn, New York, lived the Bows in 1922. Clara Bow was then a school girl. Her father worked in Coney Island. Her mother was a bed-ridden invalid. The little red-head mailed a cheap postcard picture of herself to several motion picture magazines then conducting a contest. The winner was to be given a screen opportunity. Clara Bow won.

 __________________________________

.

Next »

  • RSS Feed