Archive for August 5th, 2008

Happy Birthday Anita Page…

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008

HAPPY ‘BELATED’ BIRTHDAY

Anita Page

 

 

“I must say that I enjoyed being a movie star, but I have never had to look back. My life has been happy, rewarding and fruitful. Today I still receive fan mail and applause from fans all over the world and it gives me a warm feeling to know that I am remembered after all these years. It has been a pleasant life… what more could I ask for?”

— Anita Page, 1994

 

By Allan R. Ellenberger 

 

“The King,” Clark Gable compared her to the beautiful Grace Kelly. Talk show host, Jack Paar spoke of her to his late night viewers as his “dream girl.” Italian dictator, Benito Mussolini, hounded the studios for years for a photograph of her, and Prince Ferdinand of Germany would not stop until she agreed to go out on a date with him.

           

Anita Page, the object of desire for all these men, (and more) was a bright star in the Hollywood heavens for more than seven years. Of that, five of those years were at the legendary Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer-Studios, where she appeared in twenty-one films. With numerous public appearances, and friendships with many of Hollywood’s most celebrated people, Page secured a career that is legendary in its own right.

  

RECOLLECTIONS OF A PAST BIRTHDAY

            

Yesterday, August 4, was the 98th birthday of Anita Page. I first met Anita in 1993 while researching my book, Ramon Novarro: A Biography of the Silent Film Idol. Anita costarred with Ramon Novarro in The Flying Fleet (1929) and was one of his last living co-stars, so naturally I was thrilled when she agreed to meet with me.

 

That same year, on her 83rd birthday, I was invited to join her family, friends and former costars at what was then called the St. James Hotel, on the renowned Sunset Strip. Once known as the Sunset Towers, it was at one time the home to countless Hollywood stars and executives, including Anita’s first husband, composer Nacio Herb Brown, who lived in the penthouse.

            

The guest list that evening looked like a Hollywood Who’s Who and included Cesar Romero, Milton Berle, Hugh Heffner, Margaret O’Brien, Betty Garrett and Mel Torme, to name a few. They all came to toast one of the last remaining silent film stars from that once great studio, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

 

Hugh Heffner, who is a silent film fan, recalled that Anita “fell down the stairs well,” referring to her bravura performance in the hit Our Dancing Daughters (1928), which put Anita on top.

            

Hefner, who has helped to preserve old films said, “Well, I think one of the things that are fascinating — because of the technology — things are being reproduced on laser and tape and there’s a kind of rediscovery. I suspect as we move into the next millennium, this last century will be seen as very special. It’s really the dividing point in which the magic of an era has been captured and saved and I suspect as we move forward, the past is going to look better and better.”

            

Betty Garrett, who costarred in such films as On The Town and My Sister Eileen, recalled going to the movies as a child with her mother and spoke about the way movies used to be. “I became a movie fan in those days,” Betty recalled. “I saw Anita’s films and adored her. We’re all longing for movies the way they used to be. I don’t know what there was about them that was so intriguing – maybe it was because it was a new industry. It was so exciting to see a movie in those days. It was magic.”

            

Cesar Romero told everyone gathered that, “Her legs are just as beautiful today as when she was a top MGM star!”

            

Anita’s husband of fifty-four years, Admiral Herschel House, died in 1991 but Anita told the packed room that evening that her beloved husband was there in spirit. “I thought I’d never, never get over it. And I never will,” Anita said. “But I appreciate the beautiful daughters he gave me.”

            

“Mother left the business for many, many years, but people didn’t forget,” her oldest daughter Sandra said. “She had a combination of sweetness and sensuality. It’s what Marilyn had and it’s what Harlow had. It seems to be quite a good combination. She has all different ages of people that love her and remember her. It’s been a complete resurgence, and she’s so happy about it.”

            

At that time, Anita had a resurgence of her popularity, making personal appearances at film festivals, and taking time to answer her mail from a new generation of fans. As Margaret O’Brien said that evening, “That’s the wonderful thing about Hollywood. You can always come back!”

  

EMAIL ME: hollywoodland23@aol.com

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Miriam Hopkins on TCM…

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008

TURNER CLASSIC MOVIES

Lady With Red Hair (1940)

 

 Miriam Hopkins as Mrs. Leslie Carter

TCM

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

1:30 a.m. Pacific
4:30 a.m. Eastern

  

In the wee hours of tomorrow morning, Turner Classic Movies is showing the Miriam Hopkins bio-pic, The Lady with Red Hair (1940) with co-star Claude Rains. There are top-notch performances from the cast, along with quality production values and an outstanding directorial effort by Kurt Bernhardt, which are the distinctive features of this screen recreation of the career of stage actress, Mrs. Leslie Carter.

 

The film embraces the life of Mrs. Carter from the time of her famous divorce trial in Chicago, in which she lost the custody of her son, through her determination to become an actress to earn the money needed to reopen the fight for her child, her storming of the Belasco citadel, his creation of her success and the violent break between them, to their ultimate reconciliation, at the crucial moment of her career.

   

 

 

 

 

THE REAL

Mrs. Leslie Carter

(1862-1937)

 

Mrs. Leslie Carter (née Caroline Louise Dudley) was born in 1862 in Louisville, Kentucky, and died in 1937 in Santa Monica, California. Termed the “Bernhardt of America” at the turn of the century, Mrs. Carter was an international stage star of the “emotional” school of acting. She achieved her greatest fame in a quartet of plays produced between 1895 and 1905 under the direction of Director/Playwright David Belasco.

 

As the tempestuous Mrs. Carter, Miriam Hopkins gives a vivid and fascinating portrayal in an exacting and difficult role. But it is Claude Rains, who, for his magnificent and powerful delineation of the tempermental David Belasco, that top performance honors are accorded. Superlative too is Helen Westley’s portrait of the hard-boiled proprietress of a theatrical boarding house who knows all the answers.

   

 

While researching my biography of the life of Miriam Hopkins, I delved through the Warner Bros. Archives and came across the daily production log sheets that were kept during the making of “Lady with Red Hair.” Reproduced below is a one-day report during that production:

 

 

 

 

WARNER BROS. PICTURES, INC.

BURBANK, CALIFORNIA

 _______________

 INTER-OFFICE COMMUNICATION

 

 

 

To Mr. T. C. Wright

From Mr. Eric Stacey

Date: October 3, 1940

Subject: #326 “LADY WITH RED HAIR”

 

Report for 10-2-40:

 

 

Bernhardt company with a 9:00 o’clock call in the PRIVATE DINING ROOM, obtained their first shot at 9:15AM and finished shooting at 6:20PM, covering one scene, 6 added scenes, 3’47” in time, 16 set-ups and 5-1/2 pages of dialogue.

 

As already reported, Miss HOPKINS failed to show for work this morning and company has been moved to Vitagraph where they will endeavor to pick up a few shots involving RAINS and JOHN LITEL in the last sequence, which is still being rewritten. We have the writer, Charles Kenyon, over at Vitagraph to keep Bernhardt straight.

 

I have just talked with Miss HOPKINS who will not be in for the balance of the day, and will not even come in for fittings. In the event she does not report for work tomorrow, FRIDAY, will remain at Vitagraph and shoot audience reactions, using 125 people. This will be a full day’s work and then also shoot one page of BACKSTAGE – Murray Production sequence – not involving Miss HOPKINS. The scene just came out this morning, OCTOBER 3RD.

 

This delay will put us one more day behind, and cannot hope to complete the picture before WEDNESDAY, 10/9, which will be 14 days behind schedule, with two additional days, THURSDAY and FRIDAY, for Montages and audience reactions, to be made by Siegel.

 

Production 10-1/2 days behind.

 

ERIC STACY

 

ES-FS

 

VERBAL MESSAGES CAUSE MISUNDERSTANDING AND DELAYS

(PLEASE PUT THEM IN WRITING)

 

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Brooks & Dunn on Walk of Fame…

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008

Brooks & Dunn get Hollywood Walk of Fame star

 

Kix Brooks, left, and Ronnie Dunn, right, pose by their star, as Robin and Dr. Phil McGraw look on. (Photo provided by Charley Gallay / Getty Images)
 
tennessean.com
 
 
 

 

Country superduo Brooks & Dunn today received yet another honor: They got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the walk’s 2,367th.

 

The duo – which has won the Country Music Association vocal duo of the year award every year except one since 1992 – got their star during a ceremony that featured their friends Dr. Phil and Robin McGraw as guest speakers.

 

Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn currently have the No. 5 song on the Billboard Hot Country Song with “Put A Girl In It,” from their latest album Cowboy Town.

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Mary-Kate Won’t Talk…

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008

UPDATE

Mary-Kate Olsen won’t talk to investigators about Heath Ledger’s drugs

 

By Sarah Knapton
05 Aug 2008

 

Olsen’s lawyer Michael C Miller has twice declined requests from the Drug Enforcement Administration to speak to the actress, claiming his client had nothing to do with the drugs.  (click on ‘Continue Reading’ for more)

 

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