Archive for September 6th, 2008

Miriam Hopkins in Ritzy…

Saturday, September 6th, 2008







Many are unaware that Miriam Hopkins had a ten-year career in theatre in the 1920s long before she ever set foot on a film stage. During that time she appeared in her share of hits and flops. Unfortunately Ritzy may be considered in the latter, unless of course, you believe the shows publicity which stated, “Hilarious howls greeted the opening performance of Ernest Truex…” “Received with laughter that grew in volume as the play progressed…”


 The Longacre Theater at 220 West 48th Street, New York


Ritzy premiered at New York’s Longacre Theatre on West 48th Street on February 10, 1930. Besides Hopkins, the cast included Ernest Truex, Katharine Renwick, J. H. Brewer, Josephine Evans, Effie Afton, John Junior and Sidney Riggs. It was written and directed by Sidney Toler who later gained fame playing Charlie Chan in films.



SYNOPSIS: Edgar and Nancy Smith (Truex and Hopkins) are discovered in their one-room-and-visible-bath suite in a New York Hotel. It looks like an ordinary Smith day with Edgar getting the breakfast, taking a shower, raising the blinds and talking with his wife about hope for a raise.


Then comes Lawyer Peabody (J. H. Brewer) with news that the late Uncle Peter has left Mrs. Smith $200,000. Edgar throws up his job and both go shopping for country homes. They ask some old friends in for a celebration dinner – and leave them flat when the Jackson Potters of Park Avenue ask them over for a cocktail. The friends spend a miserable time waiting and drinking, and when the Smiths finally arrive Edgar is accused of being ritzy.


Up pops Peabody with the long expected news, that there has been a mistake. With no money and no job, the  Smith’s are properly crestfallen, until Edgar’s  ex-boss telephones to offer him $25,000 a year and a $20,000 commission on the insurance Edgar sold to Jackson Potter.





 Theatre program for “Ritzy” (click on image to enlarge)




“Miriam Hopkins, as fetching as ever, had good opportunity to parade in some lovely, becoming frocks, pajamas and… Mr. Sumner,… chemise.” – Theatre Magazine, April 1930


“Miriam Hopkins gives a deft and persuasive performance as the young wife…” – unsourced


“As a study of how to spend 200,000 non-existant dollars, its trifling plot (which brewed busily but not so merrily for two hours) hardly needed the services of two players as competent as Mr. Truex and Miss Hopkins, though what it would have done without them is also something of a problem.” – New York Times, February 11, 1930


“Miriam Hopkins, as Mrs. Smith, is attractive in several sets of underwear and pajamas.” – unsourced



I am currently working on a biography of Miriam Hopkins. If you have any information on her or you know someone that knew her, please contact me at: Thank you.



Harry Chandler Estate…

Saturday, September 6th, 2008


Harry Chandler chose Los Feliz as the site for his 24-room estate




The two-story, red-brick home has eight bedrooms and four bathrooms. There’s also a pool and a one-bedroom guesthouse.

By Diane Wedner
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
September 7, 2008


Harry Chandler, a major 20th century mover and shaker, newspaper publisher and Los Angeles real estate mogul, was instrumental in the development of the San Fernando Valley and Hollywood. He also helped launch a number of L.A. landmarks, such as the Ambassador Hotel and the California Institute of Technology.


When it came to building his own home, the Los Angeles Times publisher — from 1917 until his death in 1944 — chose five acres in the Los Feliz area, the hilly terrain at the southern end of Griffith Park. Among the first notables to settle in the architecturally significant neighborhood (director Cecil B. DeMille bought a home there in 1914), Chandler chose a lot with unobstructed views of the parkland and burgeoning metropolis. Construction of his estate, which began in 1914, was completed in 1916. Chandler’s wife, Marian, lived there until her death in the 1950s.



The 24-room Georgian-style manor, noted for its grand-scale architecture, red-brick construction, high-pitched slate roof and massive brick chimneys, features a two-story entry hall as large as the lobby of an opera house or theater. One wing of the house was designated for guests and staff, the other for family members. The gated estate has views of Santa Catalina Island, Century City, Glendale, Griffith Park (including the observatory) and downtown L.A.