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“Halloween’s” 30th Anniversary…

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Oct 31st, 2008
2008
Oct 31

30th ANNIVERSARY OF

Halloween

  

 

THE ‘HALLOWEEN’ HOUSES

 

Two of the original houses from the 1978 hit film Halloween, starring Jaime Lee Curtis, are on Orange Grove Avenue, a tree-lined street in Hollywood. Many of the other locations in the film can be found in Pasadena and Alhambra.

 

 

Allan Ellenberger photo

 

 

 

1537 North Orange Grove Avenue,

Hollywood, California

 

In the film this was the Wallace residence where the murder of Laurie’s (Jaime Lee Curtis) best friend, Annie, took place. The house has changed as the garage on the left has been added since the film was made.

 

  

 

Allan Ellenberger photo

 

 

 

1530 North Orange Grove Avenue,

Hollywood, California

 

Across the street is the Doyle residence, where Laurie was baby-sitting Tommy. The house has changed very little in the last 30 years. The brick pillars are still in the front, however, there are now hedges between them. In the film, the children can be seen running out of the house and between the pillars and onto the street.

 

 

Watch a trailer from the hit 1978 film, Halloween!

 

PLEASE NOTE: These are private homes! Do not trespass on the property,
knock on their doors, or do anything else that might disturb the residents!

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Saving What Remains of the Laemmle Building…

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Oct 31st, 2008
2008
Oct 31

Preservationists try to block demolition of Basque nightclub

  

INCARNATIONS: Gregory Paul Williams stands at Hollywood and Vine with a photo of the building he and other preservationists are trying to save. Originally the Coco Tree Cafe, it became Melody Lane, then Hody’s Restaurant.

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1939 renovation eliminated much of the architect’s design, as well as the building’s historical significance, city council finds. The site was damaged in an April fire that remains unsolved.

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By Bob Pool
October 31, 2008

 

Preservationists hoping to save the facade of a Richard Neutra-designed building at Hollywood’s most famous corner have been told they are 70 years too late to stop demolition.

 

Workers are removing the remains of the Basque nightclub, which was gutted about six months ago by a mysterious predawn fire at the intersection of Hollywood and Vine.

 

The owner of the site ordered the tear-down after deciding that the damaged building was a safety hazard and that a 1939 remodel of the place had erased all evidence of Neutra’s styling.   (Click on ‘Continue Reading’ for more)

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Continue Reading »

Griffith Park’s Designation…

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Oct 30th, 2008
2008
Oct 30

Griffith Park finally gets its due

.
Los Angeles Times
October 30, 2008

Observatory It was a big day for Griffith Park boosters today. The Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission decided today that the park should receive historic-cultural monument status.

 

The commission voted 3 to 1 to forward the park’s application to the City Council, which must give final approval for the designation.

 

At 4,218 acres, Griffith Park would be the nation’s largest historic monument. It was donated to the city 112 years ago by Col. Griffith Jenkins Griffith, who stipulated that the land be public open space for recreation and relaxation.

 

The colonel’s great-grandson Griffith Van Griffith applied for the designation earlier this year, citing the need to prevent commercial development and to preserve the park as his great-grandfather intended.

 

“I’m very happy,” Griffith said in a phone interview after the commission’s decision. “[My great-grandfather] would be ecstatic…. He didn’t want to turn it into an amusement park. I just want it to be like any other normal neighborhood park…. Where else can you go and get away in the middle of the city?”

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Ramon Novarro Tribute…

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Oct 30th, 2008
2008
Oct 30

TRIBUTE

Ramon Novarro

 

 

“I wonder sometimes when people congratulate me upon my performance in Ben-Hur how much that performance would have mattered had I had a fat stomach.”

 — Ramon Novarro

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Today is the 40th anniversary of the death of silent film actor, Ramon Novarro. In remembrance of him, the following is a brief account of how he received the role of Ben-Hur.

 

 By Allan R. Ellenberger

 

When actor George Walsh was cast to play the title role in the Goldwyn production of Ben-Hur, Ramon Novarro was devastated. He wanted to play the part so much he could taste it. But when the studios of Metro, Goldwyn, and Mayer merged and Ben-Hur’s director, screenwriter, and Walsh himself were sent packing, Ramon didn’t allow himself the luxury of thinking he had a second chance.

 

That all changed one Sunday afternoon in June when MGM production chief Irving Thalberg called Novarro at his home. He told the actor he had something important to discuss with him and asked that he report to the studio immediately. Novarro drove to Culver City and went to Thalberg’s office, where the “Boy Wonder” got right to the point, asking the 25-year-old actor if he would like to play Ben-Hur.

 

Ramon was, of course, both shocked and delighted and replied that he would. But Thalberg had one request – that Novarro make a screen test. Putting his entire future on the line, Ramon refused the youthful mogul. “Why not?” Thalberg demanded.

 

Ramon reasoned that Thalberg was concerned about his physique and explained that his body was in good shape. If he had any doubts, all he had to do was screen his recent film, Where the Pavement Ends, throughout which Ramon is half-naked.

 

Thalberg smiled and agreed, respecting Ramon’s bluntness and honesty. He then instructed him to keep his casting a secret for now. He would be leaving for New York the next day, and no one must know. Novarro was on top of the world. His dream was at last coming true; the role of a lifetime belong to him.

 

The following morning a studio limo picked up Novarro at his home and whisked him to the Pasadena train station. Waiting there were MGM mogul Louis B. Mayer, writers Carey Wilson and Bess Meredyth, attorney J. Robert Rubin and his wife Reba, director Fred Niblo and his wife, actress Enid Bennett, and Photoplay correspondent Herb Howe.

 

In New York, the group was greeted by Marcus Loew, head of MGM. Loew told Ramon to answer all reporter inquiries with the explanation that he was going on vacation. Just as Loew had predicted, reporters were at the dock, questioning everyone. They were naturally suspicious as to why so many MGM employees were traveling to Europe. Fred Niblo fibbed a little, saying he was going to shoot some French exteriors for his recent film with Novarro called The Red Lily and then go on to Monte Carlo to begin his next picture with Norma Talmadge.

 

The night before, director Marshall Neilan and wife, actress Blanche Sweet, sailed for France on the Olympic to make The Sporting Venus. The reporters knew the problems that the studio was having in Italy on the set of Ben-Hur, and that only fueled more rumors that either Neilan or Niblo was going to take over director’s duties from Charles Brabin.

 

As they were waiting to leave on the steamship the Leviathan, frequent Novarro costar Alice Terry arrived to see their departure. Ramon and Alice did an embrace for the cameras which rivaled anything they had done on the screen. At the last minute, Mayer, who was staying behind, gave some words of instruction to Niblo – “Be sure to have a lot of camels in the picture.”

 

After Ramon received farewell telegrams from Thalberg and actress and close friend Barbara La Marr, the ship pulled up anchor and made its way to Europe. As the ship passed the Statue of Liberty, Novarro may have stared at the beautiful lady in the harbor and pondered his future, and the events which led to this, the crossroads of his life.

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Click HERE to watch the chariot scene from Ben-Hur (1925)

 

Comments by friends and co-workers:

  

“Ramon was apparently everything I had been told, but my informants, sleuths and guides who led me to the stage where he was working, had neglected to tabulate his greatest attribute, his sense of humor.”

 Elsie Janis, vaudeville performer and friend

  

“Ramon Novarro was a real Latin heartbreaker. Everywhere he went the women trailed him like a bunch of dogs chasing a bitch in heat. Funny how much of an animal we really are and we try so damned hard to always deny and hide that relationship.”

 Florence “Pancho” Barnes, aviatrix and friend

 

“I loved Ramon; he was one of my dearest friends. Whenever he came to London, we would walk arm in arm in Regents Park, perhaps have a cup of coffee together. I am very proud to think that I made a film with him. Both Frank [her husband] and I loved Ramon. What more can I say?”

 Evelyn Laye, costar in The Night is Young

  

“Ramon aged gracefully. He never considered himself a ‘has-been’ because he had enough money to choose his roles. He worked when he wanted and enjoyed his garden the rest of the time. He enjoyed a beautiful life.”

 Leonard Shannon, agent

  

“I never heard him say an unkind word about any of his contemporaries – nor of the stars of more recent years. And through the years, that sincere boyish enthusiasm the screen knew so well was ever present in his off screen life. The loss of Ramon Novarro leaves a tremendous gap in the ranks of the show business world that can never be filled.”

 Alan Brock, agent

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Hollywood Landmark Razed…

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Oct 29th, 2008
2008
Oct 29

Laemmle Building Demolished!

 

 Demolition of the Laemmle Building last Friday

 

By Allan R. Ellenberger 

 

The historic Laemmle Building on the northwest corner of Hollywood and Vine was demolished last Friday. Preservationists contend that the tearing down of the building, built by Universal Studios founder Carl Laemmle in 1932, is federally illegal. The building has been vacant since it was damaged in an unsolved arson fire in April.

 

The intersection of Hollywood and Vine has been famous since the 1930s because many of Hollywood’s important radio stations were located nearby.  “Brought to you from Hollywood and Vine” was a familiar opening to many early radio broadcasts.

 

The Laemmle Building in the 1950s

 

Carl Laemmle, paid the George W. Hoover (builder of the Hollywood Hotel) estate $350,000 for the property in 1925. At the time, that was the highest price paid for real estate in Hollywood (the lot sold for $15,000 in 1912). In 1928 Laemmle refused a $1,000,000 offer for the corner.

 

Originally Laemmle planned to build a 900-seat theater and office building valued at $250,000. At some point in mid 1932 revisions were made to build a one story building with foundation specifications for additional stories to be added later (which never came about). Designed by famed architect, Richard Neutra in the International Style, construction began in September 1932, and was completed early the following year.

 

The Laemmle Building fire last April 30th

 

At the time of the April fire, the building housed the Basque Nightclub and Restaurant, a popular celebrity hangout. Actress Lindsay Lohan celebrated her 21st birthday there and rap star Kanye West partied there earlier in April. Scenes from the movie Ocean’s Eleven were filmed there and the property had recently been sold as part of a renovation renaissance in Hollywood.

 

While many historic buildings have been saved from destruction in Hollywood (and many more have been lost), the sudden demolition of the Laemmle Building questions the commitment of city officials on preservation issues in Los Angeles.

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A Prediction by Kenneth Anger…

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Oct 29th, 2008
2008
Oct 29

Will Kenneth Anger die on Halloween?

  

 (Photo courtesy Mark Berry)

 

By Allan R. Ellenberger

 

Kenneth Anger, the controversial filmmaker, is probably best known as the author of Hollywood Babylon and its subsequent follow-up. Among his other claims, Anger has said that he was the Changeling Prince in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, even publishing pictures from the film in his books. It turns out that Anger obviously exaggerated this fact (imagine that) and the role was actually played by a girl named Sheila Brown. Reportedly, costars Mickey Rooney and Olivia De Havilland have confirmed this and the Warner Bros. studio casting forms and call sheets have identified Sheila Brown as the child actress who played the Prince.

 

Much has been written about Anger and the inaccuracy of many of his stories, including the infamous (and erroneous) tale of actor Ramon Novarro and his so-called death-by-dildo. In 1992, while researching my biography of Novarro, I interviewed Anger’s friend, Samson De Brier (there is a photo of De Brier with Anger at the grave of Virginia Rappe on page 11 of Hollywood Babylon II) who met Novarro on several occasions. During our chat he mentioned Kenneth Anger and gave me his address, suggesting that I ask him about Novarro.

 

So I requested an interview but what I received was a brief response stating that he was moving and needed some cash, and would I be interested in buying a Swedish poster of Ben-Hur – for $2,000. There was no mention of an interview or an explanation of the dildo story.

 

Anger was a lifelong friend of filmmaker Curtis Harrington and both shared an interest in the occult. When Harrington died in May of 2007, Anger attended the funeral held in the chapel at Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Actor Jack Larson (Jimmy Olsen in the Superman television series) gave the eulogy but was constantly interrupted by Anger, who blurted out remarks to almost everything Larson said.

 

 

Curtis Harrington’s cremation niche at Hollywood Forever

 

Near the end, Anger once again interrupted and proclaimed that he was dying of prostate cancer (which Harrington also had but did not die from) and that he told Harrington he would outlive him. He then announced that his memorial would also take place at Hollywood Forever and proclaimed, “Oh yes, it’s been confirmed. I know the date of my death. On Halloween 2008. My memorial. Right here! Halloween 2008!” He then added, “Invitation only! Sorry!”

 

So will Anger’s prediction come true? Halloween is in two days. Stay tuned.

 

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Click HERE for Lisa Jane Persky’s account of Curtis Harrington’s funeral from ForteanTimes.

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Celebrity Recipes…Harry Houdini

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Oct 29th, 2008
2008
Oct 29

CELEBRITY RECIPES

Harry Houdini

 

 

 

BREAD-AND-BUTTER CUSTARD

 

Three large pieces white bread — buttered. Cut in quarters, and line an enamel pie dish with same. Prepare custard of two eggs, one cup granulated sugar, one quart of milk.

 

Pour custard over bread and butter, and bake it in moderate oven forty-five minutes.

 

“I happen to have a weakness for sweets, and this one you will not find in any other cook book.”

 

— Sincerely yours,

Harry Houdini

 

  

ONLY  2 DAYS ‘TIL HALLOWEEN!

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John Barrymore’s Former Home For Sale…

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Oct 29th, 2008
2008
Oct 29

John Barrymore’s Windsor Square Home For Sale

 

 

Former Barrymore home, 454 South Windsor Boulevard, Los Angeles

 

The Windsor Estate, a 1918 home that was once the residence of John Barrymore and Dolores Costello, is on the market again, listed for $6.495 million. (Click on 454 S WINDSOR Blvd for more information and photos)

 

Actress Drew Barrymore’s grandparents, legendary actor John Barrymore and his third wife, actress Dolores Costello, lived in this Windsor Square home in the 1930s.

 

They were having marital troubles at the time and soon divorced, but she stayed in the house with their two children until the early ’50s, when she sold the property to bachelor attorney Odell McConnell.

 

The house, Mediterranean in style, was built in 1918 and had a famous resident before Barrymore and Costello. Lawrence Tibbett, who starred at the Metropolitan Opera as a principal for 27 seasons, lived in the home with his uncle.

 

After the young baritone made his 1923 debut at the Met, his uncle sold the property.

 

About this property:

  • The home has a secret garden off the breakfast room; a kitchen garden; a greenhouse; and the main garden, including a pool and a mosaic pond with a fountain. There is also a trellis on a terrace.
  • Size: There are six bedrooms and 6 1/2 bathrooms in 6,276 square feet. The lot is 27,000 square feet.
  • Features: Original features include a spiral staircase, carved paneling, intricate friezes and the Batchelder tile floor. Newer features are an updated kitchen, a family room and a steam room.
.
(SOURCE: CurbedLosAngeles and Los Angeles Times, May 29, 2005)

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Obit…Delmar Watson

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Oct 28th, 2008
2008
Oct 28

OBITUARY

Delmar Watson, child actor turned news photographer, dies at 82

 

 

Delmar and his eight siblings acted in more than 1,000 films. He went to work for the L.A. Mirror in 1948 and later opened an archive of historical L.A. photos.

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By Valerie J. Nelson
Los Angeles Times
October 28, 2008

 

Delmar Watson, a member of a family of child actors who appeared in more than 1,000 films in the early days of Hollywood, has died. He was 82.   (Click on ‘Continue Reading’ for more)

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Continue Reading »

Ex-Wife of Actor Danny Huston Kills Herself…

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Oct 27th, 2008
2008
Oct 27

BREAKING NEWS

Danny Huston’s Wife Commits Suicide

 

Danny Huston and his wife, Katie Jane Evans

 

Atlanta, GA 10/27/2008
(TransWorldNews)

 

The ex-wife of actor Danny Huston reportedly committed suicide by jumping from a California rooftop earlier this month. The Daily Mail reports that 35-year-old model Katie Jane Evans was struggling with an addiction to drugs and alcohol and wasn’t coping well after her divorce from Huston.

 

Sources say Evans “couldn’t get over the fact the marriage had failed.” She was allegedly taking anti-depressants and had done several stints in rehab.

 

Huston and Evans were married in 2002 and had daughter Stella in 2003. They were divorced in 2007.

 

The insider says that Huston, the son of director John Huston and half-brother of actress Anjelica Huston, is “devastated” over Evans’ death. “Everyone is devastated. No one, including Danny, can come to terms with what has happened. When Anjelica was told she just collapsed in tears,” the source says.

 

The 46-year-old actor stars alongside Kirsten Dunst, Megan Fox, Simon Pegg and Jeff Bridges in the new comedy How to Lose Friends and Alienate People.

 

Huston stars in the TV mini-series John Adams and has had roles in many films including The Kingdom, 30 Days of Night, Children of Men and The Number 23.

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