Archive for February, 2010

Dorothy Janis’ 100th Birthday

Friday, February 19th, 2010


Dorothy Janis





BORN: February 19, 1910, Dallas, Texas


Currently living in Arizona


Click below to watch Dorothy Janis and Ramon Novarro in a scene from “The Pagan” (1929)





Kathryn Grayson Obituary

Thursday, February 18th, 2010


Kathryn Grayson dies at 88; MGM singing star in 1940s, ’50s



A dark-haired beauty with a heart-shaped face and brilliant coloratura voice, she appeared in the musicals ‘Anchors Aweigh,’ ‘Kiss Me Kate’ and ‘Show Boat.’


By Dennis McLellan
Los Angeles Times
February 19, 2010


 Kathryn Grayson, an MGM singing star in the 1940s and early ’50s in musicals such as “Anchors Aweigh,” “Kiss Me Kate” and “Show Boat,” has died. She was 88.


Grayson died Wednesday of natural causes at her home in Los Angeles, said publicist Dale Olson.


A dark-haired beauty with a heart-shaped face and a brilliant coloratura voice, Grayson signed with MGM as a teenager and made her screen debut in “Andy Hardy’s Private Secretary,” starring Mickey Rooney, in 1941.


Click here to continue reading the Los Angeles Times obituary for Kathryn Grayson



Hollywood Sign

Saturday, February 13th, 2010


Saving Cahuenga Peak and the Hollywood Sign from developers


(Photo: Allan R. Ellenberger



Max Terhune’s 119th Birthday

Friday, February 12th, 2010


Max Terhune


Max Terhune (left), John Wayne and Ray Corrigan in Pals of the Saddle (1938) (


February 12, 1891, Anderson, Indiana




Click below to watch the trailer for the Max Terhune film Overland Stage Raiders (1938) – co-starring John Wayne





Save the Hollywood Sign

Thursday, February 11th, 2010


Welcome to Sallywood? Iconic LA landmark gets facelift




Los Angeles Times
February 11, 2010


LOS ANGELES (AFP) — One of the world’s most recognizable landmarks — the giant Hollywood sign in Los Angeles — was undergoing a facelift Thursday as activists ramped up a campaign to preserve the iconic symbol.


An environmental group bidding to raise around 12.5 million dollars to purchase a 138-acre (55-hectare) parcel of rugged land surrounding the sign had begun draping bright red letters over the popular tourist attraction.


The Trust for Public Land will shroud each of the sign’s 45-foot (13-meter) high letters in blankets so that the slogan “SAVE THE PEAK” becomes visible for miles around the sprawling Californian city.


By 5:30pm Thursday, the first two letters of the sign had been covered, leaving the landmark to read “SALLYWOOD.”


Activists will remove the slogan next Tuesday, Trust for Public Land spokesman Tim Ahern said. “Everybody in the city will be able to see the message ‘Save the Peak,'” Ahern told AFP.


The Hollywood sign, which was initially created as an advert for a real estate development in 1923, is owned by the city of Los Angeles.


However the mountainous land surrounding the famous white letters is owned by a Chicago-based consortium who have acquired rights to build four luxury mansions along the ridgeline.


Activists protested the plans, saying the sign would be blighted if the properties were built, and sought to buy the land from the consortium, which agreed to sell it for 12.5 million dollars if the money was paid by April 14.


“So far we’ve raised about seven million dollars. We’re hoping that what we are doing this week will help us raise the other 5.5 million,” Ahern said.


One of the City of Angels’ most beloved attractions, the Hollywood sign had fallen into disrepair until it was restored in the 1970s after a campaign which saw nine donors pay 27,777 dollars to “adopt” one letter each.


Although members of the public are forbidden from accessing the area around the landmark — a sophisticated alarm system including motion sensors has been set up to deter trespassers — the sign has a grisly history.


In 1932 British actress Peg Entwistle infamously committed suicide by throwing herself off the top of the letter H.


Click here to read article at the Los Angeles Times



Novarro and Hurrell

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010


Ramon Novarro and Hurrell



By Allan R. Ellenberger
February 10, 2020


In 1928, Ramon Novarro became friends with Florence “Pancho” Barnes, a woman flier who became famous for breaking speed records in her plane, Mystery Ship. Years later she founded the Happy Bottom Ranch in the Antelope Valley, which became an oasis in the desert for aviators depicted in the film, The Right Stuff (1983).


Pancho was introduced to Ramon at a party, and the two became an unusual couple cavorting around Hollywood in Ramon’s sports cars. Pancho was not the glamorous type and was known for her profanity, which she used liberally.


Pancho was a staunch supporter of George Hurrell, a struggling photographer who had taken many photos of her. Ramon had told Pancho that he was planning to make his concert debut in Vienna and needed new portraits. She suggested Hurrell, and Ramon asked her to set up an appointment. Pancho excitedly told Hurrell about Novarro’s request, to which he replied, “I’m flattered, but why doesn’t he use MGM’s photographer?”



Ramon Novarro and Pancho Barnes (Photo: Pancho Barnes Trust Estate)



She explained that Novarro was planning an upcoming concert tour and added, “He doesn’t want MGM to know about it right now. If he asked Ruth Harriet Louise to do it, the prints would be all over the studio.”


That evening Hurrell prepared his tiny studio at 672 Lafayette Park Place to greet the Ben-Hur of the screen. Soon Novarro’s sports roadster arrived, and he and Pancho made their way to Hurrell’s studio, where the two were introduced. Pancho, who was breathless and giddy, excused herself, explaining she had to meet some new pilots down at Mines Field. Hurrell sensed there was a budding romance between  her and Ramon, which was precisely what Pancho wanted people to think.


After Pancho left, Hurrell set up his equipment while Novarro changed. Within minutes, he turned around and saw the actor, standing quietly on the landing dressed as a Spanish grandee in a huge sombrero, with silver ornaments and a mustache glued to his upper lip.



The first photo of Ramon Novarro taken by George Hurrell



Hurrell found that Novarro, whom he nicknamed Pete, had photographically perfect features and was very relaxed. The photographer played classical music, which made Novarro more responsive. “He could face my camera with a blank expression,” Hurrell recalled. “Not at all like some of the men-about-town whom I had been photographing. I had to trick them into losing their solemn expression in order to get an interesting shot, but Ramon was relaxed.”


Two days later when the Latin saw the proofs, he told Hurrell, “You have caught my moods exactly. You have revealed what I am inside.” Hurrell photographed Novarro many times over the next few months. When Pancho saw a photo taken on her estate in San Marino (below) of a tunic-clad Novarro standing under a tree next to a white horse, the aviatrix noted, “My God George, even the horse looks glamorous!”





One day while visiting the set of The Hollywood Revue of 1929, Norma Shearer invited Novarro into her dressing room for a visit. She complained that she was very unhappy about the recent film roles she was receiving. During the conversation, Ramon spread out a stack of portraits he just received from Hurrell. Norma looked from one to the other with obvious interest. “Why Ramon, no one has ever photographed you like this before,” she said.


Ramon told her about Hurrell and his tiny Lafayette Park studio. Smiling, she said, “He may come in handy. I have an idea.” She explained that the studio was preparing a script she wanted called The Divorcee (1930). Her husband and mentor, Irving Thalberg, did not think she was beguiling enough for the part. She hoped that if Hurrell could photograph her like a “sex pot,” Irving would give her the role. So Ramon set up a meeting between the actress and Hurrell. The photographs were stunning and convinced Thalberg to give his wife the part. As a result, she won the Academy Award for best actress, and Hurrell was given a contract as a portrait photographer at MGM.


The preceeding exerpt is from Ramon Novarro: A Biography of the Silent Film Idol (1999) by Allan R. Ellenberger.


Ringo gets his star

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010


Ringo’s star unveiled on Walk of Fame


Ringo Starr honoured with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. (AFP: Valerie Macon)


A star for former Beatles drummer Ringo Starr has been added to the Hollywood Walk of Fame. At a ceremony outside the Capitol Records building on Monday night, Starr’s name was unveiled as the 2,401st star on the sidewalk attraction.


The Hollywood Walk of Fame also marked its 50th anniversary on Monday.


Those by Starr’s side for the unveiling included actress-wife Barbara Bach, musicians Jay Walsh and Ben Harper, producer Don Was, director David Lynch and actor Noah Wyle.


The Walk of Fame already includes individual stars for the drummer’s former Beatles bandmates John Lennon and George Harrison. The Beatles as a group received a star in 1998. (Austrailian Broadcasting Company)



Gypsy Rose Lee’s 99th birthday

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010


Gypsy Rose Lee



February 9, 1911, Seattle, Washington


Click below to see Gypsy Rose Lee do her routine in Screaming Mimi (1958)





Walk of Fame turns 50

Monday, February 8th, 2010


Golden milestone for the Hollywood Walk of Fame


Hollywood Walk of Fame

Formally breaking ground for the Walk of Fame on Feb. 8, 1960, are, from left, Los Angeles County Supervisor Ernest Debs; Hollywood Chamber of Commerce President E.M. Stuart; actresses Gigi Perreau and Linda Darnell; Harry M. Sugarman, president of the Hollywood Improvement Assn.; and actors Francis X. Bushman and Charles Coburn. (Los Angeles Times)


The L.A. landmark, whose first star was officially placed 50 years ago Monday, has taken a dramatic route from the beginning.


By Hugo Martín
Los Angeles Times
February 6, 2010


Fifty years ago, the Hollywood Walk of Fame began as a gimmick to lure visitors to a Los Angeles neighborhood that had fallen on hard times in the post-World War II years.


In the same year that “Ben-Hur” won the Academy Award for best picture, Hollywood leaders and actors gathered near the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street to install the first pink terrazzo stars rimmed with bronze to launch a $1.2-million venture that some skeptics called excessive.


Now, 2,400 stars later, business groups and local boosters say the sidewalk attraction has played a crucial role in making tourism the biggest industry in Los Angeles County, drawing nearly 26 million visitors and $14 billion a year.


Click here to continue reading story from the Los Angeles Times



Ringo Starr gets a Star

Sunday, February 7th, 2010


A Star for a Starr!



Ringo Starr to be awarded honor as Hollywood Walk of Fame celebrates its 50th birthday



WHO:                  RINGO STARR

Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, President/CEO Leron Gubler

Guest speakers: TBA


WHAT:                2,401st Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame


WHERE:             1750 N. Vine Street in front of the historic Capitol Records Building


WHEN:               Monday, February 8, at 7p.m.


SPECIAL NOTE: Members of the Los Angeles Unified School Districts’ All District High School Honor Marching Band will perform a special salute in Ringo Starr’s honor


Ringo Starr will be honored with his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on February 8, 2010, the 50th anniversary to the day on which construction first began on the famed sidewalk.


Ringo Starr was born at “a very young age” in Liverpool England on July 7, 1940.


“When I was thirteen, I only wanted to be a drummer,” remembers Starr. Four years later at age seventeen, he joined the Eddie Clayton Skiffle Band. In 1959, Starr hooked up with the Raving Texans, which later became Rory Storm and the Hurricanes. In 1962, while playing a summer gig with Storm, Starr was asked to join The Beatles. Worried that he might cost his bandmates the summer gig if he left, Starr delayed his departure until they found a replacement. On August 18, 1962, Ringo Starr officially became a Beatle.


In 1971, Starr began his unprecedented run as the first solo Beatle to score seven consecutive Top 10 singles, starting with the release of “It Don’t Come Easy.”  His second hit single, “Back Off Boogaloo,” was written with and inspired by T Rex frontman Marc Bolan. In 1973, Starr released his self-titled smash hit Ringo, which yielded three Top 10 singles, including the #1 hits “Photograph” and “You’re Sixteen (You’re Beautiful And You’re Mine).” Ringo also marked the first time since the breakup that all of The Beatles participated in the same project, though not at the same time.


Starr continued to release more hits, including “Only You” and “The No No Song.”  In 1981, he recorded Stop and Smell the Roses, his most critically-acclaimed record since Ringo, while the ‘90s saw him release some of the best records of his career and he also found consistent success as a live act with his revolving All Starr Band.  The touring met with great success and yielded Starr’s first live album, simply titled Ringo and His All Starr Band.


“If you look at all the bands I’ve put together, it’s an incredible array of musicians, all these different people,” says Starr. “Everyone has hit records, hit songs. It’s just good music and I’m having a lot of fun and that’s what it’s all about – great music and fun.”


On January 12, 2010, Starr released Y NOT (Hip-O/Ume), supported by Ben Harper and Relentless7 for a promotional tour, and simultaneously announced his 11th All Starr Band line up, which he will take on the road this summer.


The 11th All Starrs will feature Edgar Winter on sax and keyboards, Gary Wright on keyboards and Gregg Bissonette on drums. New to the All Starrs are Rick Derringer on guitar, Richard Page (Mr. Mister) on bass and Wally Palmar (Romantics) on guitar and harmonica. Booked by Dave Hart, the tour will kick off on June 24, 2010 at Fallsview Casino in Niagara Falls, Ontario, and will include a July 7 (Ringo’s birthday!) show at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, ending at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles on August 7.


Y NOT, Ringo Starr’s 16th studio album, met with immediate acclaim: Billboard called the collection “some of his best and most poignant songs in years,” while Rolling Stone said “Y Not is full of straightforward, sweetly melodic tunes, most of them about Starr’s abiding optimism.”