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Rudolph Valentino The Silent Idol

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Jun 29th, 2010
2010
Jun 29

BOOKS – NEW

Rudolph Valentino The Silent Idol

  

 

 

 By Donna L. Hill

 

One of the most alluring, enigmatic, and simply irresistible movie icons of all time, Rudolph Valentino continues to inspire generation after generation of moviegoers. In Rudolph Valentino, The Silent Idol: His Life in Photographs, author Donna Hill retells the story of Valentino’s life using a treasure trove of rare photographs. Drawn from the author’s extensive collection and those of generous fellow collectors and archives, most of the images in this volume have not been seen since the 1920’s; many have never been released publicly until now.

 

Rudolph Valentino was more than the “sheik” of one of his most famous films. He was more than the legendary star who died at a tragically young age. For long-time fans as well as curious newcomers, these remarkable images — candid snapshots at home, traveling, on film sets — reveal the glamour and charm of the man who continues to beguile and inspire movie lovers to this day.

 

Click here for more information and how to purchase Rudolph Valentino The Silent Idol

 

And check here for more information on Donna’s website 

 

About the Author:

A lifelong film afficionado with a particular affection for films of the silent era, Donna Hill has collected memoriabilia with regard to Rudolph Valentino for over thirty years. The collection of rare photos is shared by the author’s blurb book, Rudolph Valentino The Silent Idol, his Life in Photographs. The author lives in San Francisco.

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Alison Arngrim at Larry Edmunds

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Jun 28th, 2010
2010
Jun 28

BOOK SIGNINGS

Alison Arngrim Confesses! at Larry Edmunds Bookshop

 

 

Alison Arngrim signs her book

Confessions of a Prairie Bitch: How I Survived Nellie Oleson and Learned to Love Being Hated

 

Wednesday, June 30 @ 7:00 p.m.

Larry Edmunds Bookshop

6644 Hollywood Boulevard

Hollywood, 90028

323-463-3273

www.larryedmunds.com

info@larryedmunds.com

 

Meet Alison (Nellie Oleson) Arngrim as she tells tales of the prairie and signs her new book,” Confessions of A Prairie Bitch.” For seven years, Alison Arngrim played a wretched , scheming, selfish, lying, manipulative brat on one of TV history’s most beloved series. Though millions of Little House on the Prairie veiwers hated Nellie Oleson and her eveil antics, Arngirm grew to lover her character —and the freedom and confindence Nellie inspired in her

 

Alison will also have a “Nasty Nellie” tour available that afternoon prior to the signing. Find out more on that @ www.dearlydepartedtours.com. We hope to see you for “Little House @ the Larry”.

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Lon Chaney’s Ghost…

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Jun 26th, 2010
2010
Jun 26

HOLLYWOOD AND VINE

Ghost of Lon Chaney once played a part in a City Councel controversy

 

 

by Allan R. Ellenberger

 

Would you believe that the ghost of actor Lon Chaney once played a prominent role in a heated controversy at the Los Angeles City Council? It’s true. It seems that Chaney’s ghost was reportedly seen sitting on a public bench at the corner of Hollywood and Vine. Then in October 1942, Chaney’s bench disappeared and his ghost no longer was seen. Whether anything paranoral played a role in the mysterious disappearance of the bench are questions that councilman Norris Nelson was demanding.

 

The reputed visitation of the ghost was mentioned at a Council meeting by Nelson as he announced he was against granting permits to various businesses to place benches, painted with colored advertisments, on street corners or in the middle of the block.

 

 

 

The Lon Chaney Bench that Councilman Norris Nelson placed on the northeast corner of Hollywood and Vine where Chaney’s ghost was reportedly seen. Lon Chaney Jr. is at the far left.

 

 

Before he became a councilman, Nelson claimed that he put an ornamental iron bench on the northeast corner of Hollywood and Vine and there it remained for fifteen years (see photo above).

 

“Lon Chaney used to sit on that bench and wait for a bus when he was an extra boy,” declared Nelson. “When he became a star he used to drive by it and pick up poor devils who were still extras: after he died his ghost was reported seen sitting on the bench and finally a spot was reserved for the ghost and nobody ever sat in it.”

 

Nelson indicated that his bench was becoming famous when one morning, only a few weeks before, he noticed that it had vanished and in its place was another that had an advertisement for a certain brand of cigars that sold for two for 5 cents.

 

“No self-respecting ghost would sit on such a bench,” maintained the councilman. “I want my bench put back.”

 

Unfortunately the results of the City Councils decision was never made public. Evidently Norris failed in his attempts because benches with advertisements have been placed around Los Angeles ever since. Until recently, a bench still graced the northeast corner of Hollywood and Vine at the bus stop. Below is a recent photo of that corner – ghostless and benchless.

 

 

 

The northeast corner of Hollywood and Vine where the Lon Chaney bench once sat

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‘Midnight Cowboy’ at Hollywood Forever

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Jun 25th, 2010
2010
Jun 25

SCREENINGS

cinespia – cemetery screenings season 2010 presents

 

hollywood forever cemetery:

6000 Santa Monica Boulevard at gower

saturday, june 26, 2010

midnight cowboy

directed by john schlesinger (1969, 102 mins)

gates 7:30 pm movie 9:00 pm (NEW TIME)
no reservation necessary
$10 donation tickets available at gate
$5 parking available in cemetery
as a courtesy to other moviegoers: NO TALL CHAIRS!!

 

An artistic tour de force on its release, Midnight Cowboy is still a brave and moving portrait of an unusual friendship. Jon Voight plays Joe Buck, a naive country boy who travels to the big city to meet rich women. Instead he meets Rizzo, a two bit con man played to perfection by Dustin Hoffman. Together they brave 42nd st, Warhol parties, and the wild world of manhattan in the late 60s. This colorful backdrop is embellished by John Schlesinger’s daring filmmaking which incorporates the techniques of the psychedelic underground film scene with one of hollywood’s greatest stories. Winner of three Oscars. Co-presented by Outfest, proceeds will go towards 2010 Outfest Film Festival —

 http://www.outfest.org/fest2010/index.html

 

dj turquoise wisdom spins before and after the movie

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Michael Jackson anniversary

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Jun 25th, 2010
2010
Jun 25

CELEBRITY GRAVES

Today marks the first anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death

 

 

 

 

Michael Jackson’s sarcophagus at the Great Mausoleum at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California – Rest in Peace

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‘Eclipse’ to premiere at Nokia Theatre

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Jun 23rd, 2010
2010
Jun 23

FILM PREMIERE

‘Twilight’ fans gear up for ‘Eclipse’ premiere

 

 

 

Frenzy being compared to Beatles’ U.S. trip in the ’60s

 

By Elizabeth Guider
Hollywood Reporter
June 23, 2010

.

Not since “Star Wars” has fandom been, well, so fanatical about a single movie, putting down stakes in the heart of L.A.’s asphalt jungle days ahead of a world premiere.
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But an ever-swelling coterie of vampire lovers, most of them female, have been braving the California sun for days now to get the best chance of seeing the stars of “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse” grace the red carpet at the Nokia Theatre on Thursday night.

 

Some 550 devotees among the thousand or so assembled downtown for this celebratory sleepover will be rewarded for their perseverance with guaranteed spots on the carpet.

 

“It’s just worth seeing all the stars. They bring the characters that we love so much to life, so we want to see them in person and cheer them on,” Yolanda Rodriguez, a 36-year-old unemployed graphic designer who came from San Francisco for the event, told Reuters.

 

 

 

Fans line up 3 days ahead of Eclipse premiere to see Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner  – click below

 

 

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Jane Russell at The Barn

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Jun 22nd, 2010
2010
Jun 22

HOLLYWOOD EVENTS

Hollywood Heritage presents

An Evening with Jane Russell

 

 

 

Wednesday, June 23, 2010 at 7:30 p.m.

  

If you think you know Jane Russell, you’re in for some surprises. Come and meet the deeply religious beauty who adopted three children and founded World Adoption International Fund (WAIF), an organization to place children with adoptive families that pioneered adoptions from foreign countries by Americans.

 

Through her organization, World Adoption International Fund, Russell has placed 51,000 children with adoptive families. Russell championed the passage of the Federal Orphan Adoption amendment of 1953, which allowed children of American servicemen born overseas to be placed for adoption in the United States.

  

A limited amount of Jane Russell’s 1986 autobiography Jane Russell: My Path and My Detours : An Autobiography will be available for sale at the event.

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Hollywood Heritage Museum in the Lasky-DeMille Barn

2100 N. Highland Avenue

Hollywood (across from the Hollywood Bowl)

Refreshments available. FREE PARKING

Information: (323) 874-2276

Admission – Members: $5 Non-Members: $10

DOORS OPEN AT 7:00PM. SEATING IS LIMITED.

ADMISSION IS SOLD ONLY AT THE DOOR.

For more information, visit: www.hollywoodheritage.org

 

Hollywood Heritage, Inc. is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of the historic built environment in Hollywood and to education about the early film industry and the role its’ pioneers played in shaping Hollywood’s history.

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Filming locations for Valentino (1951)

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Jun 19th, 2010
2010
Jun 19

FILMING LOCATIONS

Valentino (1951)

 

 

 

 

By Allan R. Ellenberger

 

The short eventful life of the world’s greatest lover, Rudolph Valentino, is an entertainment natural; and the film, succinctly called Valentino (1951), sentimentally embellishes his life for celluloid purposes. There have been two other bio-pics based on Valentino’s life made since, and several shorts, plays and musicals and only a few are worthy of representing the actor’s life. Will someone please make an accurate and entertaining biographical film on the life of Rudolph Valentino?

 

Valentino’s producer, Edward Small, spent 13 years getting his film ready. The project survived 18 versions of the script by some 40 writers, the death of Small’s first “discovery” for the title role, and the threat that two other producers might rush a Valentino film. In that span of time, Small received over 100,000 letters and photographs from people who felt themselves right for the part.

 

The screenplay is a mixture of real and made up incidents and characters that influenced Valentino’s life. The basic facts of his rise to stardom and his tragic death at the height of his fame are true – sort of – but most of the people who figured in his career and hectic romances are necessarily disguised to prevent the producers from being sued (which didn’t work).

 

Anthony Dexter, who played Valentino, bore a startling resemblance to Rudy at times, depending on the camera angles. The film traces Valentino’s progress from dancing gigolo to the Hollywood heights to his death in New York. Along the way he encounters an actress (played by Eleanor Parker), who provides the big, unhappy romantic interlude in his life.  

 

The real-life counterpart for Parker’s character was silent film actress, Alice Terry, who successfully sued the producers and Columbia Pictures over the manner in which she was depicted in the film. Terry, who appeared in two films with Valentino, complained that she was shown as having carried on “a meretricious and illicit love affair” with Valentino while married to the director. She sued for $750,000 in damages but settled for an undisclosed amount.

 

Likewise, Valentino’s family also sued, charging that the picture was “almost entirely fictional” and showed Valentino as a “dissolute and immoral person.” They too settled out of court for a “substantial amount.”

 

The making of the film Valentino is more exciting than the film itself and is worthy of a full-blown article on the subject. However, the film is not without its high points. The tango scene between Dexter and actress Patricia Medina is first-rate and possibly one of the best of its kind ever filmed. Dexter did show a striking resemblance to Valentino, but did not speak with an Italian accent which detracts from his performance.

 

The last scene, which is the only one filmed on an actual location, was filmed at Hollywood Cemetery, several years later on the anniversary of Valentino’s death. The scene shows the yearly appearance of the veiled “Lady in Black” whose identity was unknown. Following are four screen shots from the ending of Valentino (1951) and how those locations appear today.

 

 

 

Above is a screen shot from the film Valentino showing attendees at Hollywood Cemetery on the anniversary of his death. Below is the same angle as it appears today.

 

 

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Above shows the Lady in Black character entering the Cathedral Mausoleum where Valentino’s crypt is located. Notice the full-length stained glass window at the end of the corrider and below, the same shot today and the missing window which was removed for unknown reasons.

 

 

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Above, character actor Joseph Calleia stands on the steps of the Cathedral Mausoleum as two extras speak in the foreground. Below is the same spot as it looks today.

 

 

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Above, this scene shows the Lady in Black leaving the cemetery after leaving flowers on the grave of Rudolph Valentino. Below is the same road today.

 

 

 

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Dispatches at the Masonic Lodge

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Jun 18th, 2010
2010
Jun 18

HOLLYWOOD EVENTS

 DISPATCHES:

David Darmstaedter, Rebecca Velazquez, Chiwan Choi & Melora Walters. Poetry & Prose at The Masonic Lodge – Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

 

 

 

Wednesday – June 23, 2010

The Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever

6000 Santa Monica Blvd

Los Angeles, CA 90038

323.469.1181

 

DOORS 8:00 PM – READINGS 9:00 PM (SHARP)

ADMISSION & PARKING ARE FREE. BEER & WINE SERVED ($2 suggested donation).

 

 

David Darmstaedter has written plays produced at the Hudson Theater starring Mark Ruffalo and also wrote on the, El Cantante, screenplay, starring Jennifer Lopez. He will be reading from is debut published novel, My Monster, a hilarious story about an ex-model, porn actor, junkie, widower trying to raise his son by himself.

 

Rebecca Velazquez is from Mexico and was raised in Southern California. She holds a double major in Humanities and Art History from Loyola Marymount. She is currently working on an autobiographical book about her decade long struggle with drugs and a self help series on conquering addictions for the last time.

 

Chiwan Choi is a writer, editor, teacher, and publisher. His first major collection of poetry, The Flood, has been published by Tía Chucha Press.  He leads various writing workshops and is the owner/editor of a publishing company featuring Los Angeles writers, Writ Large Press.

 

Melora Walters’s first chapbook of poetry and art, Sonnets and Failures, will be published by Finishing Line Press. Her art can be found on her website: melorawaltersvendler-art.com. She is also an actress (Boogie Nights, Big Love). Melora Walters resides in Los Angeles with her husband Alex and her two children, Tom and Joanna.

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Frank A. Nance profile

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Jun 16th, 2010
2010
Jun 16

HOLLYWOOD PROFILES

Frank A. Nance, Coroner to the stars

 

 

 Frank A. Nance sits at his desk in the Los Angeles Coroners office (1932, LAPL)

 

By Allan R. Ellenberger

 

Frank A. Nance was not a famous movie star. He never appeared in a film, yet he came in contact with more movie stars than the average person – the only difference is, if a movie star was in the presence of Frank Nance, they were probably dead. You see, Frank Nance was the Los Angeles County Coroner from 1921 through 1945, during what is typically called the Golden Age of Hollywood.

 

During his term in the Coroner’s office, Nance investigated 121,000 deaths, including 2,500 murders and 17,000 traffic victims. He wrote numerous articles about his job and set up standards, many of which have become routine procedure in California Coroner offices.

 

Frank Albert Nance was born on May 25, 1875 in Galesburg, Illinois. When he was 12, his family moved to California where Nance was educated in Los Angeles schools and at Pomona College where he was a star athlete. In 1911, Nance married Bessie Marion Beaver, a native of Toronto, Canada. The couple settled in the Los Angeles suburb of Monrovia, living at 127 N. Canyon Boulevard.

 

Nance’s career in public service began on December 10, 1910, when he became bookkeeper in the County Auditor’s office.  On March 25, 1921, the Board of Supervisors appointed him from a list of eight certified eligible candidates to succeed the late Calvin Hartwell as County Coroner. He officially took office on May 1 at a salary of $375 a month.

 

During his 24 year career as coroner, Nance performed or presided over many celebrity autopsies, including the murders of director William Desmond Taylor (1922), actor Ray Raymond by the hands of fellow actor Paul Kelly (1927), and the mysterious ‘Trunk Murders’ committed by Winnie Ruth Judd. The suicides of director Lynn Reynolds (1927), actress Peg Entwistle (1932), producer Paul Bern (1932) and Lupe Velez (1944) kept his name in the headlines. And Nance’s findings concerning the mysterious deaths of Thelma Todd (1935), Ted Healy (1937) and Marie Prevost (1937) fascinated the public.

 

Nance’s first headline-grabbing case was the murder of director William Desmond Taylor. The inquest was held at the Ivy Overholtzer undertaking parlor where Taylor’s body was present, covered with a satin sheet, except for his head. Actress Mabel Normand was scheduled to testify at 10 am however at the appointed time, Normand was nowhere to be found. Nance ordered a telephone search for her, however, it was learned that while the photographers waited at the entrance, Mabel was hurried in through the back alley and was waiting in the hall.

 

Mabel entered the rooms wearing a brown checked sport coat furred at the collar and cuffs, a black skirt and a cream lace waist and a green velour, wide-brimmed fedora. She wore white gloves and held a lavender silk handkerchief in one hand. Her voice was low and she spoke calmly.

 

“Did Mr. Taylor go to your car with you when you left?” Nance asked her.

 

“Yes, he took me to the car and stood talking with me a few minutes and said he would call me by telephone in about an hour,” Mabel replied. “He watched while I drove away and I waved my hand to him.”

 

“Did he call you up,” Nance asked.

 

“No,” she said. “I went home and went right to bed. My maid never wakes me anyway, once I have retired.”

 

It was during Nance’s tenure that both the St. Francis Dam disaster (1928) and the Long Beach earthquake (1933) occurred, each presenting extraordinary problems for the Coroner to solve. More than 450 people lost their lives when the St. Francis Dam collapsed and flooded the valley below.

 

The disintegration of the St. Francis Dam is one of the worst American civil engineering failures of the 20th century. Nance’s inquest concluded the disaster was primarily caused by the paleomegalandslide on which the eastern abutment of the dam was built. The coroner’s jury determined responsibility for the disaster lay with the governmental organizations which oversaw the dam’s construction and the dam’s designer and engineer, William Mulholland, but cleared Mulholland of any charges, since neither he nor anyone at the time could have known of the instability of the rock formations on which the dam was built.

 

Frank A. Nance (seated) and his staff go over notes from an inquest (LAPL)

 

In 1929, a scandal of sorts erupted in the Coroner’s office when it was charged that certain employees had sold funeral privileges to several Los Angeles undertakers. After an investigation by the Sheriff’s department, it was determined that no evidence was found to support the charges. Nance expressed pleasure at the outcome of the investigation.

 

“It confirms my opinion that none of my employees would be a party to such proceedings,” Nance said. “Should I ever find anyone guilty of such an act I will dismiss him at once. “

 

At times, Nance would publish statistics, especially if some form of death was more prevalent at that time. For example, during the mid 1930s, the suicide rate had steadily climbed in California and Los Angeles County over a fifteen year period. Nance reported that during the fiscal year of July 1, 1935 to June 30, 1936, there were 522 reported cases of suicide. Of this total 416 were men and 106 were women. The suicide ages ranged fairly evenly from 20 to 60 years. Poisoning was the favorite method of killing oneself, shooting, hanging, jumping and asphyxiation followed in that order.

 

In 1939, Nance relaxed procedures for an autopsy and inquest when Edward C. Crossman, veteran police ballistics expert committed suicide from carbon monoxide poisoning. Crossman was a friend of Nance and was  an expert witness at many coroner inquests. Crossman left a special note to the Coroner:

 

“Dear Frank Nance: This is, of course, a suicide. No inquest is necessary, and for the sake of my family will you keep the matter as quiet as possible. Reason for suicide – the death of my beloved wife – Oct. 21 (1938), from the motor car accident which was my own fault. Best regards. Edward C. Crossman.”

 

Per the dead man’s wish, Nance announced that there would be no autopsy or inquest in this case.

 

In 1945, Frank Nance celebrated his 70th birthday, which was the compulsory retirement age for Los Angeles County employees. On May 29, civic leaders, public officials and county government workers packed the assembly room of the Hall of Records to honor Nance for 34 years in county government service, 24 of them as County Coroner.

 

“It is not my desire to retire at this time, but retirement is the penalty for having enjoyed one’s 70th birthday,” Nance said in response to many tributes by assembled speakers. “I resent the insinuation of the Retirement Act that I am an old man. One’s age is a state of mind.”

 

Nance left the coroner’s office on May 31, 1945 and was succeeded by Ben H. Brown, who became coroner as well as Public Administrator – a consolidation of both departments.

 

After his retirement, Nance accepted an executive position at the Utter-McKinley Mortuary.

 

“After 24 years as Los Angeles County Coroner, during which time I have had intimate contact with all local funeral firms, I take pleasure in announcing my association with the Utter-McKinley Mortuaries,” Nance announced. “I do so with the sincere belief that Utter-McKinley is the finest funeral firm in Los Angeles.”

 

Shortly after Nance’s retirement, his wife Bessie became ill and died two years later on August 8, 1947. The following year on November 7, 1948, Nance married for the second time to Ruthmary Barnes, a cofounder of the Executives’ Secretaries, and went on a cross-country tour with his new wife. When they arrived in Boerne, Texas, about 30 miles north of San Antonio, they found the climate to their liking and leased a ranch house.

 

In late September 1950, Nance became ill and was admitted to a San Antonio hospital where he died of pneumonia a week later on October 2, 1950. His body was returned to Los Angeles where funeral services were held at Utter-McKinley Wilshire Mortuary at 444 S. Vermont Avenue. He was buried next to Bessie at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale.

 

 

 

 

 

The grave of Frank A. Nance and his wife Bessie are located at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale in the Kindly Light section (above), Lot 207, Space 1 and 2. They are directly across the road from the Finding of Moses statue near the cemetery entrance. If you know where Claire Windsor is interred, the Nances are two rows up and ‘about’ 20 feet to the right.

 

 

A month following his death, a bitterly worded will was filed for probate in Superior Court. The document, written entirely in Nance’s hand, identified his widow as Ruthmary Nance, 45 of 2124 Hillhurst Avenue.

 

It stated that during their brief marriage, Nance gave her joint tenancy interest in property worth $20,000, made her beneficiary in insurance policies of $15,000 and purchased a car for her.

 

“All of which,” the will said, “she now has in her possession exclusively and all of which she received from me on her promise to be a loving and loyal wife as long as I lived, which promise she has refused to keep or to tell her true name to others – persisting that her name is Ruthmary Barnes.”

 

Nance cut off his wife with $1.00 and left the remainder of his estate, valued at the time at $25,000 to his brother, sisters and a godson.  Nance had no children.

 

The following September, Nance’s brother, Ira, sued his ex-sister-in-law, charging that Frank Nance was deceived into assigning her some $50,000 from his holdings. The inducement for these transfers was the “promise of marriage, but after the marriage, Mrs. Nance did not live with Mr. Nance as his wife despite her promise.”

 

Unfortunately the results of these charges were never made public, however, Ruthmary Barnes returned to her original name and died on March 14, 1972.

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