Archive for November, 2010

Dino De Laurentiis Obituary

Thursday, November 11th, 2010


Dino De Laurentiis, storied movie producer, dies at 91




De Laurentiis helped revive the film industry in his native Italy and later ran studios and produced big-budget movies in the U.S. His output was once described as ‘high-brow and low-brow, huge moneymakers and expensive flops.’


By Dennis McLellan
Los Angeles Times
November 11, 2010


Dino De Laurentiis, the flamboyant Italian movie producer who helped resurrect his nation’s film industry after World War II and for more than six decades produced films as diverse as the 1954 Federico Fellini classic “La Strada” and the 1976 remake of “King Kong,” has died. He was 91.


Click here to continue reading the Los Angeles Times obituary for Dino De Laurentiis



New mausoleum at Hollywood Forever

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010


First mausoleum structure in more than 50 years now open at Hollywood Forever




Construction was recently completed at Hollywood Forever Cemetery on the new Courtyard Mausoleum. Several years ago crypts were added to the Abbey of the Psalms, but this is first independent mausoleum built at the cemetery in more than half a century. What is exciting, now there is access to the older mausoleum directly behind the new ediface which was built in the 1920s. For a long time the only way to get there was to go through the Chapel Columbarium and take a side door through the receiving vaults. Now there are two entrances giving access to the older mausoleum. There are several interesting residents from film and Los Angeles history there that I will profile at a later date now that visitation is possible. For more information about available properties at Hollywood Forever, call 877.844.3837 or go to their website: 



Above is one of the entrances to the old mausoleum








 Some last minute touches were left to complete when I took these pictures, including landscaping (above) and facings on some crypts (below)








 Now you can have a view of the Hollywood Sign forever






 Above is a view of one of the first floor corridors and below is the second floor





 View from the top



Looney Tunes @ Hollywood Heritage

Monday, November 8th, 2010


Evening @ the Barn




An Evening with Jerry Beck

Wednesday, November 10, 2010 at 7:30PM



in the Lasky-DeMille Barn

(Across from the Hollywood Bowl)

2100 N. Highland Avenue, Hollywood, CA 90068


Cartoon historian and critic Jerry Beck will discuss his most recent book,The 100 Greatest Looney Tunes Cartoons, compiled from lists submitted by fans, historians, and cartoonists. Then, buckle up as Jerry introduces some of the best films in the book featuring Bugs, Daffy, Wile E. Coyote, and the whole Warner Bros. gang!


Admission: $5 MEMBERS, $10 NON-MEMBERS

 Admission sold only at the door

Doors open 7 p.m., program starts 7:30 p.m.
Please arrive early to avoid disappointment, as seating is limited by fire regulations to 110 guests.

Refreshments available for purchase.

Ample FREE PARKING as usual in “Lot D.”

If arriving by Metro, we are a short walk north of the Hollywood/Highland red line station.

on Wed. Dec. 8, 2010 AT 7:30 P.M



Hopkins vs Davis

Saturday, November 6th, 2010


“Old Loathing” starring Miriam Hopkins and Bette Davis



By Allan R. Ellenberger


As many are aware, I have been working on a biography of actress Miriam Hopkins, on-and-off for several years. I was stalled for several months because of personal duties, my nine-to-five job and this blog, which takes an enormous amount of time, but I love it. With any luck I’m on track with Hopkins now and I’m sure some have noticed I have cut back on blog entries recently, which I have to until Hopkins is completed, so please understand and have patience.


Most of my research is completed (except for some last minute library and archive work), although there are a few people I would like to interview, such as: Dick Van Patten, and his sister Joyce, Robert Redford, Jane Fonda, Shirley MacLaine, Sally Field, Leticia Roman, Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., Clint Eastwood and Sylvia Miles, among others; many I have tried to contact with no success (So if anyone has entry to any of the above people, please contact me here or at  I have been so fortunate to interview more than forty people including family members, costars of film and stage, personal friends, producers, and film historians. Such people as the late Kitty Carlisle and Doris Eaton; Dickie Jones, Andrew Prine, Lizabeth Scott and Olivia de Havilland have been gracious enough to help.


The challenge has been to present the real Miriam Hopkins and not just the personality that most people are familiar with as being difficult and hard to work with. Yes, that was part of her persona but as with most people, there is much more to her than that. Bette Davis was so vocal about her dislike of Hopkins that, because she is such an iconic and beloved actress, she virtually turned people that have never seen a Hopkins film, except perhaps for the two they made together. Bette would always claim how difficult Miriam was but yet had that reputation herself. In fact, in one interview, when comparing Debra Winger and her alleged reputation, to herself, said that “all good actresses are difficult.” Bette admitted that Hopkins was a good actress – and she was – however her reputation has overshadowed that over the years.


With all their differences, Davis and Hopkins had more in common than either one would dare to admit. They could be “over the top” in their performances if not guided by good directors. However, both were great actresses and felt they had to fight to get what they deserved. As well as being “difficult” and stealing scenes, Hopkins had more to fight for than Davis – at least that was her perception. Warner’s was Davis’ studio and of course they would favor her. When Jezebel was made, Warner’s tricked Hopkins out of her share to the rights of the film (she played the role on Broadway) letting her think she would play it and instead, gave the part to Davis who won an Academy Award. I could go on (and will in the book).


Of course Hopkins battled with other costars during her career; except for Davis, all were men. Hopkins was sometimes difficult to work with, there is no arguing that, however so was Davis and her fans (of which I am one) need to accept that. She also had a sensitive side and might show compassion to those who couldn’t help themselves. In any event, don’t judge Hopkins too harshly, at least until you know the entire truth, which hopefully I will be able to expound on with some success. I hope to be completed by September 2011 – at least that is my goal.


If anyone has information about, or perhaps knows someone who knew Miriam Hopkins, or even knew her themselves, please contact me.



Jill Clayburgh Obituary

Saturday, November 6th, 2010


Jill Clayburgh dies at 66; Oscar-nominated actress



Her Broadway and Hollywood career was highlighted by her roles in the 1970s films ‘An Unmarried Woman’ and ‘Starting Over.’ She also was nominated for two Emmys.


Associated Press
November 6, 2010


Jill Clayburgh, whose Broadway and Hollywood acting career was highlighted by her Oscar-nominated roles in the 1970s films “An Unmarried Woman” and “Starting Over,” died Friday. She was 66.


Click here to contine reading the Los Angeles Times obituary for Jill Clayburgh



Teo Blake’s Debut Album

Friday, November 5th, 2010


Teo Blake’s debut album “Death to Sambo”




Check out my friend, Teo Blake’s debut album, “Death to Sambo” — Really good tracks! In this video he talks about the ideas, myths and the drive behind the album





 CLICK HERE to preview and download “Death to Sambo” on iTunes



Eva Tanguay at Hollywood Forever

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010


Eva Tanguay; the “I Don’t Care” girl





By Allan R. Ellenberger


Eva Tanguay, the ebullient music-hall performer, who made the song “I Don’t Care,” known the country over, was one of the outstanding headliners in the days of “big-time” two-a-day vaudeville. At the height of her career her salary ranked with that of Sarah Bernhardt and Nora Bayes, amounting to $2,500 to $3,500 for two shows a day in the Keith-Albee vaudeville circuit. Everywhere she played she attracted capacity audiences to see her act, which was unique because of her songs, her madcap humor, her freakish costumes and her crop of tousled hair – think Lady Gaga.


From childhood Tanguay had been on the stage. Born at Marbleton, Quebec in 1879 of French-Canadian parents, she made her first appearance on an amateur night in a variety house at Holyoke, Massachusetts. Her father had died shortly after he moved to the United States, leaving his family desperately poor. She won first prize in the amateur contest and followed it with other successes. Soon the fame of the child performer spread and at the age of 8 she received her first regular engagement, playing the title role in one of the companies presenting a dramatization of Francis Hodgson Burnett’s “Little Lord Fauntleroy” for a five-year run.



Eva Tanguay as Little Lord Fauntleroy (Henry Ford Museum)



Tanguay reached stardom in 1904 when she introduced the song, “I Don’t Care” to Broadway audiences who flocked to see her in a play called The Chaperones. She became the “oomph” girl of the turn of the century and her salary mounted to a peak of $3,500 a week, extraordinary for the period.


She did much to bring vaudeville out of its respectable front. She sang songs which were daring for the time, such as “I Want Someone to Go Wild with Me,” “It’s All Been Done Before But Not the Way I Do It,” and “I’d Like to be an Animal in the Zoo.”  The great favorite with her audiences, however, was “I Don’t Care.”





One of her most profitable acts was in Salome in 1908 and she once said that her costume consisted of “two pearls.” Censors complained loudly, while the act rolled up a record gross at the box office. Once she fashioned a costume of dollar bills and when Lincoln pennies appeared she used them for spangles. She won success also in Ziegfeld’s Follies of 1909. “I was the only one whose name was lighted atop the name Ziegfeld,” she once recalled. “For the others, the Follies always got the top billing.”


In 1910, at the height of her career as a vaudeville star, Tanguay said that the secret of her success lay entirely in her personality, and she always exploited that personality to the utmost. At times she was as mercurial and unpredictable off stage and in her business relations as she was behind the footlights.


In Evansville, Indiana, she cut a stage curtain to shreds with scissors because the house manager fined her for missing a matinee. In Sharon, Pennsylvania, she once chided the house manager from the stage because he had refused to put a larger mirror in her dressing room. She was arrested in Lexington, Kentucky when a stage hand accused her of stabbing him with a hatpin when he didn’t get out of her way as she rushed from the stage to her dressing room. At the police station, she produced a roll of bills and cried: “Take it all and let me go, for it is now my dinner time.” She was ultimately fined forty dollars.



Banner proclaims the arrival of Eva Tanguay (Henry Ford Museum)



Tanguay was married three times – first in 1913 to John W. Ford, a dancer and later to Roscoe Ails, a vaudeville actor. In 1927 she obtained an annulment of her marriage to Alexander Booke, her former pianist who was 23 and she was 46 – possibly entertainments first cougar. Her charges claimed that Booke deceived her in many ways and did not use his true name when they married, claiming his name was Allen Paredo. They were married for less than two months.


During World War I she disappeared from the public eye and it was supposed she had retired with a sizable wealth. Although she had made several fortunes on the stage, Tanguay had always spent freely and was equally liberal in helping out friends in financial trouble. The vivacious beauty, who once carried nothing but $1,000 bills, lost a fortune in the stock-market crash of 1929; some estimates of her losses running as high as $2,000,000.


A brief night club appearance in Brooklyn in 1932 was her last public performance where her pal Sophie Tucker was present. But she remained confident of a comeback to the end. “I’ll dance and sing again,” she told her infrequent visitors, mostly other veterans of the great days of show business.


When in 1933 she went blind, Sophie Tucker paid for the operations which restored her sight. Tanguay mapped plans for a comeback to raise enough money, she said, to endow a children’s hospital for the blind, but was stricken with an arthritic condition which partially paralyzed her.  At that time in 1939, it took 26 blood transfusions to keep her alive. Moving to a small cottage at 6207 Lexington Avenue in Hollywood where she was bedridden, and communicated with the world through her bedroom window. She often explained that she “looked so awful” she wanted no one to see her. “Don’t come in,” she would say. “Eva Tanguay is not here.”


6207 Lexington Avenue in Hollywood where Eva Tanguay lived the last eight years of her life and where she died. Above is the bedroom window from which Eva would speak to reporters (PLEASE NOTE: This is a private residence. Please do not disturb the occupants)



She covered the walls of her Lexington Avenue bedroom with old photographs of herself, and she talked – as she always did – about the past. Forgotten by the world except for periodic visits by reporters, she always managed a cheery greeting “for the people who still remember me.” On her 68th — and last – birthday, a reporter visited her and spoke to a pair of bare feet which protruded motionless from a white sheet that stretched away from the window into the bedroom’s darkness. “It took them an hour to get me fixed in bed,” she told the reporter from the shadows.


“There were hundreds of (birthday) messages,” she said. “And you know, there were lots from people I never heard of.” She was getting along until the previous week when she was out for a drive and the car stopped suddenly and she was thrown to the floor. “I’ll probably be in the grave,” she said prophetically when asked about her prospects for the coming year. She was still working on her autobiography titled, “Up and Down the Ladder,” and hoped to sell the rights to a studio. “They’re interested in it,” she said, “but just because you’re sick and broke, they think they can get it for nothing.”


“Miss Tanguay,” said the reporter, “I have a photographer with me and we were wondering –“


“Close the window! Close the window!” the voice in the shadows cried.


On the morning of January 11, 1947, Eva Tanguay suffered a stroke and died amid the yellowing photographs pasted on the walls around her depicting her as the “I Don’t Care” girl.” With her were her niece, a nurse and a neighbor.


Tanguay’s funeral was held at Pierce Brothers Hollywood Mortuary. From the forgotten wings of show business it was a standing-room-only audience. Among those who attended were Trixie Friganza , her friend, and Harry Leonhardt, her first manager; Joe Whitehead, who once appeared with her before President Woodrow Wilson, and bearded Tex Cooper, a vaudeville cowboy who taught her how to ride a horse 45 years earlier.


There was stillness in the chapel as Rev. Elizabeth Garrick-Cook spoke simply of Eva Tanguay, of her humor and sparkle and her quality of greatness, of her talent and her open heart. “We should not feel that she is gone, but rather that she has been freed from the pain she endured in her last years,” she said. “Aside from her artistry, she had the quality of opening her heart and her purse to the needy.”


Tanguay was buried in the ermine coat she bought nearly twenty years earlier when she attempted a comeback. Her casket was placed in a crypt in Hollywood Cemetery’s Abbey of the Psalms mausoleum. When her estate was settled, the woman who was once worth 2 million dollars, left personal effects valued at $500.





Below is footage of Eva Tanguay with French language narration






The Films of 1910 at the Linwood Dunn Theater

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010


A Century Ago: The Films of 1910 – Refining the One-Reeler




Monday, November 8, at 7:30 p.m.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m.


Linwood Dunn Theater
1313 Vine Street
Hollywood, CA 90028


The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences celebrates the year 1910 and its developmental contributions to motion pictures with a program of selected films in “A Century Ago: The Films of 1910.” The program will spotlight evolving cinematic storytelling methods as filmmakers moved away from earlier “stagebound” film presentations, even as they were forced to cram as much story material as possible into the newly standardized length of one reel, or about 15 minutes.


“A Century Ago: The Films of 1910” will include an early D.W. Griffith Civil War film “The House with Closed Shutters”; Vitagraph’s “Jack Fat and Jim Slim at Coney Island” featuring John Bunny; “The Actor’s Children,” the first film of the New Rochelle-based Thanhouser Company; the Selig Company’s production of “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”; Essanay’s “Aviation at Los Angeles, Calif.,” and surprises galore. Most prints will be in 35mm and are drawn from the collections of the Academy Film Archive, the Library of Congress, George Eastman House, the Museum of Modern Art and the UCLA Film & Television Archive.


Presented on a 1909 hand-cranked Power’s Model 6 Cameragraph motion picture machine restored and operated by Joe Rinaudo. Featuring live musical accompaniment by Michael Mortilla.


Tickets:   $5.00 GeneralAdmision/$3.00 Academy members and students with I.D.; Limit 2 at the discounted price. Tickets available in person at the Academy Box Office at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard, Bevery Hills, CA 90211-1907. A standby line will form on the day of the event, and standby numbers will be assigned starting at approximately 5:30 p.m. Any available tickets will be distributed shortly before the program begins. Ticketholders should plan to arrive at least 15 minutes before the start of the event to ensure a seat in the theaterAll seating is unreserved.

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