Archive for May, 2011

The Story of Hollywood Forever’s ‘Cupid and Psyche’

Saturday, May 28th, 2011




By Allan R. Ellenberger


For the first time in its history, emissaries from leading Hollywood organizations took part in observance of Memorial Day 1929, which included the unveiling of a marble replica of Antonio Canova’s sculptural masterpiece, “Cupid and Psyche, or Love’s Triumph Over Death,” in plaisance before the memorial chapel of Hollywood Cemetery.


The ceremonies would be conducted under the auspices of Hollywood Post, No. 43, of the American Legion, with other organizations participating including such groups as Hollywood First Presbyterian Church, Boy Scouts, Camp Fire Girls, Hollywood and Fairfax High School Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC), Hollywood Bowl Association, Veterans of Foreign Wars, G.A.R. and the Hollywood Police Department.



Above, the ‘Cupid and Psyche’ replica on display at Lake Como 

where the Hollywood Forever replica was carved.



The exact replica of “Cupid and Psyche,” carved from Italian marble, was ordered by Hollywood Cemetery’s manager, Frank Heron and was carved at Lake Como, Italy at a cost of approximately $25,000. Another replica carved by a student of Canova’s still rests in Lake Como and was the inspiration for the Hollywood Cemetery reproduction.


Canova’s original called ‘Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss,’ first commissioned in 1787, was donated to the Louvre Museum in Paris in 1824 by Joachim Murat; Prince Yusupov, a Russian nobleman who originally acquired the piece in Rome in 1796, gave a later version (created in 1796) to the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg.



Above, the original Canova statue at the Louvre



Art representatives in Europe assured Frank Heron that few experts could tell the difference between the original and the replica being sent to Hollywood. The statue is reputed to be the only marble replica of the masterpiece in the United States. There were three copies of “Cupid and Psyche” in America but they were made of plaster – at the Metropolitan, Chicago and Carnegie Museums. The statue reached New York City on May 9, 1929 and arrived in Hollywood two weeks later.


On Thursday, May 30, 1929, Hollywood’s first Memorial Day parade assembled at the Legion Stadium on El Centro and, with a police escort and the Hollywood Legion band leading, proceeded down El Centro to Sunset Boulevard, west on Sunset to Vine, south to Santa Monica and east on Santa Monica to Hollywood Cemetery where Memorial Day services were conducted.





Dr. H. M. Cook, world traveler, was master of ceremonies. The principal feature of the exercises was the unveiling of the marble replica of “Cupid and Psyche,” in front of the Chapel of the Pines followed by addresses from Judge Rosenkranz and Mrs. Leland Atherton Irish, the military salute to the dead and decorating of soldiers’ graves. More than 300 veterans of all wars were buried in Hollywood Cemetery at the time.


The United Daughters of the Confederacy, under the direction of Mrs. Thomas Jefferson Douglas, conducted a service at the Confederate plot. A brief address was delivered by W. E. Edmondson, retired chaplain of the United States Navy and of the American Legion of California.








On Monday, May 30, 2011, the statue will celebrate 82 years at its present location.


It’s rumored that when Jean Harlow died in 1937, her fiancé William Powell considered purchasing the statue for her final resting place but decided on Forest Lawn in Glendale instead.





I have no idea if the statue is still available for purchase or the asking price if it is, however it certainly would make a beautiful and historic permanent residence.



Please follow and like us:

Jeff Conaway Obituary

Friday, May 27th, 2011


Jeff Conaway, actor in ‘Grease’ and ‘Taxi,’ dies at 60



Jeff Conaway came to fame in the movie ‘Grease’ and on TV’s ‘Taxi.’ More recently he was known for appearances on ‘Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew.’


By Dennis McLellan
Los Angeles Times
May 27, 2011


Jeff Conaway, an actor who came to fame in the late 1970s as a high school greaser in the hit movie musical “Grease” and as a regular on the TV series “Taxi” but in more recent years was known for his appearances on “Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew,” died Friday. He was 60.


Click here to continue reading the Los Angeles Times obituary for Jeff Conway



Please follow and like us:

Vincent Price’s 100th Birthday

Friday, May 27th, 2011


Vincent Price





  • BORN: May 27, 1911, St. Louis, Missouri
  • DIED: October 25, 1993, Los Angeles, California
  • CAUSE OF DEATH: Lung cancer and emphysema
  • BURIAL: Ashes scattered over Point Dume


 Click HERE to watch Vincent Price do the Monster Mash



Please follow and like us:

Toto Memorial Marker Dedication

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011


Toto memorial marker dedication





Saturday, June 18, 2011

11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Hollywood Forever Cemetery

6000 Santa Monica Blvd, Hollywood, CA, 90038


Fans of the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz will celebrate the dedication of a full size bronze memorial sculpture of Toto, Dorothy’s beloved dog. The Cairn Terrier’s original grave marker was destroyed in 1958 to make way for a Los Angeles freeway. Attendees are encouraged to bring their pets.


More on the life of Toto at a future date on Hollywoodland


Link to Donate to the Endowment Fund for care of the monument and the cemetery using FundRazr (PayPal) CLICK HERE



Please follow and like us:

Huguette Clark Obituary

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011


 Huguette Clark Dead: Reclusive Mining Fortune Heiress Dies At 104





NOTE-HOLLYWOOD CONNECTION: Huguette Clark is the half-sister of William Andrews Clark Jr., who founded the Los Angeles Philharmonic and is interred in his own iconic mausoleum at Hollywood Forever Cemetery.



NEW YORK — Huguette Clark, the 104-year-old heiress to a Montana copper fortune who once lived in the largest apartment on Fifth Avenue, has died at a Manhattan hospital even as an investigation continues into how her millions were handled.


Clark spent the last two decades of her life in New York City hospitals. She died Tuesday, “with dignity and privacy,” her lawyer, Wallace Bock, said in a statement.


The statement was released by Robert Anello, an attorney who represents Bock in an investigation into Clark’s finances.


The Manhattan district attorney is looking into claims made by Clark’s family that she was kept isolated from almost everyone except Bock and her accountant and that she may not have understood decisions being made related to her fortune.


Clark was born in 1906 to a then 67-year-old U.S. senator, William A. Clark of Montana, and a 28-year-old Michigan woman named Anna Eugenia La Chapelle. Clark had made a fortune in mining and was one of the richest men in America. He built railroads across the United States, founding Las Vegas in the process.


Huguette Clark’s fortune is believed to be worth some $500 million. As of last year, she still owned a 42-room, multi-floor apartment at 907 Fifth Ave.; a Connecticut castle surrounded by 52 acres of land; and a Santa Barbara, Calif., mansion built on a 23-acre bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean.


The Daily News writes that Huguette “traded in aristocracy for eccentricity” and removed herself from the outside world — and her vast fortune — after the death of her mother.


MNBC ran a report about Huguette’s elusive lifestyle and her abandoned mansions. Andre Baeyens, Clark’s grand-halfnephew, told NBC’s “Today” show that “Everything stopped for her when her mother died. She didn’t want to go out. She didn’t want to have beautiful things, no, no. She just wanted to be home and play with her dolls.”


Beginning in the 1960s, Clark rarely left her Fifth Avenue home, having whatever she needed delivered. She moved into a hospital in the 1980s. Bill Dedman of MSNBC tracked Clark down last year and found her living in a very nondescript, almost “drab” hospital room. She was doing fine, but said she just wanted to be left alone.


Bock and accountant Irving Kamsler had been in charge of her financial affairs for years, and they’re among the few people who have contact with her. Distant relatives say they have not seen her in years.



Please follow and like us:

Margaret Rowen – Hollywood’s prophetess of doom

Friday, May 20th, 2011


Margaret W. Rowen: Hollywood’s prophetess of doom




By Allan R. Ellenberger


If you haven’t already heard, it’s been prophesied that the end of the world will occur on Saturday, May 21 according to evangelist Harold Camping, an 89-year-old evangelist who owns Family Radio, a vast international network of Christian radio stations. Camping has been predicting the end of the world for the past two years; however a similar prediction went unrealized in the mid-1990s. Camping and his followers say that at 6 p.m. on May 21, in each time zone, the ground will quake, graves will open and many of the dead will ascend to heaven. Two hundred million of the ‘saved’ — dead or alive — will float up. Those left behind will be doomed to live among destruction and disease for five months before God annihilates the Earth on October 21.


Whether Camping’s prophesy will be fulfilled is still to be determined. However few are aware that Hollywood once had its own prophet – or prophetess, who also predicted the end of the world.


In 1923, Margaret W. Rowen, a prophet in the Reformed Seventh Day Adventist Church, prophesied that the world would end on Friday, February 6, 1925 and that Christ, coming to earth a second time, would call the faithful to assemble on a hill near Hollywood.


Rowen became an Adventist in 1912. She claimed to receive her first vision on June 22, 1916 which she shared with members of a prayer group at her South Side Los Angeles Church, gaining a small following. Several church leaders, especially Dr. Bert E. Fullmer, supported her. In 1918, church investigators had concluded her visions were not of heavenly origin. The following year Rowen, Fullmer and at least two other ministers were excommunicated.


In 1920, a document was found in the files of Adventist’s church cofounder, Ellen G. White, dated August 10, 1911 and was assumed to be written by White that announced Rowen as a succeeding prophetess. At its peak, the Rowenite movement had around 1,000 followers. Afterward, Rowen gave several false predictions, however this did not prevent her from trying again. In November 1923, Rowen announced that the world would end on February 6, 1925, and convinced a group of followers to accept her assertions.


In late January 1925, it was announced that 144,000 of the chosen would be guided by a light and would assemble on a hill and be saved. Some of Rowen’s followers reportedly sold their property and was making ready for the end. Those who did not find it convenient to come to California prepared for the end wherever they were. From her Hollywood home at 1112 Gower Street, Rowen denied that she had told her followers to sell their property and come to California.


“The righteous who have the attributes of Christ in their daily lives will see Jesus and be caught up with him for 1,000 years,” said Rowen on January 30. “When we received the message we broadcast it by telegraph, by cable and had an airplane distribute handbills making the announcement.”


Rowen said that at the time of her vision, other Adventists in Denmark, Sweden, Italy and India also had the same revelation. She said she had been called on the telephone by four persons. They told her they also heard a voice announcing the coming of Christ on February 6, 1925.


The Seventh Day Adventist Church flatly repudiated Rowen’s claims declaring that they “do not now teach nor have they ever taught that the date can be set for the end of the world as it is entirely contrary to the doctrines of the church.”


On February 4, Rowen’s associate, Dr. Bert E. Fullmer, who lived in the other half of her house on Gower, and recently assumed the mantle of spokesman of the Rowenite cult was called on by the Deputy Chief Prosecutor of Los Angeles. He said he had received various complaints about the management of the earth’s demise and was duty-bound to conduct an investigation.


It was rumored that Rowen left Los Angeles early that morning for an unrevealed destination. Threats had been made against her by telephone and letter. Fullmer admitted she was gone and knew her whereabouts, but declined to name the location or the specific reasons for her departure.


On February 6 — the day of reckoning — Rowen and approximately 100 of her followers gathered at a secret meeting place on a hill between Hollywood and Pasadena to await the sign of the second coming of Christ, which was predicted for midnight. A veil of drizzling mist hid the hill tops where Rowen’s cult was assembled. Reportedly, they awaited the appearance of a black cloud which would be invisible to the unbeliever. They believed that the elect would be transported to a mountain near San Diego to watch the fire and pestilence ravage the earth. The elect would then start on a seven day trip to heaven, stopping at various planets for food and to gather other souls.


At midnight a reporter rang the door bell of Rowen’s Gower Street home where lights were burning. Instantly the lights went out. That was the only sign that uninvited observers were able to reach in connection with the proclaimed hour of fulfillment.


When the Second Coming failed to materialize according to Rowen’s prediction, her close associates worked on an explanation of why the big event was a failure. Rowen was in seclusion and there were growing rumors that she had left Los Angeles and was not expected to return. Fullmer was sequestered at his home and was said to be ill. Rowen’s followers were divided on the ill-advised prophecy. Some were disappointed in having failed to see the sign of the second resurrection of Christ, the heavenly searchlight, and the beginning of the doom of the earth. Others still expressed faith in the divine origin of Rowen’s visions and were content in the belief that the second coming was at hand.


On February 26, Rowan and Fullmer came out of hiding and appeared before the city’s chief investigator and denied any fraudulent dealings with members of her church or that she had influenced any of them to dispose of personal effects to make donations to her cause. “I have not been in hiding,” Rowen told the investigators, “but have simply tried to avoid the annoyances which may people have attempted to heap upon me.”


She denied that her followers had been diminished or had lost faith in her leadership.


“There was no miscalculation in the date,” Rowen claimed. “But we did not predict that the world would end on February 6. We were simply misquoted. The coming of Christ does not mean the end of the world. The earth is now the home of the saved. What we meant was that Jesus would return to earth on a cloud from heaven.”


Nothing came of the investigation and it was a year until Rowen was heard of again. She and Fullmer had a falling out and he went public admitting that he had planted the 1920 fraudulent document describing Rowen as a prophetess in the Ellen G. White archives. In the March 1926 issue of a church periodical, he presented his conclusion that Rowen was a fraud. In response, she and two of her followers conspired to murder him. They lured Fullmer to an auto camp in North Hollywood on February 27, 1926 and assaulted him with a piece of gas pipe and a hypodermic needle containing a solution of morphine.


Rowen and her cohorts were sentenced to prison terms for “assault with a deadly weapon, with intent to do great bodily harm.” Before they could proceed with another trial for attempted murder, Fullmer died. Rowen served a one-year sentence in San Quentin State Prison, by which time her movement had fallen apart. When Rowen was released from prison, she fled from parole, and disappeared from public life. It is thought that she may have spent a number of years in Florida before she returned to the Los Angeles area under a pseudonym. She is believed to have died in the late 1940s or 1950s. 



Please follow and like us:

Hollywood Stars and their Telephones

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011


Hollywood stars and their telephones




By Allan R. Ellenberger


Private telephone lines refused to remain private for very long and added to the problems of Hollywood stars who attempted to keep their home life apart from their film careers.


At one time, someone, wishing to “have some fun” at the expense of actor Lew Cody, published his private telephone number. The next day the telephone company, unable to handle the calls into the Cody home, rushed an emergency crew to his Beverly Hills house to install a new system.


Nils Asther’s private telephone number was given out by the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studio to a caller who posed as a friend. Before long Asther was deluged with strangers calling him at all hours of the day and night. He had to change his number.


Few screen stars had their telephones listed, but when they did it was a “blind” number that led to secretarial offices, a personal telephone always was listed confidentially or under another name and address that could not be traced.


John Gilbert had a regular house telephone, but had a private phone in his study which he answered himself. Greta Garbo’s telephone was listed to her housekeeper, who was given the names of persons she expected to call.


Ramon Novarro’s home number was under his family name of Samaniego, and Norma Shearer’s home telephone was listed as an address only.


If one happened to get Lon Chaney’s number by mistake and asked whose home it was, one would be told: “This is Oxford so-and-so. Who is this, please?” Beyond that one would gain no inkling of the subscriber’s identity.


Bessie Love had two telephones, one for her household needs and a private line for herself. William Haines also had a private line, and Buster Keaton’s house had an elaborate extension system so he could pick up the phone wherever he happened to be.


All of the private lines had cutoff keys so that a star, leaving the house or retiring for the night, could disconnect the telephone, a no-answer signal informing friends that they were not available.


Despite all the privacy precautions, however, the number leak out to salesmen and canvassers and the average life of a private number in Hollywood was estimate at about four months.



Please follow and like us:

Maureen O’Sullivan’s 100th Birthday

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011


Maureen O’Sullivan








Click HERE to watch Maureen O’Sullivan “Tarzan and His Mate”



Please follow and like us:

Dustin O’Halloran at the Masonic Lodge

Monday, May 16th, 2011


Dustin O’Halloran in the Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever



89.9 KCRW and Hollywood Forever present

a special performance in The Masonic Lodge on

Friday, May 27th, 2011 by:  

Dustin O’Halloran 

Doors will open at 8:00pm

Concert begins at 9:00pm 

Tickets are $20 and are on sale HERE or at 

Parking is FREE on site.


Dustin O’Halloran will be performing works from his new album Lumiere. Released earlier this year, Lumiere represents a departure for the Los Angeles-born, Berlin-based composer. Instead of the solo piano work of previous efforts, for Lumiere, O’Halloran arranges strings by New York’s acclaimed ACME ensemble, as well as subtle electronics, guitar from Stars of the Lid’s Adam Wiltzie and violin from prodigious young composer/arranger Peter Broderick. The end product is a collection of miniature symphonies so heartbreakingly crafted that one could be forgiven for imagining the grandest scale film pieces or a master of classical composition at work.


O’Halloran will be accompanied by a string ensemble comprised of members of Magik*Magik Orchestra.


The BBC lauded Lumiere’s “universally affecting resonance,” and Magnet called it “a must-hear by any measure,” “easily one of the most affecting collections to come from the modern-classical and ambient-music camps in recent years.” The Toronto Star praised “O’Halloran’s impeccably crafted style,” while Textura called it “aural catnip to listeners whose taste runs to Nils Frahm, Eluvium, Goldmund, Max Richter, Sylvain Chaveau, Hauschka, and Peter Broderick.”  


O’Halloran has been in the news recently for scoring Sundance Grand Jury Prize-winning film Like Crazy, which will be released nationally this fall by Paramount. The film’s soundtrack includes three tracks from Lumiere.


For more information on Dustin O’Halloran please visit

For more information on KCRW please visit


Hollywood Forever Cemetery is a beautiful landmark of Hollywood’s past, present and future. Founded in 1899, it is one of the oldest standing landmarks in Los Angeles. The final resting place of many of the early founders and artists that defined the city (including Cecil B. DeMille, Douglas Fairbanks, Rudolph Valentino, Jayne Mansfield), it is also a cultural center for the arts with the popular outdoor summer film series, the annual Dia de los Muertos festival and musical performances at Hollywood Forever’s Masonic Lodge. For more information on Hollywood Forever please visit


If you have any questions please e-mail:



Please follow and like us:

Review of ‘Hollywood Story’

Saturday, May 14th, 2011


The true ‘Hollywood Story’ is solved 

 Hollywood Story poster


By Allan R. Ellenberger

Recently I had the pleasure to watch the rare film, Hollywood Story (1951), starring Richard Conte, Richard Egan, Henry HullFred Clark and in one of her early film appearances, Julie Adams (billed as Julia Adams).


The film was obviously inspired by the unsolved William Desmond Taylor murder that occurred barely 30 years earlier — a famous Hollywood director (named Franklin Ferrara in the film) is found shot and dead in his bungalow. The case goes unsolved and ruins several Hollywood careers including one of the directors leading ladies, an actor who is rumored to have murdered him and a screen writer who becomes a destitute beachcomber.  


Helen Gibson, William Farnum and Francis X. Bushman being greeted by the studio guard at the entrance of the former Chaplin Studios


Besides the cast mentioned earlier, there are cameos by former silent film favorites, Francis X. Bushman, William Farnum and Helen Gibson and an appearance by Joel McCrea who plays himself. But the real star of the film, in my opinion, are the scenes of old Hollywood. The film opens with a shot of Hollywood Boulevard looking west from Vine Street with the Broadway Department Store entrance and the Warner Theater clearly visible.


Other scenes include the NBC Studios (now demolished) on Sunset and Vine and shots of the Hollywood Christmas Parade as it passes Grauman’s Chinese Theater. The swimming pool of the Roosevelt Hotel makes an appearance as does portions of the famed Sunset Strip.


Richard Conte and Julie Adams near poolside at the Roosevelt Hotel in The Hollywood Story


The plot of the film revolves around Larry O’Brien (Richard Conte) a Broadway producer who arrives in Hollywood to try his hand at filmmaking. Based on facts presented to him, he decides to make a film about the Franklin Ferrara murder. His friend and now-agent (played by Jim Backus), finds him an old abandoned studio that just happens to be where Ferrara was found murdered. This begins the chain of events for his plans to make a movie about Ferrara — investigating the facts himself and getting in trouble in the process.


While the film is produced by Universal (the old entrance to the studio also has a cameo), they rented the Charlie Chaplin Studios on La Brea just south of Sunset as the stand-in for the studio where Ferrara was murdered and where O’Brien will now make his film. A long shot of the bungalow clearly shows the neon sign atop the Roosevelt Hotel (and is still visible today) in the background and the distinctive brick gate entrance to the studio can be seen from inside the lot. It is at this front gate that Conte greets silent film stars, Bushman, Farnum and Gibson. In another scene Conte runs outside the gate onto the sidewalk just as he sees Julie Adams and Paul Cavanaugh make an escape up La Brea and around the corner at Sunset.


I don’t believe Hollywood Story was ever released on video or DVD, but it should be. If you ever have the opportunity to see this film and old Hollywood is one of your interests, I highly recommend it.



 The studio guard, Richard Conte and Jim Backus walking onto the Chaplin lot. Notice the ornate tower in the background which is the entrance to the studio. That same tower is below.




 The studio guard greeting Francis X. Bushman at the entrance of the former Chaplin Studios in The Hollywood Story. Below is the same spot as it looks today.




 Richard Conte stands on the sidewalk outside the entrance to the former Chaplin Studios looking north toward Sunset. Below is the same spot as it looks today.





Please follow and like us: