Archive for July 5th, 2018

Marsha Hunt’s Sweet Adversity @ Laemmle’s Town Center 5, Encino

Thursday, July 5th, 2018

Laemmle’s Town Center 5

17200 Ventura Blvd #121, Encino, Calif

(310) 478-3836

Show dates: Friday, July 13 through Thursday, July 19

Show Times: Daily: 1:30pm, 4:30pm

 

Marsha Hunt was discovered while on a trip to Hollywood in May 1935. She was 17 years old when she was signed by Paramount Pictures. In the depth of the Depression, she made $250 a week. She went on to a flourishing career at MGM in the 1940’s before her career was cut short by a series of unfortunate events that led to her becoming unfairly blacklisted. Through interviews with Marsha and those who knew her well, Marsha Hunt’s Sweet Adversity explores her life and career achievements as an actress and activist.

The film breaks Marsha’s life story down into three parts – her life before being blacklisted, the period leading up to the blacklist and her life after the blacklist. It shows how the blacklist served as a “springboard” to her second career as a full time activist and humanitarian (though she’s still very much an actor.)

Marsha’s life before the blacklist was a time of great joy and innocence. The period leading up to her being blacklisted provides the drama and tension in the film. Her story is a history lesson that can only be told by someone who was there as Marsha was. She is the only member of the Committee for the First Amendment alive today that can talk about the trip she and others took in October 1947 to support the “Hollywood 19.”

In 1950, her thriving career in radio, television and films came to a screeching halt when her name appeared in the right wing publication “Red Channels.” After witnessing abject poverty while on a trip around the world in 1955, Marsha knew she had to educate her fellow Americans about the dire state of the world. She used her celebrity to help raise awareness and funds for the work that the United Nations was doing on behalf of the planet.

Over the course of the next 60 years, Marsha devoted her life to humanitarian causes such as ending world hunger and homelessness. Over the years, she worked with fellow activists Eleanor Roosevelt and George McGovern (who is interviewed in the film) and celebrities such as John Denver and Valerie Harper (also interviewed) on the issue of fighting world hunger.

Her most powerful and meaningful activism work took place when she was asked to be the “Honorary Mayor” of her hometown, Sherman Oaks. Her crowning achievement as Mayor was opening the first homeless shelter in the San Fernando Valley thirty-two years ago.

Her life story has peaks and valleys that span the course of the 20th century. The underlying theme of the documentary is that Marsha rose above adversity. When life handed her lemons, she made lemonade. When the industry she loved turned its back on her, she forgave them and moved on a second career as a “planet patriot.”

She continues to support causes that she feels need a voice. This film is Marsha’s final act of activism. Through her words and action, this film will serve as an inspirational primer for activists of all ages. (Laemmle)

Praise for Marsha Hunt’s Sweet Adversity:

“A compelling story that’s told with authority … at (age) 100, it’s time to celebrate an actress who, while not a household name, probably should be.” – Jeremy Kinser, Moviemaker.com 

“Best film I have ever seen dealing with the Hollywood blacklist.” – Ed Asner

“Passionate … worth checking out due to the life and nature of this remarkable woman.” – Lara Fowler, Backlots.net

“(Contains many) memorable scenes … Marsha Hunt was as American and as patriotic as her accusers claimed to be.” – Dennis McCarthy, Los Angeles Daily News

About the Film:
Marsha Hunt was discovered while on a trip to Hollywood in May 1935. She was 17 years old when she was signed by Paramount Pictures. In the depth of the Depression, she made $250 a week. She went on to a flourishing career at MGM in the 1940’s before her career was cut short by a series of unfortunate events that led to her becoming unfairly blacklisted. Through interviews with Marsha and those who knew her well, Marsha Hunt’s Sweet Adversity explores her life and career achievements as an actress and activist.

NR

Genre: Documentary
Runtime: 97 min
Language: English

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H. J. Whitley: Father of Hollywood

Thursday, July 5th, 2018

Hobart Johnstone Whitley was born in Toronto, Canada on October 7, 1847, of Scottish-English parentage. As a child he moved to Flint, Michigan, where he was educated in the public schools and later at Toronto Business College. 

Whitley engaged in banking and land development in Kansas City and Minneapolis, establishing banks and townsites along the Northern Pacific Railroad, and for a time managed the H. J. Whitley Land and Mortgage Company. He platted the towns and built brick and stone business buildings in Oklahoma City, El Reno, Chickasha, Enid, Medfore, and other cities on the Rock Island Railroad.

In 1887 he married Margaret Virginia Ross and had two children, Grace Virginia and Ross Emmet. Because of bad health, Whitley came to California in 1893 and the following year established the H. J. Whitley Jewelry Store, for many years the largest in the city. In 1900 he bought the Hurd property north of Hollywood Boulevard, between Wilcox and Whitley, south of Yucca Street, which he later subdivided into what became known as Whitley Home Tract. As a result of the success of this subdivision, one of the first in Hollywood, Whitley became known as the “Father of Hollywood.”

In 1905, Whitley and a group of Los Angeles investors undertook the development of 47,000 acres in the San Joaquin Valley and carried through a similar project involving nearly 50,000 acres in the San Fernando Valley.

(click image to enlarge)

Whitley continued his activities in Southern California property until 1922, when he completed the development of Whitley Heights, which was one of the first hillside subdivisions in Hollywood. The opening of the tract in 1920 was the scene of a public barbeque, with city officials and business men of the city as guests. Whitley Heights would become the first celebrity neighborhood and home to such film stars as Francis X. Bushman, Eugene O’Brien, Barbara La Marr and Rudolph Valentino.

In addition to his real estate development, Whitley was one of the founders of the Home Savings Bank and was identified with the organization of the First National Bank of Hollywood, the First National Bank of Van Nuys and State banks in Canoga Park, Reseda and Corcoran.

On June 3, 1931, while staying as a guest of his son at the Whitley Park Country Club in Van Nuys, H. J. Whitley died in his sleep at the age of 83. Whitley was survived by his wife Margaret, his daughter Grace, son Ross and three grandchildren. Funeral services were conducted at the Strother Funeral Chapel at 6240 Hollywood Boulevard with interment at Hollywood Cemetery.

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