Archive for the ‘Celebrity First-Person’ Category

Nelson Eddy voices his opinion

Sunday, July 18th, 2010


Cinema actresses found boring by Nelson Eddy




Edited by Allan R. Ellenberger


In 1936, singer and actor, Nelson Eddy made the list of most eligible bachelors along with Woolworth Donahue, Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt, Dick Powell and Gene Raymond. Before leaving Hollywood on a four-month concert tour, Eddy told columnist Sheilah Graham that he hated film actresses!


“They are egotistical, insincere, self-centered, and look like animated paint-boxes (ouch),” he told Graham. Don’t worry; he also voiced his condemnation of Hollywood male actors, Hollywood parties and Hollywood itself.


“The whole place is like a madhouse,” he declared before slipping back to the original subject. “Most film actresses are incredibly boring. I haven’t met one that I’d even vaguely like to marry.


“But it isn’t entirely their fault,” he added. “Movie actresses are forced to lead an unnatural life. When they come to Hollywood their personalities are changed. They must be selfish and ruthless, or they won’t get beyond their first featured role.


“It’s the same with the male stars. In all my life I’ve never seen such a bunch of conceited men as there are here – with the possible exception of those working in opera. But, again, it isn’t altogether their fault. Some of them are forced to adopt an attitude that is purposely misleading.


“Take Ronald Colman, for instance. Several people here think he is high-hat and stand-offish. In actual fact, there couldn’t be anyone nicer. But he is forced to keep aloof or he’d be imposed on by celebrity hunters, and pestered to death by nuisances, ranging from maniacs to insurance salesmen, and lady reporters,” he said smiling at Graham.


“I have to change my telephone number at least once a week – to avoid film people inviting me to their parties. Hollywood parties are very boring. Nearly all follow the same dull pattern. When eight or more people are present, a horde of photographers are invited to crash the gates and take pictures of everyone in every conceivable place and position – not omitting the shower.


“Of course, there are exceptions. A few film people, like Jeanette MacDonald and Basil Rathbone give parties because they want to see their friends, not because they have a mad desire to see their names and pictures in the papers.”


Eddy told Graham that he wasn’t going to marry for quite a while – unless he fell in love, which he said wouldn’t happen for some time (Eddy married Ann Franklin three years later).


SOURCE: Los Angeles Times, January 10, 1936



Norma Talmadge talks

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010


An autobiography by Norma Talmadge




This following article appeared in the Los Angeles Times in 1917.  


By Norma Talmadge


I am 20 years of age and therefore much too young to write an autobiography. However, my short life has been a stage of many interesting, and, I might well say, happy occurrences, and of these I am quite willing to make you my confidant.


I was born at Niagara Falls, where I spent the first ten years of my childhood amid most pleasant scenes. Indeed, when I am in a pensive mood my earliest and fondest recollections go back to the days I spent at the most beautiful spot in the whole world, the objective of all globe-trotters, the origin of the slogan, “See America First.”


Through force of circumstances our family moved to New York City. The contrast between Niagara Falls and the noisy city was indeed great. But as time wore on I soon grew to like my new home almost as well as my old one.


At school, one of those little private schools where men are barred from the premises, I had great fun. Pillow fights, night parties, secret smuggling of love letters and private theatricals. These were but a few of the many happy events of my boarding school days.


How I chose motion pictures as a profession is still a wonder to me. If I remember correctly, the nucleus of my ardent desire was formed at a show six years ago, when I was impressed by a picture I saw that I made up my mind to apply for a job the very next day. Accordingly, bright and early Saturday morning – you see I even remember the day – I was up just as determined as the night before.


I was literally jostled onto the screen, for when I reached the studio numerous stage hands were vigorously shifting scenery and I was caught in a whirlpool of white-overalled humanity and scenic flats, with their backgrounds of gorgeous ornamentations embracing interior sets, and pushed into the heart of studio activity.


I was only a little girl then and therefore had to put on a long skirt to make me look older, and I was so excited I got all tangled up in its folds.


But I felt quite at ease when a woman scenario writer was so kind as to notice me and help me get an extra part. They seemed to like me, for I was put in stock at once at a salary of $25 per week.


Since then I have made several important advances which have finally terminated in what I consider my greatest achievement – my marriage to Joseph M. Schenck and the formation of my own producing company.


Check out the new Norma Talmadge DVD release from KinoThe Norma Talmadge Collection featuring Kiki (1926) and Within the Law (1923). Click here for more information.




Colleen Moore on Magic in Hollywood

Thursday, November 19th, 2009


Magic — one of filmland’s chief sources of pastime


Colleen Moore


The Magic Castle, located at 7001 Franklin Avenue at the foot of the Hollywood Hills, is currently observing the centennial of it’s headquarters which was built by banker Rollin B. Lane in 1909. To celebrate, over the next couple of weeks I will post a biography of Lane and the history of the mansion and articles on magic and magicians in Hollywood. Today is a commentary by film star, Colleen Moore that appeared in the Los Angeles Times on November 27, 1927.


By Colleen Moore
Los Angeles Times
November 27, 1927


I never realized until I became interested in the art of magic how many other persons in the screen world are also fond of sleight of hand. I supposee it remains one of the most fascinating hobbies in existence and once you become more or less familiar with it you realize what a widespread thing it is.


I heard the other day that the Prince of Wales is intrigued by it. When he was in Canada not long ago (Max) Malini, the well-known magician, was in his party. Royalty has always been prominent among the devotees of legerdemain.


Int'l Brotherhood of Magicians


I wonder how many know that  there are a number of magazines devoted to magic? There is one magazine called the Sphinx which seems to be read by magicians everywhere. The Linking Ring is another. In England the Magic Wand and the Magician lead the field. In these, new tricks are described and the activities of magical societies are announced.


Everywhere there are organizations of magicians. The Society of American Magicians, of which the late Houdini was president, has a membership of 1,500, with branches in all the big cities. The International Brotherhood of Magicians also has a large membership. There are two societies right in Los Angeles — the Los Angeles Society of Magicians and the Hollywood Mystic 27.


I have discovered that among others Harold Lloyd, Neil Hamilton, Raymond McKee, King Vidor, T. Roy Barnes and Burr McIntosh are interested in the practice of conjuring.


Colleen Moore


I am told that throughout the world there are great magical repositories where the apparatus is manufactured and sold. There is one in Los Angeles that turns out beautiful illusions, as well as smaller tricks and it is like an Aladdin’s palace of wonder.


For the person who does not boast some other accomplishment, such as singing or instrumental music, magic is a wonderful form of social entertainment. Nearly everyone enjoys books on the subject and I can assure you that there is a lot of psychology involved. One’s wits are increased and observation developed. I am sure a great magician is a wonderful psychologist.


I wonder how many outside the art realize that one of the world’s greatest magicians lived and died in Los Angeles. I refer to Harry Kellar, known as the dean of American magicians. For years he was one of the foremost exponents of the art, a rival of the late Alexander Herrmann and succeeded by Thurston.




I don’t expect to become a profound student, but I do find a lot of relaxation and amusement in the art, which has as one of its slogans, “The closer you watch the less you see.”