Posts Tagged ‘harold lloyd’

Gloria Lloyd’s Obituary

Sunday, March 4th, 2012

OBITUARY

Gloria Lloyd: Actress who had a gilded life as Harold Lloyd’s daughter

 

(SafetyLast)

 

Kevin Brownlow
London Independent
February 27, 2012

  

The daughter of the great silent film comedian Harold Lloyd and his actress wife Mildred Davies, Gloria Lloyd had an enchanted childhood.

 

The first thing her father constructed, when he built a 44-room house called Greenacres in Beverly Hills in 1929, was a fairytale thatched cottage, specially for her, copied from the playhouse built for Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret Rose in England.

 

 

“I was only five when we moved to Greenacres,” she recalled, “and I was still an only child. I was overwhelmed with the whole place. But the following year, when my sister arrived, I began to get things in better perspective.” The sister, Peggy, was adopted and a brother, Harold Jr, was born soon thereafter.

 

“The odd thing about my brother was that he became the funny man of the family,” she said. “He had terrific wit and my father wasn’t a funny man off screen – he was more intellectual. He was a happy person with an almost childlike enjoyment of living. I think he could have lived until he was 200 and still found many interests. He had a desire to learn and enjoy. I love that quality in people and I loved it in him.’

 

The children were kept away from Lloyd’s film work until they were older. “That was really a treat. We’d get all dressed up and they gave us little chairs and we’d sit and watch him – and really, I didn’t believe it was my father playing a scene. It was somebody entirely different. The first film I saw of his, it scared me so much that I stood up in the theatre and said, ‘Don’t you hurt my daddy!’ They took me home and I ran into the library and threw myself into his arms, because I couldn’t believe that he hadn’t been hurt.

 

“Eventually, I enjoyed his films. They were a little scary but I liked them. When we were six or seven, he began to have Sunday-night movies. He’d run all the first-run releases from Paramount, MGM and Fox and we’d come down in our nightclothes and sit on our parents’ laps – and interspersed were the home movies.”

 

Family home movies were occasionally shot by the crew making the current Lloyd comedy – sometimes in full sound. Several were filmed at the Olympic-size pool just before the Lloyd family’s European trip in 1932. In one of them, Harold Lloyd asks tiny Harold Jr, “What kind of actor is your daddy?” and the baby blows a raspberry.

 

The trip was the first time Harold had been abroad, let alone the family. Lloyd had come from a poor background; his father sold sewing machines and his mother made hats.

 

“My dad and I were very good friends,” said Gloria. “We had a lot of fun together and he was so understanding of your personal problems. He was a very determined, positive person and rather over-protective. We locked horns a few times, because I’m determined too, but there was a great deal of love.”

 

In the 1930s, a spate of kidnappings transfixed Hollywood. “That was a scary time because we were old enough to know what was going on. We had two guards outside of our room with guns in holsters. Nice guys – they made fun for us children. But they used to go with us wherever we went, even to thetennis court. One taught me how to rollerskate. We weren’t allowed to go many places. So it was a very sheltered childhood.”

 

According to the historian Annette d’Agostino Lloyd, “As parents, Harold and Mildred were generous to thepoint of overindulgence. The children even had a private zoo.” But Harold insisted they learn the value of money. At 13, Gloria and her friends had a lemonade stand on Benedict Canyon Drive. They charged a dime a glass, but Mildred made sure they gave the profits to the church.

 

Gloria’s relationship with her mother, Mildred, was tense. “She was a very beautiful woman, and a very strong lady in many ways. She was like the iron fist in a velvet glove. I always wanted her to be more like a sister to me.”

 

Gloria was educated at Miss Barnett’s School in Cannes and Westlake School for Girls in Los Angeles, and she and her sister were students at UCLA. Lloyd ran the family on strict Victorian lines. Drinking was forbidden. Pocket money was limited to $30 a month while the girls were at college, and they were expected to travel there by bicycle.

 

“As we grew up we had to be heavily chaperoned. It seems a little strange now, but we went out on dates with the chauffeur and the governess. Boyfriends came to the estate and were screened by Clementine, our housekeeper for 45 years. We felt like a Hollywood royal family.”

 

Extremely attractive, with long blonde curls, Gloria became a successful model. Although Paramount cast her in Temptation (1946) with Merle Oberon, her film career was short-lived. She worked in radio in the 1940s. She also became a prolific painter.

 

In 1950, Gloria’s wedding took place by the fountain on the great lawn at Greenacres. The marriage didn’t last, and with Gloria spending longer and longer times abroad, her daughter Suzanne was brought up by Harold and Mildred. Suzanne grew up to oversee the Harold Lloyd Trust and Harold Lloyd Entertainment. Gloria had been in poor health for three years, and died on her parents’ wedding anniversary.

 

Mildred Gloria Lloyd Guasti Roberts, actress and model: born Los Angeles 22 May 1923; married 1950 William Guasti (marriage dissolved; one daughter), secondly John Roberts (marriage dissolved); died Santa Monica, California 10 February 2012.

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The movies arrive

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

HOLLYWOOD HISTORY

The Movies get moving

 

 

Early filmmaking in Hollywood (LAPL)

  

By Jim Bishop
1979

 

Hollywood wasn’t always an open air asylum. It was founding in 1887 by retired bluenoses as a prohibition town. No drinks, no excitement.  A horse could not turn a corner at a speed greater than six miles per hour. It was a nice place if you were an orange.

 

Movies were unheard of in Hollywood, even in 1900. The flickering shadows were devised in a place called Fort Lee, N.J. It had forests, rocks, cliffs for cliff-hanging, and the Hudson River.

 

The movie industry had two problems. The weather was unpredictable, and Thomas Edison sued producers who used his invention. A romantic two-reeler could be made in three days for $1,000 if the rain stopped and if the process servers got lost on the Dyckman St. ferry.

 

The Selig Polyscope Co. heard from a director, Francis Boggs, that a tiny town called Hollywood, Calif., had everything. There was perpetual sunshine, palm trees, the Santa Monica Mountains for westerns, a beach for provocative mermaids, and an ocean for sea stories.

 

William Selig, the owner, went to see Edison. They organized the Motion Picture Patent Co. Selig was ready to go west. All he had to move were a couple of hand-cranked cameras, a director, a leading man and a leading lady, and a dozen unemployed actors.

 

 

 

 

In March 1909, Selig arrived in Los Angeles. He didn’t have to bring scenery. It was all in place. His two-reelers created envy in the East. In the autumn, Biograph and D.W. Griffith moved to Los Angeles. By spring, Pathé, Vitagraph, Lubin and Kalem had gone west.

 

Strangely, they not select the small town of Hollywood. The studios were in Glendale, Pasadena, Santa Barbara, San Diego and Santa Monica. It was not until 1911 that David Horsley moved his Nestor Co. west. The prohibition town, Hollywood, had an abandoned saloon at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Gower Street.

 

The prohibitionists learned too late that, while it was desirable to have no booze, Hollywood also had no water. The little town was forced to incorporate itself with Los Angeles. Local ordinances became invalid.

 

At the same time, the suburban towns yanked the welcome mat from the movie people. William Fox moved to Hollywood. Carl Laemmle bought the Nestor studio. Essanay and Vitagraph made it unanimous.

 

Mack Sennett shot his comedies at the beach or in the middle of the street. His actors pushed their way into public parades and skidded automobiles over dusty roads to create excitement.

 

 

 

 

Millions of people were paying a nickel a head to see these epics. Charlie Chaplin arrived. So did Harold Lloyd. A teen-ager named Mary Pickford was seen in a nightie, yawning and holding an automobile tire with a credo: Time to Retire.

 

The brought her out. And Mabel Normand, Tom Mix and William Farnum could actually ride a horse. So could William S. Hart. Movie plots became longer, more intricate. High-ceilinged studios were built. The prohibitionists left Hollywood in dismay. To them, it became a place of sin.

 

Cecil B. DeMille heard that Griffith had spent $100,000 on The Birth of a Nation, featuring the Gish sisters. He decided to spend more on sophisticated movies like Why Change Your Wife? and Forbidden Fruit.

 

The movie-goers admired certain actors. This led to the star system. In 1909, a star was paid $5 a day. Five years later, Mary Pickford was earning $1,000 a week. An English comic, Charlie Chaplin was paid $150 a week in 1913 by Mack Sennett. Two years later, he was getting $10,000 a week.

 

What had started as nickel theater became a gigantic industry. Some studios built their own theaters across the nation. Movies seduced the emotions of America two hours at a time—laughter and tears.

 

Where there is big money there are fights, consolidations and codes. The independent producer was squeezed out or bought out. Movie magazines, which pretend to purvey the private lives of the stars, flourished.

 

Pretty girls in Iowa and Maine were told “you ought to be in pictures.” They went out west and, with few exceptions, became hash slingers or worse. Hollywood became the magic Mecca of make-believe.

 

It was, in those days, a sparkling city of fame and light. Today (1979) it is smog and freeways, freaks and drugs, cults and sexual religions, front money and mortgages, stupendous hits and duds, economic knifings and gossip columnists, movie agents and press agents.

 

Baby, you’ve come a long, long way.

 __________________________________

 

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Caryl S. Fleming at Hollywood Forever

Sunday, December 13th, 2009

HOLLYWOOD FOREVER CEMETERY

Caryl S. Fleming, an immortal of magic

 

Caryl S. Fleming

Caryl S. Fleming (above) does not find a rabbit in his hat (Photo:  IBM Ring #21)

  

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, I will post a biography of Lane and the history of the mansion on January 2, 2010, the 47th anniversary of the organization’s opening. Today, the last in a series of articles on magic and magicians in Hollywood, is about Caryl S. Fleming, a banker and one-time film director whose true love was magic!

 

By Allan R. Ellenberger

 

Since the early days of film, Hollywood has always been the land of make-believe where tricks and sleight of hand are evident in almost every frame. Hollywood has also been a friend to the magical arts – Harold Lloyd was a lover of magic and held meetings in his expansive estate in Beverly Hills. Other Hollywood celebrities such as Chester Morris, Sterling Holloway, Ramon Novarro, Johnny Mack Brown, Gene Raymond, Max Terhune, Bert Kalmar and Edgar Bergen also had an interest in magic.

 

Caryl Stacy Fleming is a name which may not be as familiar to the magically-challenged, but yet he was the major reason for the well-being of conjuring in the Los Angeles area from 1933 to 1940.

 

Fleming was born on October 13, 1890 (although his grave marker reads 1894, official records give his actual year of birth as 1890) at Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the son of Frank Fleming and Grace Rosemary Stacy. As a child he moved with his family to Chicago, where his parents were divorced by the time he was 10 and his mother ran a boarding house on Michigan Avenue.

 

It was in Chicago that a family friend — the dean of magicians, Harry Kellar — sparked his interest in magic. He would spend time at Ed Vernello’s magic shop, learning the basics of conjuring.

 

Caryl S. Fleming

 

In 1910 he moved to New York and was educated at Columbia University. He soon found work on the legitimate stage and in early motion pictures. Around 1916 he married Constance Ethel Norton and they had a daughter, Marjorie Gladys Fleming in August 1917. That same year, he was employed by Film Craft Corporation in New York City as a motion picture director. His final film as a director was The Devil’s Partner (1923) which starred Norma Shearer. This was Shearer’s last film before being signed by Louis B. Mayer Productions (later Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios).

 

Eventually Caryl and Constance were divorced and he left for California in 1927 while Constance and Marjorie remained in New York. By all accounts it was a bitter divorce and reportedly he never saw his ex-wife or daughter again.

 

In California, he became involved with banking and was a director of several institutions, while still devoting himself to the organization of magicians. He was president of the Pacific Coast Association of Magicians and the associated International Alliance of Magicians and was a member of more than fifty magic clubs.

 

He was one of the founders and a one-time president of Los Magicos which met on Wednesday nights, sometimes at his Beverly Hills home. Caryl was the perfect host and loved to manufacture gimmicks in quantity and pass them out to his friends. He was a true friend to magicians everywhere and wanted to have the whole world share the fun he had found in magic. A lover of animals and an ardent amateur photographer, he also dabbled in chemistry and developed a rope cement and several chemicals for use in card tricks.

 

Fleming and ess Houdini

Caryl Fleming, 2nd row, far left with glasses. Bess Houdini in center front row. 

 

In October 1936, Fleming attended the tenth, and final, Houdini séance which was held atop the roof of the Knickerbocker Hotel in Hollywood. A close friend of Bess Houdini, Fleming sat in the inner circle with her and other distinguished magicians in a final attempt to contact her husband. However, no message was received from the great Houdini and it was announced that no further attempts would be made by his widow.

 

Many individual magicians were helped by Fleming’s counsel and directions. His advice was always constuctive, and usually in a humorous way. When he did not like some part of an act, he would say so and then do everything to help the magician change the act for the better. He was a stickler for accuracy. He credited audiences with having too much knowledge to allow a magician to get away with false claims.

 

On Labor Day, September 2, 1940, Fleming was entertaining at his Beverly Hills home (924 N. Beverly Drive). He was showing some card tricks to a friend, Joe Evedon when he suddenly complained of indigestion. He drank a glass of bicarbonate of soda but said that it didn’t seem to help. Then without warning, he slumped into Evedon’s  arms and died from a heart attack just a month shy of his 50th birthday.

 

Tributes poured in from around the country:

 

“Caryl S. Fleming was the true magician,” wrote Edward Saint, past-president of Los Magicos. “He recognized neither race, creed, nor color; and his magic vision drew no geographical borders. Anyone, anywhere in the world, if they had the love of magic in their heart, Fleming called them ‘brother.’ He was of the world, for the world, of magic.”

 

Bess Houdini wrote:

 

“Marble may coldly mark the name and passing of our friend Caryl, but the memory of his prodigious efforts and intense love of magic, the warmth of his handclasp, and his kindly friendliness is engraved on our hearts as one of the Immortals of Magic.”

 

Fleming’s funeral service was held on September 4th from Dayton’s Mortuary in Beverly Hills. Amidst an array of floral tributes, more than 250 magicians gathered to pay last homage. A Universalist minister spoke first (Fleming’s great-great-grandfather established the Universalist church). Then, Bill Larson (the father of Milt and William Larson, founders of the Magic Castle in Hollywood) spoke to those gathered:

 

“Caryl would have been successful in anything he wanted to undertake,” Larson said. “His achievements in the fields of the theater and motion pictures were pronounced. Retiring, he turned his genius to magic. In a few short years he built, in the West, one of the largest and most prosperous organizations of magic the world has ever seen.”

 

Gerald Kosky then gave the S.A.M. ritual and wand breaking rites. Later Caryl S. Fleming was interred in the Cathedral Mausoleum at Hollywood Cemetery.

 

 

Caryl S. Fleming grave

 

 

Caryl S. Fleming grave

 

 

Fleming left an estate worth almost $100,000 to his mother, Grace R. Glaser but bequeathed only one-dollar to his daughter Marjorie, who resided in Glenmoore, Pennsylvania. It was understood that a property settlement, making provisions for his daughter and former wife, was effected when the Flemings were divorced several years earlier.

 

 

Caryl Fleming and mother graves

Fleming’s mother, Grace is interred below him. She remarried shortly before her death in 1948.

 

In 1947, Fleming’s mother, Grace, married James E. Miller. When Grace died just a few months later in February 1948, she left her considerable estate to her new husband. Grace’s secretary, cousin and Irva Ross, Fleming’s fiance at the time of his death, all were named benefieciareis under an earlier will. They contested the new will, claiming that Miller, who also had an alias, had married the wealthy widow in order to obtain control of her property. The court awarded each of the three contestants a specific amount and allowed Miller to inherit the remainder of the estate.

 

The Caryl S. Fleming Trophy for the most original amateur trick of the year was soon created and awarded yearly. In 1938, Fleming had helped charter the International Brotherhood of Magicians Hollywood RING 21 which, after his death, was changed to the Caryl Fleming RING 21 and is still in existence today.

 

fleming-ring21-a 

 

A year after his death, a tribute in Genii magazine memorialized Fleming saying:

 

“Years will pass. But the name Caryl Fleming will remain firmly in the minds of magicians. We, along with hundreds of others of our conjuring craft, will see to that.”

 

I would like to thank Bill Goodwin of the Magic Castle for providing  biographical information on Caryl S. Fleming for this article.

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Colleen Moore on Magic in Hollywood

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

CELEBRITY FIRST-PERSON

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.

 

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.”

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Celebrity Homes…Harold Lloyd

Friday, September 19th, 2008

CELEBRITY HOMES

Harold Lloyd

Then & Now

 

 

 Lloyd reportedly lived here before moving to Green Acres

 

 Lloyd’s former home as it looks today 

 

 502 South Irving Blvd.

Los Angeles, California

 

 

Mildred Davis and Harold Lloyd 

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