Posts Tagged ‘Hollywood Forever’

Gideon Curtis Moody at Hollywood Forever

Sunday, January 17th, 2010


Gideon Curtis Moody, first Senator of South Dakota, and former state justice


 Gideon Curtis Moody


By Allan R. Ellenberger


Gideon Curtis Moody was a forceful, brilliant speaker, a man who detested shams and subterfuges, whose professional and private reputation was stainless. He commanded the profound admiration of his neighbors and friends, and his vigorous, pleasing personality made him a figure of prominence in the Northwest. He was South Dakota’s first Senator and that states Moody County is named in his honor.


Moody was born in Courtland, New York on October 16, 1832 where he spent his early years. He studied law at Syracuse and was admitted to the bar when he was only 21. He practiced law there and moved to New Albany, Indiana in 1852 and was appointed prosecuting attorney for Floyd County in 1854.


Moody married Helen Eliot of Syracuse on September 21, 1855. In 1860 he was elected to the Indiana State Legislature and served until the outbreak of the Civil War. In  April 1861 he enlisted in Co. G, Ninth Indiana Infantry and was commissioned a Captain. He was with that unit until the fall of 1862 when he was promoted to Colonel and assigned to the command of the Nineteenth United States Infantry, which was stationed at Indianapolis and Fort Wayne.


Moody was given a command at Murfreesboro, Tennessee and was named chief mustering officer with Major-General George H. Thomas.


After the Civil War he moved to Yankton, Dakota Territory and took an active part in the development of the Northwest. He was appointed associate justice of the Supreme Court by President Rutherford B. Hayes, and his district at that time comprised all the territory west of the Missouri River. He filled this position from 1878 to 1889.


On November 2,1889, as a Republican, he was elected the first United States Senator to the new state of South Dakota along with Senator Richard F. Pettigrew. He remained a senator until 1891. He was also a member of the Territorial Legislature for two years, and was Speaker of the House. He was a member of the State Constitutional Convention and was the first provisional Senator.


Moody’s specialty as judge was in corporation law and riparian rights and he ruled on many important cases. For many years he was the confidential attorney of the Homestake Gold Mining Company at Deadwood, South Dakota, which was the richest gold mining corporation in the world, and of interest to then Senator George Hearst, the father of William Randolph Hearst. Until his death, Moody was the confidential attorney of Hearst’s mother, Phoebe.


Around 1899, Moody began making occasional visits to Los Angeles and found the climate beneficial to his health. After his daughter and her husband settled here he spent the last nine months of his life with her while building an elegant mansion next door at 1019 Beacon Street. He and his wife moved into their new home only two months before his death.


On March 17, 1904, Moody died at his new residence from Bright’s Disease; he was 71. He was survived by his wife Helen and five children: Helen Dickenson of Los Angeles; Charles, editor of the Sturges Record (South Dakota); James, an attorney at Deadwood; Burdette, a civil engineer with the Homestake Company, and Warner, recently graduated from Yale and in a law office in Deadwood.


Gideon Curtis Moody grave



Gideon Curtis Moody grave



Moody children also buried at Hollywood Forever


Moody’s grave is located at Hollywood Forever Cemetery in the Chandler Garden’s (Section 12) just east of the Harrison Otis obelisk and a short distance from the road.


For the past 105 years, all published biographies have stated that Moody was buried at Rosedale Cemetery. This error is included in the official Biographical Directory of the United States Congress and is listed as such on Findagrave. The confusion probably came from his obituary which noted that his body was “placed temporarily in a receiving vault at Rosedale.” Hopefully that inaccuracy can now be corrected.


To read more about Gideon Curtis Moody, check out this article at Deadwood Magazine.



Caryl S. Fleming at Hollywood Forever

Sunday, December 13th, 2009


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.




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.



Douglas Fairbank’s 100th Birthday

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009


Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.


Douglas fairbanks Jr






Day of the Dead

Sunday, October 18th, 2009


The 10th Annual Dia De Los Muertos celebration at Hollywood Forever Cemetery


 Day of the Dead


Saturday, October 24th, 2009

Hollywood Forever

will be presenting its

10th annual Dia De Los Muertos Celebration.

Admission $10.00 – 12 years & under are free.


The celebration features:


  • The procession will begin with an Aztec Ritual Blessing and will continue with a traditional “Oaxacan Burial” that represents the suffering of death and it concludes on stage welcoming the spirits to celebrate.
  • The community honors their beloved that have passed away by creating altars as offerings throughout the cemetery.
  • The 150+ Altars are entered in a contest.  1st prize $3,000, 2nd prize $2,000 and 3rd prize $1,000
  • Art exhibit in the Cathedral Mausoleum featuring work by the Linares Family and many more.
  • The world premier of the film “La Fiesta Eterna”, a film about the tradition of Dia De Los Muertos.
  • Children’s Area where kids can learn about this  ancient celebration though art, including traditional face painting.
  • Expected attendance of 20,000+ people. (based on 2008 attendance of 20,000)
  • Artists performing throughout the grounds such as Xavier Quijas, La Santa Cecilia, La Cafeteras and many more.
  • Concluding with a concert under the stars given by world renowned singer/songwriter and Latin Grammy winner Lila Downs.


Gates open at 4:00 PM

Gates Close at 11:00 PM

Lila Downs at 9:00 PM

The public can call 323.447.0999

for more information.


Dav of the Dead


Location Address:

Hollywood Forever Cemetery

6000 Santa Monica Blvd

Los Angeles, CA 90038



Contact: Liliana Rosas – 323.821.0785




Dia De Los Muertos is a 3,000 year old Aztec tradition, alternately referred to as “All Souls Day”, where it is believed the spirits of our ancestors and we, the living, can meet face to face for one day a year.


For more info on the festival at Hollywood Forever please visit


For more historical context visit


Lila Downs is a world renowned singer and songwriter and Latin Grammy winner from Oaxaca, Mexico. For more information please visit


Hollywood Forever, resting place of Hollywood’s Immortals, has made national headlines with its innovative approach, including digital biographies, summer film series, concert series and more. For more info see



Mr. Blackwell’s Monument

Saturday, October 17th, 2009


Mr. Blackwell’s monument


Mr. Blackwell's marker


Mr. Blackwell

August 29, 1922, Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, New York

Ocotober 19, 2008, Los Angeles, California


Mr. Blackwell's marker



Mr. Blackwell and Darren McGavin



Delmar Watson’s Marker

Saturday, October 17th, 2009


Delmar Watson’s crypt has been marked




Delmar Watson

July 1, 1926, Los Angeles, California

October 26, 2008, Glendale, California


Delmar Watson




Byron Palmer Obituary

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009


Byron Palmer, Broadway and television performer, dies at 89


 Byron Palmer


Times staff and wire reports

Los Angeles Times 


Byron Palmer, 89, an actor and singer who broke through in the late 1940s in the hit Broadway musical “Where’s Charley?” and later co-starred on the TV show “This Is Your Music,” died of natural causes Wednesday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, his family announced.


Born June 21, 1920, in Los Angeles, he was the second of four children of Harlan G. Palmer, publisher of the old Hollywood Citizen News, and his wife, Ethelyn. While attending Occidental College, Palmer wrote obituaries for his father’s paper, then joined CBS as a page and eventually became a radio announcer.


During World War II, Palmer joined the Army Air Forces and ran a radio station on an island in the Pacific. Between news broadcasts, he sang tenor on the air with a quartet called the Music Mates. Soldiers sent him fan mail that persuaded him to take voice lessons after the war, his family said.


After acting as master of ceremonies for a touring “Hollywood on Ice” show, he starred with Ray Bolger in “Where’s Charley?” in 1948. He also was featured in the early 1950s Broadway revue “Bless You All” with Pearl Bailey.


In the movies, Palmer debuted in 1953 in “Tonight We Sing.” He also appeared with Jack Palance in “Man in the Attic” (1953), with Gordon MacRae in “The Best Things in Life Are Free” (1956) and in several other films.


On television, he had guest roles on several series, including dramas, but may be best known for co-starring with Joan Weldon on “This Is Your Music.” The show, which aired on KTTV-TV Channel 11, featured the pair singing “songs America loves best,” according to a 1955 ad in Billboard magazine.



Byron Palmer's-grave


Byron Palmer’s grave in the Palmer family plot at Hollywood Forever. Palmer is buried next to his father, Harlan G. Palmer, publisher of the now defunct Hollywood Citizen News.


Byron Palmer



Mr. Blackwell’s Grave Marker

Saturday, October 10th, 2009


The grave of fashion critic, Mr. Blackwell, is finally getting a marker


Mr. Blackwell's marker

 (Photos by Allan R. Ellenberger)


With the first anniversary of Mr. Blackwell’s death approaching (October 19), his grave marker is currently being constructed. Here are photos of it in its present stage with the engraving stencil still attached. It looks as though it’s going to be an imposing monument, worthy of the caustic fashion critic.



 Mr. Blackwell's marker


Mr. Blackwell’s marker is still in pieces and it looks like there is something yet to be attached to the top.


NOTE: Estelle Getty’s grave marker is still just a cement base. No progess yet.



The Green Hornet – Take 2

Saturday, October 10th, 2009


Green Hornet – the sequel?


Green Hornet statue

 The headless statue of James W. Reid awaits his close-up


By Allan R. Ellenberger
October 10, 2009


They’re back! No they haven’t begun working on the sequel for The Green Hornet yet, but they have returned to Hollywood Forever Cemetery for more filming. Today they were reassembling the statue of James Reid, obviously played by Tom Wilkinson in the film. The imdb does not list Wilkinson’s role but here is a close-up of the statue’s face. You decide.


Tom Wilkinson as James Reid


Tom Wilkinson

The real Tom Wilkinson


Green Hornet statue

A spare statue (seriously) waits in the wings for its big break.



Green Hornet-statue

Mr. Reid is reunited with his head.



Evergreen Cemetery Tour

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009


Evergreen Cemetery


Evergreen Cemetery



 By Allan R. Ellenberger


Last Saturday I attended a tour of Evergreen Cemetery sponsored by the Studio for Southern California History. Led by Steve Goldstein, Joe Walker and Christian Lainez, the tour covered important historical figures at one of Los Angeles oldest cemeteries. Founded on August 23, 1877, Evergreen is also one of the cities largest with 67 acres and more than 300,000 graves.




Saturdays tour guides were (l-r), Christian Lainez, Steve Goldstein and Joe Walker


Many historical and prominent figures are interred at Evergreen with such  family names as Bixby, Hollenbeck, Lankershim, Van Nuys and Ralphs. Many former Mayors of Los Angeles are also here as are local African American pioneers.


Hollywood personalities interred at Evergreen, though not in large numbers, include: Eddie “Rochester” Anderson, Louise Beavers, and Matthew “Stymie” Beard.


 What follows are some of the more well-known historical figures covered on the tour:



May Chandler


Magdalena “May” Chandler, the first wife of Los Angeles Times executive, Harry Chandler. After May’s death, Chandler married the daughter of Times owner, Harrison Gray Otis and is buried at Hollywood Forever Cemetery.



Jesse Belvin


Jesse Belvin (1932-1960), singer-songwriter who co-wrote the song, “Earth Angel,” one of the biggest hits of the 1950s for the group, The Penguins.



Van Nuys-Lankershim


Isaac Lankershim (1818-1882) and Isaac Newton Van Nuys (1835-1912), real estate developers and founders of  the cities of North Hollywood (once called Lankershim) and Van Nuys.



Sam Hasins


Sam Haskins (1846-1895), the first black Los Angeles Fire Department member killed in the line of duty.



George A. Ralphs


George A. Ralphs (1850-1914), founder of the Ralphs supermarket chain.



Earl Rogers


Earl Rogers (1869-1922), famed Los Angeles attorney is reportedly the model for the fictional character, Perry Mason. Rogers is the father of journalist Adela Rogers St. Johns.



 Cameron E. Thom


Cameron Erskine Thom (1825-1915), 24th mayor of Los Angeles and co-founder of the city of Glendale.



William J. Seymour


William J. Seymour (1870-1922), African American religious leader, founder of the Pentecostal movement and the Azusa Street Revival.



Bridget "Biddy" Mason


Bridget “Biddy” Mason (1818-1891), former slave, nurse, real estate entrepreneur and co-founder of First African American Episcopal Church. Her grave was originally unmarked until 1989 when Mayor Tom Bradley and members of her church laid the existing tombstone.


Evergreen Cemetery is located at 204 N. Evergreen Avenue