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Candids from Cinecon 48!

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Sep 4th, 2012
2012
Sep 4

FESTIVALS

 

 

 

By Allan R. Ellenberger

 

Cinecon 48 is history! The annual festival began last Thursday and ended yesterday and over the course of five days screened 43 classic films, shorts and documentaries at the legendary Egyptian Theater. Among the films shown were such rare gems as 15 Maiden Lane (1936) starring Claire Trevor and Caesar Romero and directed by Allan Dwan; the silent, Wild Bill Hickcok (1923) played by Cinecon favorite, William S. Hart; the crowd pleasing bio-pic, Diamond Jim (1935), the story of James Buchanan Brady, fondly known as “Diamond Jim,” starring Edward Arnold in the title role and Jean Arthur in a supporting role.

 

Other highlights included The Goose Woman (1925), The Bedroom Window (1924), and the Kate Smith film, Hello, Everybody! (1933). Some of my favorites include Diamond Jim, Upstream (1927), the once-lost John Ford film about vaudevillians starring Raymond Hitchcock and Grant Withers, the Cecil B. DeMille scenario, The Circus Man (1914), She Wanted a Millionaire (1932) with Joan Bennett and Spencer Tracy and the documentary about the Silent Movie Theatre, Palace of Silents.

 

Some of the special guests who appreared this year and talked about their filmes were Marsha Hunt, Phyllis Coates, Richard L. Bare, Samantha Eggar and Carleton Carpenter.

 

Phyllis Coates, Richard L. Bare and Carleton Carpenter were honored at this years Cinecon banquet with the Career Acheivement award. Carpenter was presented with his award by his Two Weeks With Love (1950) costar, Debbie Reynolds. The couple sang their hit song from the film, Aba Daba Honeymoon to a very appreciative audience. Jack Larson, best-known as Jimmy Olsen on TV’s Superman, presented his former costar, Phyllis Coates with her award. Coates played Lois Lane on the series first season. Director Richard L. Bare, who directed such classic television shows as Green Acres, Petticoat Junction and several episodes of the Twilight Zone was given his award by Linda Henning who played Betty Jo on Petticoat Junction.

 

There was a great selection of films shown at this year’s Cinecon and the banquet was one of the most entertaining in recent years. Many thanks to the Cinecon officers and committee: Robert S. Birchard, Jim Harwood, Marvin Paige, Stan Taffel, Sharon Arndt, Bryan Cooper, Stella Grace, Sue Guldin, Danny Schwartz and Maureen Solomon.

 

A personal thanks to volunteer coordinator Stella Grace and her group of volunteers which included Woolsey Ackerman, Nick Beck, Vivienne Benjamin, Amy Bowker, Paul & Kristina Bunnell, Annette Bursteen, Michael Cable, Rancen Collins, Sandy Dubois, Allan Ellenberger, Joan Engberg, Isabel Falck, Allison Francis, Sue Garland, Bill Goodwin, Sue Guldin, Mary Mallory, Ludmilla & HarryMartinez, Charlie McCollister, Ann McFerrin, Oriana Nudo, Betty Petit, Jane Reed, Robert Richard, Ronn & Carol Roe, Susan Shapiro, Ruth Silney, Norman Triplett, Laura Wegter, Rex Wegter, Rachel Wegter and Tyler, Seth Wegter and Mary Zickefoose.

 

See you at Cinecon 49 on Labor Day weekend, 2013!

 

Following are some candid photos from this past weekend, mostly from the banquet (Photos by Allan R. Ellenberger):

 

 

 

Volunteers Allison Francis and Robert Richard (left) help veteran Cinecon

attendee, Sharon Schwartz at Loew’s Hollywood Hotel on Highland Avenue.

 

 

 

 

Crowd gathers for the Cinecon banquet (recognize anyone?)

 

 

 

Cinecon president, Robert S. Birchard opened the banquet

 

 

 

Actresses France Nuyen and Colleen Gray

 

 

 

Former Superman costars, Phyllis Coates (Lois Lane) and Jack Larsen

(Jimmy Olsen) meet prior to the banquet. Author Anthony Slide is looking on.

 

 

 

 

Cinecon officer and banquet emcee, Stan Taffel greets Mary Ellen Dix,

wife of actor Bob Dix (son of Richard Dix)

 

 

 

Actress Linda Henning introduced director and honoree Richard L. Bare

 

 

 

Cinecon honorees, Richard L. Bare and Phyllis Coates. Bare and Coates were once husband and wife for less than ten months (1948-1949). At one point Bare asked her about their marriage and she held her thumb and index finger about an inch apart and said, “It lasted this long… but it was interesting.”

 

 

 

 

 Jack Larsen introduced honoree Phyllis Coates

 

 

 

 The legendary Debbie Reynolds introduced her former costar

and Cinecon honoree, Carleton Carpenter

 

 

 

 

Debbie Reynolds and Carleton Carpenter entertain the

audience with a rendition of “Aba Dabba Honeymoon”

 

 

 

Debbie Reynolds and Jack Larsen

 

 

 

Debbie Reynolds, Cinecon committe member, Bryan Cooper

and Carleton Carpenter

 

 

 

Mary Ellen Dix and Richard Anderson

 

 

 

Carla Laemmle, neice of Universal founder Carl Laemmle

 

 

 

Miriam Nelson and Barbara Hale who played Della Street on Perry Mason

 

 

 

Julie Newmar of Catwoman fame talks to a fan

 

 

 

Jane Withers chats with Marsha Hunt

 

 

 

Cinecon committee members, Sue Guldin and Stella Grace

 

 

________________________________

 

Toto the Story of a Dog

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Jun 15th, 2011
2011
Jun 15

 

 

 

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 on Saturday, June 18 at 11 a.m. at Hollywood Forever Cemetery, 6000 Santa Monica Blvd. To commemorate the event, following is a biography of Toto.

 

 

By Allan R. Ellenberger

 

The most indulged of all the spoiled lovelies of Hollywood during the Golden Age were the canine actors who worked in films. They had their own hotel—The Hollywood Dog Training School—where at one time, seventy-five of the best known dogs of the screen lived in tranquil comfort.

 

The school was set on a pleasant ten-acre site, covered with oaks and willows, near Laurel Canyon Boulevard five miles north of Hollywood. Three hundred feet back from the road stood a cream colored frame house and back of it were two kennels, each 150 feet long. It featured southern exposure, long runs to each kennel, a large grass playground, showers in each section, and several porcelain bathtubs with hot and cold water, an electric drier and a special kitchen where, every day, a tempting cauldron full of vegetable and beef bone soup was cooked for dinners of the distinguished boarders.

 

 

 Carl Spitz with dogs from his training school

 

The dogs, like all other actors, employed a manager—the amiable Carl Spitz—who drove as hard a bargain for his clients as any other agent in Hollywood. The German-born Spitz first took up the work of schooling dogs in Heidelberg where his father and grandfather were dog trainers. Spitz trained dogs for military and police service in World War days. He saw Red Cross dogs search for dying men in no man’s land—and he devoted his life to educating man’s best friend.

 

Leaving Germany, Spitz arrived in New York in 1926, moved briefly to Chicago and soon found himself in Los Angeles, where, the following year he opened his first dog training school at 12239 Ventura Boulevard. Sometime around 1935 he moved the facilities one mile north to a ten-acre spot at 12350 Riverside Drive, where he remained for almost twenty years. “This is a school, where dogs go to classes just like children,” Spitz said. “We have grammar school, high school and college.

 

 

 Above is the location of Carl Spitz’s first dog training school at 12239 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, CA

 

 

 Advertisement for Spitz’s school at his new location on Riverside Drive

 

 

At first his services were for the public but soon the movies came calling. The transition to sound films required Spitz to drop his verbal commands and develop a series of soundless visual hand signals.

 

His first sound film was Big Boy (1930) starring Al Jolson in which he trained two Great Danes. This one was followed by the John Barrymore classic, Moby Dick (1930). It was too expensive for studios to create their own specially trained dogs so Spitz suddenly found himself in big demand.

 

Canine stars soon began to emerge such as Prince Carl, the Great Dane appearing in Wuthering Heights (1939). The first big dog star to appear from Spitz’s stable was Buck the Saint Bernard who co-starred with Clark Gable and Loretta Young in Call of the Wild (1935). Others included Musty (Swiss Family Robinson), Mr. Binkie (The Lights that Failed) and Promise (The Biscuit Eater). However, probably the best known dog star to emerge from the Spitz kennel that is known today is arguably Toto from The Wizard of Oz (1939).

 

 

Clark Gable with Buck in Call of the Wild (1935)

 

Toto, a purebred Cairn Terrier, was born in 1933 in Alta Dena, California. She soon was taken in by a married couple without children in nearby Pasadena—they named her Terry. It soon became apparent that Terry had a problem with wetting the rug, and her new owners had very little patience with her. It wasn’t long before they sought the services of Carl Spitz’s dog training school in the nearby San Fernando Valley. Spitz put her through the usual training and in a few weeks she was no longer watering the carpet.

 

However, by the time her training was completed, Terry’s owners were late on the kennel board. Spitz attempted to contact them but their telephone had been disconnected. With nothing else to do, Carl’s wife suggested that they keep her.

 

Terry sort of became the family pet until one day Clark Gable and Hedda Hopper stopped by the kennel for some publicity on Gable’s new film, Call of the Wild. One of Carl’s dogs, Buck the St. Bernard, had a large role in the film and Hedda wanted some photos of him with Gable. That day Terry made himself known to the Hollywood people and Carl took note and the next day took her to Fox Studios to audition for a part in the new Shirley Temple film, Bright Eyes (1934).

 

 

Jane Withers and Shirley Temple with Terry in Bright Eyes (1934) 

 

Spitz put her through her paces—playing dead, leaping over a leash, barking on command—for the executives and was then presented to Shirley for the final say. Terry was placed next to a Pomeranian named Ching-Ching, who wasn’t part of the film but was Shirley’s own dog. Terry stood there for a moment, while Ching-Ching looked at her. Finally Terry rolled over, was sniffed and both dogs began running around Shirley’s dressing room. At last, Shirley picked up Terry and handed her to Spitz, grabbed her dog and skipped to the door. “She’s hired,” Shirley giggled as she left the room. Bright Eyes, which co-starred Jane Withers, would be Terry’s first film.

 

That same year Terry made another film, Ready for Love (1934) at Paramount. Next she appeared in The Dark Angel (1935) with Fredric March and Merle Oberon. Other films followed including Fury (1936) with Spencer Tracy; The Buccaneer (1938) for director Cecil B. DeMille and an uncredited part in Stablemates (1938) with Wallace Beery and Mickey Rooney.

 

 

Franciska Gaal with Terry in Cecil B. DeMille’s The Buccaneer (1938)

 

One day it was announced that MGM was going to produce L. Frank Baum’s children classic, “The Wizard of Oz.” Spitz knew that Terry was a mirror-image for Dorothy’s dog, Toto based on sketches throughout the book. So he began teaching her all the tricks from the book, and sure enough, in two months, he received a call from MGM for an audition.

 

Spitz and Terry met with the producer, Mervyn LeRoy who had been inspecting an average of 100 dogs daily for the past week. “Here’s your dog, all up in the part,” Spitz said to LeRoy when he submitted Terry for scrutiny. Terry could already fight, chase a witch, sit up, speak, catch an apple thrown from a tree, and took an immediate liking to Judy Garland. Frank Morgan, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr, Jack Haley and the rest of the cast were accepted on first acquaintance with the dog. On November 1, 1938, Terry won the role of Toto without a test.

 

 

 Judy Garland singing “Over the Rainbow” to Toto in The Wizard of Oz (1939)

 

Terry received a weekly salary of $125, which was more than the studio paid the Munchkins. Before filming began, Terry spent two weeks living with Judy Garland, who fell in love with her and tried to buy her from Spitz. Of course he refused. Judy’s daughter, Lorna Luft, once said that her mother told them that the dog had the worst breath in the world. “It all made us laugh,” Luft said, “because the dog was constantly put in her face [with its] silly panting, and she did everything but wince because poor little Toto needed an Altoid.”

 

Terry did everything required of her, although she hesitated at being put in a basket and standing in front of the giant wind fans, simulating a tornado. One day they were filming on the Witches Castle set with dozens of costumed “Winkies” when one of them stepped on Terry’s paw. When she squealed everyone came running including Judy who called the front office and told them that Terry needed a rest. Until Terry returned a few days later, they utilized a stand-in for her.

 

The remainder of filming went smoothly for Terry and even though she appeared in approximately fifteen films, The Wizard of Oz was ultimately her best known. When the film was released, Terry appeared along with the cast at the premiere held at Grauman’s Chinese Theater. She became so famous that her paw print brought top prices among autograph seekers. Soon she began making public appearances and became so popular, that Spitz officially changed her name to Toto.

 

 

Terry, now billed as Toto with Virginia Weidler in Bad Little Angel (1939) 

 

That year was a busy one for Toto. Besides The Wizard of Oz, Toto also made a cameo appearance in MGM’s The Women (1939) starring Norma Shearer and Joan Crawford and had a larger role in Bad Little Angel with Virginia Weidler. The next few years had her appearing in Calling Philo Vance (1940), Twin Beds (1942), and Tortilla Flat (1942), again with Spencer Tracy and Hedy Lamarr and John Garfield. Her final film was George Washington Slept Here (1942) starring Jack Benny and Ann Sheridan. That year Toto retired to Spitz’s huge facility on Riverside Drive until she died sometime in 1944. Even though several of Spitz’s dogs were interred at the Camarillo Pet Cemetery in Ventura, he chose to bury Toto on the school property.

 

Carl Spitz continued to train dogs. In 1938, he wrote a handbook, “Training your Dog,” which contained a foreword by Clark Gable. As far back as 1930 Spitz tried to get the Army to let him train dogs for war use. But nothing came of it. Finally in the summer of 1941 they took him up, in a limited way. Spitz agreed to furnish the Army fifty trained sentry dogs—at no cost. He delivered six, had twelve more under training, and already spent $1500 of his own money in the process.

 

 

 

Spitz trained the first platoon of war dogs installed in the continental United States just prior to World War II. He was an expert advisor to the War Department in Washington DC and helped formulate the now famous K-9 Corps for both the US Army and Marine Corps. He became prominent nationally as a dog obedience judge at dog shows. Carl Spitz died on September 15, 1976 and is buried at Forest Lawn in Glendale.

 

 

 Aerial view of the site of Spitz’s Hollywood Dog Training School on Riverside Drive. Toto was buried somewhere on this site.

 

Around 1958, the Ventura Freeway was being built through the San Fernando Valley and the route went through Spitz’s school, forcing him to relocate. Today the Hollywood Dog Training School is still in existence at 10805 Van Owen Street.

 

Sadly, not only did the freeway erase the school, but it also obliterated Toto’s grave.

 

It’s appropriate that Toto’s Memorial Marker is being installed at Hollywood Forever Cemetery this Saturday, June 18 at 11 a.m. Many of the people that worked with Toto are interred there including Victor Fleming, Harold Rosson (The Wizard of Oz, Tortilla Flat); Cecil B DeMille, Maude Fealy (The Buccaneer); Erville Anderson, Carl Stockdale, Franz Waxman (Fury); Arthur C. Miller (Bright Eyes); Sidney Franklin, Gregg Toldand (The Dark Angel); Ann Sheridan (George Washington Slept Here). She is in good company.

 ______________________________________

 

An Evening with Jane Withers in Person

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Jun 7th, 2011
2011
Jun 7

HOLLYWOOD EVENTS

Evening @ the Barn

 

 

 

 

June 8, 2011 at 7:30 p.m.

Hollywood Heritage Museum

2100 N. Highland Avenue

(across from the Hollywood Bowl)

Hollywood, CA 90068

www.hollywoodheritage.org

  

Hollywood Heritage is pleased to announce an evening with beloved actress Jane Withers on Wednesday, June 8 at 7:30 pm at the Hollywood Heritage Museum.  Ms. Withers, who just celebrated her 85th birthday, will present a special retrospective on her varied career filled with film clips, anecdotes and personal remembrances. She will also be on-hand to sign autographs and take photographs with her fans.

 

Jane is best known for being one of the most popular child film stars of the 1930s and early 1940s, as well as for her portrayal of Josephine the Plumber in a series of TV commercials for Comet cleanser in the 1960s and early 1970s. Her big break came when she landed a supporting role in the 1934 Shirley Temple film Bright Eyes. Her character Joy Smythe was spoiled and obnoxious, a perfect foil to Temple’s sweet personality.

 

Through the remainder of the 1930s she starred in several movies every year, including Ginger (1935), The Farmer Takes a Wife (1935) and Little Miss Nobody (1936), usually cast as a wholesome, meddlesome young girl in films less sugary than Temple’s vehicles. Moviegoers flocked to see her films, and Withers became one of the top 10 box-office stars in 1937 and 1938. Her popularity was such that 20th Century Fox gave her big name co-stars such as the Ritz Brothers (in Pack Up Your Troubles) and Gene Autry (in Shooting High). Withers also did a stint in screenwriting in 1941: she wrote the original story filmed as Small Town Deb, under the pseudonym Jerrie Walters.

 

Withers kept working in the 1940s; she made 16 films for 2oth Century Fox, Columbia Studios and Republic Pictures. Her sweet sixteen birthday party was filmed by Paramount for the Hedda Hopper’s Hollywood series. In 1943 Withers received excellent notices for her dramatic performance in Lewis Milestone’s The North Star. She came out of retirement in 1955 to appear with James Dean, Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson in the landmark film Giant, directed by George Stevens.

 

Withers gained fame again as Josephine the Plumber, a character in a long-running and popular series of television commercials for Comet cleanser, Jane continues to do voice-over work and occasional guest appearances. She is also a passionate collector and maintains many of the original costumes from her films. A selection of Jane Wither’s memorabilia will be on display in the museum lobby for this event, which promises to be a truly special evening.

 

 Admission:

Hollywood Heritage Members, $5.00; General admission at the door is $10.00

Doors open at 7:00PM and seating is limited

Free Parking in Lot D

www.hollywoodheritage.org

323-874-2276

 

Tickets for this event are also available online with your credit card via Brown Paper Tickets. A nominal fee will be added to the ticket price for this service. Just go to: https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/176929 for more information. Or call 1-800-838-3006 to reserve tickets over the phone. 

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Cinecon 45 Wrap-up

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Sep 9th, 2009
2009
Sep 9

FESTIVALS

Cinecon 45

 

 Cinecon 45 poster

 

Another Cinecon has passed into the California sunset

 

By Allan R. Ellenberger

 

Cinecon 45 was presented by the Society of Cinephiles this past Labor Day weekend screening nearly 50 rare silent films and early sound feature films as well as many short subjects at the historic Egyptian Theater in Hollywood. The organization is dedicated to showcasing unusual films that are rarely given public screenings.

 

The celebrity honorees who attended along with the showing of one of their films included: Denise Darcel, Flame of Calcutta (1953); Adrian Booth (aka Lorna Gray), The Last Bandit (1949) and Stella Stevens, The Silencers (1966) who were honored at Sundays banquet with the Cinecon Career Achievement Award along with composer, Richard M. Sherman, who created the music for the films Mary Poppins (1964), The Jungle Book (1967), Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968) and many more.

 

Some of the films screened included: The Miracle Man (1932), Hatter’s Castle (1948), Broadway Love (1918), Nightmare (1942), Bardelys the Magnificent (1926) and The Bride Comes Home (1935).

 

Highlights of the weekend included the North American premiere of The Dawn of Tomorrow (1915), a Mary Pickford film thought to be lost when a tinted nitrate print with Swedish titles turned up in the Archival Film Collections of the Swedish Film Institute. Pickford’s costars were David Powell, Forrest Robinson and Robert Cain. The film was dedicated to Robert Cushman, photo archivist of the Margaret Herrick Library of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences who recently passed away.

 

Turn to the Right (1922), a Rex Ingram film, was recently restored by the George Eastman House. Made following two of the director’s epics, Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1921) and The Conquering Power (1921), it starred Ingram’s wife, Alice Terry and Jack Mulhall. It was during the making of Turn to the Right that Ingram made one of his greatest discoveries when he cast Ramon Samaniego, later to be known as Ramon Novarro, in his next film, The Prisoner of Zenda (1922)

 

Cinecon 45 - Robert Dix

Author Robert Dix, son of actor Richard Dix, signed his autobiography, Out of Hollywood. With Dix are Sue Guldin and his wife Mary Ellen 

 

 

Author book signings included: Miriam Nelson (My Life Dancing with the Stars); Scott O’Brien (Kay Fancis – I Can’t Wait to be Forgotten and Virginia Bruce – Under My Skin); Robert S. Birchard (Early Universal City); John Gloske (Tough Kid: The Life and Films fo Frankie Darro); Paul Picerni (Steps to Stardon: My Story); Robert Dix (Out of Hollywood) and Michael Hoey (Elvis, Sherlock & Me).

 

 

Cinecon 45- Jane Withers

Former child star, Jane Withers 

 

Celebrity guests at Sunday’s banquet included: Sybil Jason, Lisa Mitchell, Jane Withers, Miriam Nelson, Carla Laemmle, June Foray, Ann Rutherford, Johnny Whitaker, France Nuyen, William Welman, Jr., Robert Dix, and many, many more.

 

The officers of Cinecon 45, who made this weekend such a success are: Robert S. Birchard, president; Marvin Paige, vice-president; Michael Schlesinger, secretary and Stan Taffel, treasuer.

 

Cinecon 45- Stella Grace, Jonathan Chin-Davis and Sue Gulden

Cinecon volunteer coordinator, Stella Grace (left) with volunteers Jonathan Chin-Davis and Sue Guldin.

 

And the volunteer coordinator for Cinecon and my boss for the weekend is the fantastic, one-of-a-kind Rhode Islander, Stella Grace.

 

For more information on Cinecon, please visit: http://www.cinecon.org/

 

Some Cinecon moments

 

 Carla Laemmle and Marvin Paige

Carla Laemmle (left), niece of Universal founder Carl Laemmle and Cinecon officer, Marvin Paige. Miss Laemmle will celebrate her 100th birthday on October 20.

 

 

Cinecon 45- William Wellman Jr.

 William Wellman Jr., son of the famed director

 

 

 Cinecon 45- Sybil Jason

 Actress Sybil Jason and archivist Miles Krueger

 

 

Cinecon 45- Katherine Orrison and Lisa Mitchell

Author Katherine Orrison (Lionheart in Hollywood: The Autobiography of Henry Wilcoxon) and actress Lisa Mitchell (The Ten Commandments)

 

 

 Cinecon 45 - Ann Rutherford

 Gone with the Wind’s Ann Rutherford

 

 

 Cinecon 45- Frederick Hodges

 Accompanist Frederick Hodges

 __________________________________________

 

Cinecon 44…

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Sep 4th, 2008
2008
Sep 4

Cinecon 44

 

 

By Allan R. Ellenberger

 

Cinecon 44 is now history. From August 28 through September 1, film fans gathered at the Egyptian Theater in downtown Hollywood to enjoy more than 35 classic films. Some of the highlights included Damon and Pythias (1914); Ruth Roland in The Devil’s Bait (1917), and The Menace (1934) with Bette Davis.

 

I had the opportunity to volunteer at this year’s event, something I haven’t done in more than ten years, so I didn’t get to watch all the films but did enjoy some of the more rare ones. Some of my favorites included I Can’t Give You Anything But Love, Baby, a 1940 Universal comedy starring Broderick Crawford as Public Enemy #3 and Jessie Ralph as his Ma Barker-like mother — only more fun.

 

The Mollycoddle (1920) stars Douglas Fairbanks who plays – against his usual swashbuckler roles – Richard Marshall V, who is descended from a long line of Arizona heroes. According to the program notes, the term ‘mollycoddle’ was popularized by Theodore Roosevelt to denote “an overly indulged and spoiled young man.” Fairbanks is the ‘mollycoddle’ of the film, being Arizona-born but raised in England, he is your stereotypical British fop. By the end of the film he quickly reverts to his ancestral heritage. Wallace Beery plays the heavy and Ruth Renick is the love interest.

 

The Poor Nut was a collegiate-comedy starring Jack Mulhall and an adorable Jean Arthur has a supporting role. The bookish-looking Mulhull with his unkempt curly hair, glasses and nerdy, ill-fitting apparel was a big hit with some of the ladies in my group who thought he was “adorable.” I didn’t see it, but his performance  was excellent and the film enjoyable.

 

And probably my favorite film was The Ninth Guest (1934), a Columbia who-dunit starring Donald Cook, Genevieve Tobin and a cast of recognizable character actors. The plot is similar to Agatha Christie’s Ten Little Indians, but was adapted from a novel by Gwen Bristow and Bruce Manning. Eight people are invited to a penthouse party by an anonymous host only to discover that they are locked in with fellow guests whom they loathe. The host introduces himself through a radio hook-up as “the ninth guest” and announces that each guest will die before the night is over. However, as the program notes stated, the real star of the film is the Arte Moderne set. Catch this one if you get the chance.

 

The special guests this year included Walter Mirisch, Warren Stevens (The Case Against Brooklyn), Elena Verdugo (House of Frankenstein) and Celeste Holm (Champagne For Caesar).

 

The officers of Cinecon are Robert S. Birchard, president; Marvin Paige, vice-president; Michael Schlesinger, secretary and Stan Taffel, treasurer. The officers and their staff accomplished another great year considering the passings of Cinecon veterans, Harold “Rusty” Casselton, preservationist; Alex Theater projectionist George Crittenden and Robert Nudelman of Hollywood Heritage. The recent Universal Studios fire also wiped out many of the scheduled films for this years event.

 

 

A special thanks to volunteer coordinator, Stella Grace and her right hand, Sue Guldin. Stella cracked the whip when needed and at the same time showed her tender side. Thanks Stella — can’t wait until next year!

 

Attendees at the banquet this year included Celeste Holm, Warren Stevens, Elena Verdugo, Pat Hitchcock, Ann Robinison, Sybil Jason, Kathleen Hughes, Stanley Rubin, Jane Withers, Ann Rutherford, Mary Carlisle, Jayne Meadows, and many more.

 

 SOME HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE BANQUET

 

 

 

JANE WITHERS, ANN ROBINSON and SYBIL JASON

 

 

 

MARSHA HUNT

 

 

DORIS ROBERTS and JONATHAN CHIN-DAVIS

 

 

 

GARRETT BRYANT and DORIS ROBERTS

 

 

CELESTE HOLM

 

 

 

ELENA VERDUGO

 

 

 

 

JAYNE MEADOWS

 

 

 

BETTY GARRETT

 

   

EMAIL: Hollywoodland23@aol.com

_______________________________

 

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