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That Wonderful Mother of Mine…

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on May 10th, 2014
2014
May 10

 HOLIDAYS

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Here are the Mothers who stood behind the stars of the 1920s–the women whose love and understanding guided them to success

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Charles “Buddy” Rogers and Maude Moll Rogers

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Maude Rogers, the mother of Charles “Buddy” Rogers, was born in Olathe, Kansas. Her father was a blacksmith, treasurer of the county and hotel owner. She had one sister and two brothers. After graduation from high school, she was employed in the town post office. Later she was organist in one of the Olathe churches. Her marriage to Bert Rogers, editor of the town paper, took place on Christ Day in 1900. Mrs. Rogers died in Olathe, Kansas in 1960.

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Jean Arthur and her mother, Johana Nelson Greene

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Johana Nelson Greene, the mother of Jean Arthur, was born in Dakota Territory before it became South Dakota. She spent her early days in the midst of the adventures of the early West. Mrs. Greene always wanted to be a singer but the opportunity never came along. She lived on her father’s farm and married H. S. Greene, a photographer. His business took him to New York and various parts of the East.

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Gary Cooper and his mother, Alice Brazier Cooper

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Alice Brazier Cooper, the mother of Gary Cooper, was born in Kent, England, and went to a church school. With her three borthers and one sister, she spent much of her earlier childhood on or near the sea. After graduation, she went to Helena, Montana on a visit. She had planned to make a tour of the world but she met Judge Charles Henry Cooper and married him.

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Ramon Novarro and his mother, Leonor Gavilan Samaniego

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Leonor Gavilan Samaniego, the mother of Ramon Novarro, was born in the town of Leon, Mexico. There Ramon’s mother was educated and there she spent her childhood. When she was twenty-two years old, she married Mariano N. Samaniego, a dentist. She became the mother of twelve boys and girls, ten of whom survived. She died in Hollywood in 1949.

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William Haines and his mother, Laura Matthews Haines

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Laura Matthews Haines, the mother of William Haines, was born in Staunton, Virginia. When she was seventeen, she married George A. Haines. The newlyweds made their home in Staunton, where they remained until moving to Richmond in 1918. In 1929, they joined their son in Hollywood.

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Richard Arlen and his mother, Mary Clark Van Mattemore

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Mary Clark Van Mattemore, the mother of Richard Arlen, was born on a farm near St. Paul, Minnesota, the daughter of a road builder. In the family were two brothers and two sisters. Her marriage to James Van Mattemore took place shortly after her graduation and continued to live in St. Paul.

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Claudette Colbert and her mother, Jeanne Colbert

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Jeanne Colbert, the mother of Claudette Colbert, was born in Paris, France and was an artist before her marriage. Several years after Claudette was born, the family came to America. The Colbert’s lived in New York.

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Joan Crawford and her mother, Anna Johnson La Sueur

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Anna Johnson La Sueur, the mother of Joan Crawford, was born in Medora, Illinois. After her marriage she made her home in Kansas City. She was the mother two children, Lucille (Joan) and a son, Hal. She died in Hollywood in 1958.

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Courthouse Wall of Fame

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Jan 10th, 2011
2011
Jan 10

FILM HISTORY

Wall of Fame recalled Star’s visits to courthouse press room

 

 

Above is the County Courthouse that was located at Temple and Broadway in downtown Los Angeles where the Wall of Fame resided in the press room. Notice the low granite wall at the bottom of the photo. Remarkably, portions of this wall still remain. (lapl)

 

 

By Allan R. Ellenberger

 

The Civic Center in downtown Los Angeles is where several courthouses mete out their justice, sometimes to Hollywood celebrities. Before many of the building that now stands there were erected, there stood an old brownstone Courthouse located at Temple Street and Broadway. It stood for forty-five years until it was razed after being damaged in the Long Beach earthquake of March 1933.

 

When it was finally demolished in 1934, it took with it the old press room and its unique Wall of Fame and the signatures of stars, who for this or that reason had been in court, or the marriage license bureau. Scrawled in either pencil or crayon, one could find the names of Charlie Chaplin, Tom Mix, George Bancroft, Harry Langdon, Eugene O’Brien, Doris Kenyon, Ethel Clayton, Constance and Natalie Talmadge, Pauline Starke, Jean Harlow and Bebe Daniels. There were a lot more and each one had its own story.

 

Of course, not all the screen stars who appeared in court, inscribed their names on the Wall of Fame. Some, the reporters failed to corral; others could not be lured to the press room. There were some who flatly refused. Among the latter was William Powell, who had come with Carole Lombard, for a marriage license. Powell, when confronted by the wall, glared reproachfully at the reporters and demanded: “Gentlemen, isn’t anything sacred?” The reporters thought he was kidding until he turned and stalked out of the press room fairly oozing indignation.

 

 

 

 

Jack Hoxie was first to sign the wall and his signature was the largest. Oddly enough, Tom Mix’s name was one of the smallest and Charlie Chaplin’s was the hardest to read.  

 

And what did they appear for? Harry Langdon, asserting he had but $40 with which to pay $60,000 his divorced wife sought as property settlement. The case was dismissed and Harry was smiling when he signed the wall. Divorce also steered the Talmadge sisters into the press room. Natalie Talmadge was fighting Buster Keaton over custody of their children. Constance was a witness. The prolonged contests between Charlie Chaplin and Lita Grey Chaplin, also concerning the care of their children is well known. When the reporters tried to lure Lita to the press room she balked, saying she always wanted to know what she was expected to do before she went places with strangers.

 

Besides the signature of James Quirk of Photoplay magazine, was pasted the headline announcing his death. His wife, May Allison, also signed. Reporters tried to get Paul Bern to sign the wall when he and Jean Harlow applied for their marriage license, but both refused to visit the press room because they were “radiantly happy and in a terrible hurry.” A few months later, dressed in widow’s attire, Jean returned to probate Paul Bern’s will. This time she signed the wall.

 

Doris Kenyon, widow of Milton Sills, was considered by a majority of the court reporters, as the grandest girl to affix her signature to the Wall of Fame. They designated Polly Moran as “the hard egg with the soft heart.” Polly crashed the press room the day she appeared to legally adopt a 16-year-old boy she had taken from an orphanage when he was only a few months old.

 

One of the funniest incidents connected with signing the wall centered on Richard Barthelmess who was suing to recover securities alleged to have been misappropriated. His wife was with him and they consented to have a picture taken together. She sat in a chair and Barthelmess stood beside her. The photographer snapped his picture and after the couple had gone, remarked to the reporters: “I think I got a good picture of that dame but I had an awful job keeping that rube out of it, he was standing so close.” The reporters, on informing him that the “rube” was Richard Barthelmess, used language which allegedly made even the signatures on the wall blush.

 

 

Richard Barthelmess, his wife and family

 

 

The names of Ben Lyon and Bebe Daniels graced the wall as the result of the trial of Bebe’s lunatic lover.” Edna Murphy signed when she got her divorce from director Mervyn LeRoy. Gertrude Olmstead was a witness at the trial and also signed. The reporters recalled, however, that Gertrude was rather embarrassed by the ordeal of clambering on the table in order to write her name.

 

George Bancroft divided honors with Jack Hoxie as the most massive man to have perpetuated his signature. He appeared in court to contest an agent’s claim for $30,000 of commissions. Hoxie had been up on alimony charges.

 

Several of the signatures recalled the tragic death of Alma Rubens. They were obtained during the libel suit brought against Photoplay and James Quirk by Ruben’s mother, and included Eileen Percy’s and Claire Windsor’s. ZaSu Pitts was another witness, but would not sign. The reporters declared her to be the most “publicity shy” screen star they encountered. She also eluded the news-hounds when she divorced her husband, Tom Gallery. The Courthouse scribes were not certain which cases brought Tom Mix, Edwin Carewe and Mae Murray to the Wall of Fame, as their court appearances was so numerous. Legal battles over the Mix children and property disputes made Mix a familiar figure and both Mae Murray and Carewe were central figures in countless suits over property, contracts and other things. Pauline Starke’s court appearance was mainly due to the protracted battle with her former husband, Jack White.

 

The reporters captured director Robert Vignola and Eugene O’Brien when they appeared in court as character witnesses for a young man who had gotten into trouble and Stanley Fields immortalized himself by apprehending a burglar in his apartment.

 

 

Above a rare image of the Wall of Fame located in the County Courthouse press room 

 

 

Most of the females who signed the wall were space conservers. That is except Constance Cummings and Vivian Duncan, whose names stand out like sore thumbs. Cummings had just won a contract suit, while the half of the famous Duncan sisters won a divorce from Nils Asther on the ground of too much mother-in-law. Another signer brought to the wall by the divorce route was Lola Lane when she parted company with Lew Ayres.

 

Duncan Renaldo was the only signer of the Wall of Fame who had gone to jail, though this happened later than when he actually signed the wall. His name was obtained when he was the central figure in the alienation case against Edwina Booth, which came as the aftermath to a “location” trip to Africa.

 

Snub Pollard also appeared on the wall as did that of Lowell Sherman, whose matrimonial adventures with Pauline Garon and later with Helene Costello brought him into the press room.

 

When the fate of the old courthouse was sealed, the reporters lost interest in their famous wall, knowing it soon would be destroyed. The visitors of the last few months were not asked to sign. During the last two or three months there were many noteworthy eligible’s including Joan Crawford, Marlene Dietrich, Estelle Taylor, Colleen Moore and Marian Nixon. Crawford was one of the last asked to sign, the occasion being her divorce from Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. She refused. The reporters asserted she was so nervous and shaky it was doubtful if she could have written her name of the floor, much less on the wall.

 

Signing the Wall of Fame grew to be quite a ceremonial and somewhat of an athletic function. It was necessary to step onto a chair and then mount onto a table in order to reach the designated spot and in addition to the gentlemen of the press, court attachés and sometimes the judges themselves would assemble to witness the event. In fact, gazing up at a movie star was really something to talk about afterward.

 

It’s too bad that the Wall of Fame could not have been saved or moved to another location. When the new courthouse was built, there was another press room, but it was never the same.

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Happy New Year!

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Jan 1st, 2011
2011
Jan 1

HOLIDAY GREETINGS

Happy New Year!!

 

 

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Anita Page’s 100th Birthday

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Aug 4th, 2010
2010
Aug 4

100th BIRTHDAY

Anita Page

 

 

 

AMERICAN ACTRESS

 

 

 

 

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Happy 2010!

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Dec 31st, 2009
2009
Dec 31

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Wishing everyone around the world a happy and prosperous New Year from Hollywoodland

 

 

Happy New Year

gelukkig nieuw jaar

nouvelle année heureuse

glückliches neues Jahr

καλή χρονιά

nuovo anno felice

عام جديد سعيد

Gott nytt år

ano novo feliz

счастливое Новый Год

Feliz Año Nuevo

manigong bagong taon

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Click below to watch Robert Taylor and Vivien Leigh dance the Farewell Waltz to the tune of Auld Lang Syne from “Waterloo Bridge” (1940)
 

 

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The Stars Happiest Christmas

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Dec 25th, 2009
2009
Dec 25

HAPPY HOLIDAYS

Classic stars recall their happiest yule

 

 

Claudette Colbert (above) poses on Vine Street next to her image emblazoned on a Christmas decoration in the heart of Hollywood. The two tall buildings on the right in the background are at the intersection of Hollywood and Vine.

 

By Allan R. Ellenberger

 

Just like anyone else, to film stars there is always just one Christmas that stands out above all others. In December 1932, several stars were asked about their most memorable Christmas.

 

The previous Christmas for Neil Hamilton competed with one when he was seven years old: “What with a new baby and a new house and the baby’s first Christmas tree, last year was hard to cap,” said Hamilton. “But for sheer unadulterated happiness I must remember the gorgeous Indian suit they gave me when I was seven years old. I strut when I remember it to this day. I was the reincarnation of Sitting Bull.”

 

James Dunn said a pool table presented to him when he was 14 still stood out as the most stylish event of his life. On that Christmas morning he invited all the boys in the neighborhood to play pool and they were still at it long past bedtime.

 

It was a Christmas bicycle that stood out for Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. He was eight years of age and had been demanding a bike from Santa since he was five. He’s almost given up hope when the family weakened. “It was a Rolls-Royce to me,” Fairbanks said.

 

Bette Davis claimed that no ecstasy since had surpassed the Christmas on which she acquired a huge Teddy Bear, handed to her from the very top of a big tree. “I have loved that Teddy all my life and still him,” she said.

 

It was a gorgeous box of paints, brushes, palettes all complete including a real artist’s smock, which made Claudette Colbert ecstatic when she was a small girl. She had always loved drawing and that Christmas saw the family’s recognition of her artistic yearnings.

 

Gary Cooper said the Christmas in which he and his family were snowed in on a cattle ranch in Montana stands our as his sweetest. No turkey, no shopping — a blizzard cut them off from everything. But the family decided to make their own fun and made presents by themselves out of any old odds and ends. “The least expensive and the jolliest Christmas I ever hope to enjoy,” he said.

 

A pair of rubber boots and a sled marked the most exciting Christmas for William Collier, Jr., who until that time, had to be content with a stocking encasing an orange, nuts and popcorn. He was nine years of age when the miracle occurred. And it was Marian Nixon’s very first watch, waiting on the breakfast table, which made one Christmas forever notable for her. In the same way a coaster-brake bike with a fancy headlight presented when he was 12 years old, marked one hilarious Christmas for John Boles.

 

Marie Dressler remembered a certain Christmas fifteen years earlier when, because her dearest friend was in the hospital, she took a tree, goodies and all the packages to the hospital between the matinee and the evening performance, and Christmassed at the there.

 

Joan Crawford, without hesitation, said, “Oh, Christmas 1925. I hadn’t seen my people in Kansas City for so long. I had just signed my contract with MGM and they paid my fare to the coast via Kansas City. So I went home in triumph — the biggest thrill of my life.”

 

It was 1919 that meant everything to Ramon Novarro. After a bus-boy job in New York, he was back in Los Angeles with his family and was celebrating his very first picture role. “We had an utterly perfect Mexican Christmas,” he remembered.

 

But to Maurice Chevalier, escaping from a German prison camp, rejoining  his mother in Paris and receiving medical attention for his wounds — and the glorious award of the Croix de Guerre made Christmas 1918, the most memorable one for him.

 

Katherine Hepburn recalled an ecstatic Christmas when her father built her a little theater of her own in the back yard when she was about 12.

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Thanksgiving in Hollywood, 1931

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Nov 26th, 2009
2009
Nov 26

HOLLYWOOD HISTORY

How Hollywood stars celebrated Thanksgiving in 1931

 

thanksgiving

 

Hollywood’s basis for Thanksgiving sometimes ranged from gratitude to an indulgent fate for the renewal of an option to thanks for a new divorce. But whatever the individual cause for thanks. the favored of filmdom in 1931 joined the rest of the country in celebrating the Thanksgiving season.

 

Marlene Dietrich observed the holiday entertaining a few guests and, for the occasion, allowed little Maria to dine with the grown-ups. Others who celebrated quietly at home were Dolores Costello and John Barrymore who entertained Lionel Barrymore and Helene Costello; Kay Francis and her husband, Kenneth McKenna; Buster and Natalie Talmadge Keaton, their two sons, and Norma and Constance Talmadge; Vivian Duncan and Nils Asther and their new daughter, Evelyn. The Robert Montgomery’s, also assisted their young daughter (five-week old Martha who died at 14 months of spinal meningitis) in her first Thanksgiving, while the Reginald Denny’s also had their young son to initiate.

 

Ruth Chatterton and Ralph Forbes travelled to Arrowhead for the occasion. Marie Dressler, accompanied by her house guest, Lady Ravensdale, and Claire du Brey, drove to the desert and dined at the La Quinta Hotel. Wallace Beery spent Thanksgiving in New York, as did Joan Crawford and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.

 

Clark Gable spent the holiday in the mountains. Jimmy Durante cooked his own turkey, decorating it with  an original dressing, but declining to reveal the recipe.

 

Ben Lyon and Bebe Daniels celebrated the day in San Francisco with the opening of Bebe’s play, The Last of Mrs. Cheney. Janet Gaynor was Europe-bound, accompanied by her husband, Lydell Peck and mother. Maurice Chevalier  was joined by his wife, actress Yvonne Vallee,  for his first Thanksgiving. Tallulah Bankhead arrived in town for formal dinner plans. Two new sets of newlyweds — June Collyer and Stuart Erwin and Carole Lombard and William Powell — observed the day at home.

 

Victor MacLaglen presided over a huge dining table which was a part of the Tuder furniture imported from England for his Flintridge home.

 

From several places across the country, the Will Rogers clan collected in time for turkey. Will, Jr. was home from Stanford, and Jimmy arrived from Roswell, New Mexico.

 

Wherever you are and whatever your plans, I hope you have a fabulous Thanksgiving. 

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Happy Halloween!

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Oct 31st, 2009
2009
Oct 31

PHOTO EXTRA

Happy Halloween!

 

Joan Crawford Halloween

 

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Joan Crawford’s Charcoal Broiled Steak

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Oct 22nd, 2009
2009
Oct 22

CELEBRITY RECIPES

Joan Crawford

 

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JOAN CRAWFORD’s

Charcoal Broiled Steak

 

First of all be sure that the steak is a thick one, and that the coals are glowing red before starting to cook it. In case you oven broil the steak the secret is to have the oven at just the right temperature — say pre-heated to 450 to 500 degrees. To prepart the steak for broiling, first wipe it with a damp cloth. Then salt and pepper and rub with a clove of garlic. When this is complete, brush with butter. Arrange the steak on the pan at least one and a half inches from the flame. (For thick steaks at least two inches) broil it first on one side, and then on the other. I have discoved that twelve to fifteen minutes is sufficient for a rare steak, fifteen to eighteen minutes for medium well-done and twenty to thirty for well-done. Here is a tip for oven broiling, try leaving the oven door ajar while cooking and see what a difference it makes.

 

ROQUEFORT CHEESE AND MUSTARD SAUCE

 

Broil steak as above. The sauce is made as follows: mix together the beaten roquefort chesse, mustard and melted butter. After turning, and just before the steak is done, spread on the sauce and let broil until brown. This is delicious. Sauce: 4 tablespoons butter, 1 square roquefort cheese, 1 tablespoon prepared mustard.

 

— Joan Crawford

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The Mystery of Life?

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Oct 3rd, 2009
2009
Oct 3

FOREST LAWN SCULPTURE

Ah, Sweet ‘Mystery of Life’

 

Mystery of Life-then

 

THE MYSTERY OF LIFE is the largest piece of statuary in Forest Lawn Memorial Park — measuring over 17 feet in width and containing 22 life size figures. Critics regard this statur, the workd of Ernesto Gazzeri, one fo the world’s greatest sculptural masterpieces. The sculptor has chosen to leave the interpretation to each individual observer.  (from the back of the post card circa 1930s)

 

Mystery of Life

 

THE MYSTERY OF LIFE monument as it looks today. The above description must have been before they installed the reproduction of Michelangelo’s  “David” in the courtyard adjoining this garden.

 

The following is Forest Lawn’s religious interpretation of The Mystery of Life statue taken from a pictorial catalogue the cemetery published in 1944:

 

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“Around the mystic Stream of Life we see grouped eighteen persons typifying many walks and stations in life. First we see…”

 

1.  – a boy, who is astonished at the miracle that has happened in his hand — one moment, an unbroken egg; the next moment, a chick, teeming with life. “Why?” he asks. “How does it happen? What is the answer to this Mystery of Life?” He questions…

2.  – his aged grandmother, who, he reasons, knows everything. But we see her resigned in the face of the inexplicable. Then we see…

3 and 4.  – the lovers, who believe they have found the answer to the mystery in their first kiss.

5. – the sweet girl graduate, lost in dreams, with no place as yet in her thoughts for a serious questioning of Life’s destiny.

6.  – the scientist, troubled because all his learnings, all his searchings, have not solved the mystery.

7 and 8.  – the mother, who finds the answer in the babe at her breast.

9, 10, 11, 12, 13.  – the happy family group, not really perturbed by the mystery, although even they seem to ask: “Why do the doves mate?”

14.  the learned philosopher, scratching his puzzled head in vain.

15 and 16.  – the monk and the nun, comforted and secure, confident that they have found the answer in their religion.

17.  – the atheist, the fool, who grinningly cares not at all, while

18.  – the stoic, sits in silent awe and comtemplation of that which he believes he knows but cannot explain or understand.

 

And, to the left of this sculpture is a private garden containing the earthly remains of Mary Pickford (1893-1979), Warner Baxter (1891-1951), Humphrey Bogart (1899-1957), evangelist Kathryn Kuhlman (1907-1976), Earl Carrol (1893-1948) and his girlfriend Beryl Wallace (1910-1948) and Joan Crawford’s ‘Mommie Dearest’ — Anna Le Sueur (1884-1958).

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