Tuesday, September 25, 2012


I regret to announce that I am discontinuing future posts for this blog. My original goal was to post once a day for a whole year. I had hoped to gain a group of similar fans and create a discussion on old movies and entertainers. Though these ideas will never be completely realized, in retrospect, I have accomplished quite a few achievements.

From December 18th, 2011 to this day, I have created over two-hundred posts. Some of them may have been a quick update on my next project, but the majority of them were done on a larger scale. Each post required a certain amount of time for research, writing and then editing. Pictures, videos, quotes, facts, family ties and other bits of information were gathered and then organized before I presented them to the public.

Another achievement, of which I am very proud, is the amount of recorded traffic I have had on this site. As of today, I am just shy of 10,000 hits. This number, to me, is earth-shattering as I had no idea that this was such a popular subject. A large amount of my traffic seems to come from an interest in pictures that I've posted.

The reason for this decision has been the result of multiple issues. The first of them was time. You may be surprised by the amount of time it takes to create a single post. Another factor was popularity, I call it blogging blindly. With each new post, I never knew if I was making an impact. It has been some time since I have received any feedback and I've wondered if anyone reads my posts at all.

One other reason, for this choice, is that the program I used to create my many collages has changed their format and made it virtually impossible for me to continue on with its new direction. Though this is not the primary issue for stopping my blog, it was the added weight that tipped the scales.

I hope that I have not depicted this blogging experience to have been a negative one. In fact, it has been one of the best experiences in my life. The information that I uncovered has become a treasure, to me, without price. My understanding of the early days of Hollywood has greatly shifted and my admiration for the films and stars of the past has grown to a greater level.

In short, pictures that were unknown to me became cherished works of art, and stars that were previously beyond my view found themselves among my favorite constellations. I invite you to view my posts and learn for yourself the great work these men and women did to entertain an age gone by. Their work was as risky as it was noble, as fascinating as it was simple.

I believe that if the families of our day would begin to watch these films more, the common issues we face would slowly disappear and this country would once again value the traits of their ancestors. It does not matter if the film is in black & white, it does not matter if there is no dialogue. The films of the past often contain in them the secrets to a happy society and only after you begin to watch them, can you begin to see that the they express the most important rule of all... "Love thy neighbor."

I may do a post here and there in the future, but as of now I am leaving the designing board as I go on to watch Vintage Media.

Monday, September 17, 2012

ERROL FLYNN (1909-1959)


Born: June 20th, 1909 (Australia)

Died: October 14th, 1959 (heart attack)

Marriages: Lili Damita (1935-1942), Nora Eddington (1943-1948), Patrice Wymore (1950-His death)

Children: His first child was a son with Lili Damita who became a photo journalist, Sean Flynn. With Nora he had two children, Deirdre & Rory. With his last wife, Patrice, they had a daughter named Arnella.

Awards: He was never nominated for an Oscar, but received two Golden Globes, two Bambi Awards and has a star on the Walk of Fame.

Interesting Fact: Before the outbreak of WWII, he went with an old friend to document the wars occurring in Spain. Unknown to Flynn, his friend was working undercover for a rising Hitler. When the news spread of this breach, the finger was pointed at Flynn. Though an extensive amount of research has proved that Flynn had no involvement in the espionage, this event greatly scarred Flynn's personal life. A similar story was portrayed in Disney's, The Rocketeer (1991) by Timothy Dalton who played a movie star with Flynn's characteristics named Neville Sinclair.

My Favorite Movie: Gentleman Jim (1942). This has been considered as Flynn's favorite film. Though his character was not in the full fashioned garb that Flynn was comfortable in on screen, this part gave him a chance to bust open his talent and endeavor in another one of his youthful pleasures. I find his acting is this film both genuine and humbling.

"All my life the one thing I feared the most was mediocrity."

Errol Flynn is quite the popular movie star legend. His acting history along with his personal history were both epic and adventurous. As I began to research him a little farther, I was overwhelmed by the amount of information you can find about him online. I wouldn't recommend that you use these sources as your soul understanding of Flynn, but would rather suggest that you purchase TCM Errol Flynn collection which includes an in-depth biography on his life on and off the screen titled, The Adventures of Errol Flynn (2005).

To Flynn, acting was one of his many adventurous hobbies. For a time he could come and go as he pleased on the set, if the production was not to his fancy. This type of attitude does not come off on the screen however, that was apart of his talent. No matter what turmoil, no matter what mood, he could always deliver. His characters became real to the audiences and he would became immortalized in that setting and yet he could move onto another subject matter and surprise you all over again. From his star breaking role in Captain Blood (1935) to his self revealing role in Too Much, Too Soon (1958), he gave each performance a certain charm and romanticism that was unique to only one man, Errol Flynn.

If you cant find his collection, that I mentioned above,
you can view the entire film here.

Friday, September 7, 2012


Studio: Columbia Pictures

Producer: Jerry Wald & Jonie Taps

Director: George Sidney

Music: George Duning

Release Date: June 21, 1956

Awards: It was nominated for four separate Oscars: Best Cinematography, Best Music, Best Sound & Best Writing. It was also nominated for a DGA award as well as a WGA award.

Origination: Based on the life and sudden death of renown piano player, Eddy Duchin.

Interesting Fact: The soundtrack and piano playing sequences were done with the talent of piano player Carmen Cavallero.

Eddy Duchin: What I want to know is why! Why do they have to destroy a man twice? You work and work and just what do you get? Everything, when it gets too good they take it away.
Eddy Duchin was a famous piano player with humble beginnings. On his path to success, he experienced multiple set backs, including the death of his own wife after giving birth to their only son. His ability at the piano was as entertaining as it was unique. Some of his best songs are played in this film. Duchin is played by Tyrone Power, who filled the role perfectly. This is my favorite bio-pic.

Power had expressed remorse that Duchin died at such a young age of forty-one. Less than two years after the release of this film, Power's passed away as a result of a massive heart attack at the age of forty-four. My mother told me that she cried for weeks.

A beloved scene from the film.

Thursday, September 6, 2012


Studio: Universal Pictures

Producer: Robert Arthur

Director: Joseph Pevney

Music: Frank Skinner

Release Date: August 13, 1957

Awards: Nominated for the Best Writing Academy Award.

Origination: Based on the life of silent film actor Lon Chaney Sr.

Interesting Fact: Chaney starred in the 1919 film version of The Miracle Worker, which was adapted to the stage and starred George M. Cohan in the cast. Cohan was another individual to be reprised by James Cagney.

Lon Chaney: The kind of fellows I play, pretty girls don't write to.
Very few biographies on actors of the silent era had been done when this movie was released. Films had been done on figures like Al Jolson who had been the forefront leader into talkies, but it was Lon Chaney who was far more unique than any other performer. His talent as an actor was more than a portrayal of a character, it was a work of art. Complex makeup combined with painful posture were limits that Chaney went beyond. Through his talent of shape shifting and study of the character he could make you feel sorry for the ugliest of characters. He was a true genius!

This film, though at times slightly inaccurate, brings to light some of his work through the talents of James Cagney. I feel that Cagney does a fantastic job, which compliments the already fascinating story of Lon Chaney's life. Cagney would go through some of the same shape shifting routines, but may have not gone as far as Chaney. All-in-all, this story is heart wrenching and eye opening.

This is the first of a two part film dedicated the talent of Lon Chaney Sr.


Wednesday, September 5, 2012


Studio: Samuel Goldwyn Productions

Producer: Samuel Goldwyn

Director: Sam Wood

Music: Leigh Harline

Release Date: July 14, 1942

Awards: It was nominated for eleven Oscars, winning only one of them for Best Film Editing. The nominations were for: Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, Best Special Effects, Best Music, Best Picture, Best Sound, Best Original Story & Best Screenplay.

Origination: Based on the legendary Major League Baseball player, given the name "Iron Horse." Lou Gehrig was one of the first notable figures to be diagnosed with a disease that later bear his name and took his life only seventeen months before this film was released.

Interesting Fact: Gary Cooper was right-handed in comparison to Lou Gehrig's left handed swings. To pull off such a stunt, they reversed the numbers on the uniforms and had Cooper run to third base instead of first. The film was then reversed before the final cut.

Lou Gehrig: Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.
This film was an instant success at it's release and has withstood the test of time. To this day, it is the example of what an athletic biography should be like. It is as emotional as is it is fascinating all while portraying baseball history in the making. This film has become a treasure for any fan of the sport, with cameo appearances of some of Gehrig's teammates, most notably Babe Ruth.

With Gary Cooper at the lead, he would give one of his best performances and sealed a fitting tribute to the man who played 2,130 consecutive games. He effectively depicted the spirit and strength of Gehrig's persona and, in turn, the American dream. This is not just one of the best biographies of the past, but also one of the greatest films of the past.
The climatic Lou Gehrig speech.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


Studio: RKO Radio Pictures

Producer: George Haight

Director: H. C. Potter

Music: Robert Russell Bennett (lyrics) & Irving Berlin (music)

Release Date: March 29th, 1939

Awards: In 2006 it was nominated for the Best Classic DVD.

Origination: Based on the book, My Husband and My Memories of Vernon Castle, written by Irene Castle.

Interesting Fact: This was the last Astaire & Rogers film with RKO, where they had made nine films together. Ten years later they starred again as a couple in their final film together in The Barkleys of Broadway (1949).

Irene: "You could be a perfectly wonderful dancer if you wanted to."

I just watched this last night to refresh myself with the film. This movie is a fitting tribute to both Mr. & Mrs. Castle as well as the Astaire & Rogers partnership. The Hollywood couple had been in eight other films, by this time, and were now at their partnership prime. The routines they dance are gorgeous and you can't help but smile as you watch them glide across the floor.

Now on the story of Vernon & Irene Castle. It is a story of determination & love. I don't think I have seen such a romantic film, as this, in a long time. Europe and America fell in love with them as this couple changed the world of dance and ballroom. If you love anything about dance you need to see this film.

Here is a tribute video I found on Youtube.com.


Monday, September 3, 2012


Studio: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Producer: Jack Cummings

Director: Sam Wood

Music: Adolph Deutsch

Release Date: May 12th, 1949

Awards: It won the Best Writing Oscar at the Academy Awards and received two Photoplay Awards.

Origination: This story is based on the life of Major League Baseball pitcher, Monty Stratton.

Interesting Fact: This was the first of three films to cast Jimmy Stewart & June Allyson as husband & wife. The other two were The Glenn Miller Story (1954) & Strategic Air Command (1955).

Ethel Stratton: You told me once, "A man has to know where he's goin'!" Where are you goin', Monty?
This is one of those unkown films that has an amazing cast, a great story and a powerful message. Jimmy Stewart plays Monty Stratton, whose love of baseball got him out of poverty and into the Major Leagues. His fame and talent continued to grow until a fateful accident, which resulted in the removal of his right leg at the knee. With his career at an end, he sinks into a quite depression, of which, only his wife can pull him out. So she begins to offer herself for pitching practice. While she begins to learn a littlle bit more about baseball, he begins to light the fire within him to return to the sport. This is an amazing film.

Stewarts tall and lanky shape made him a perfect candidate for Monty Stratton. Most notable though, is Stewarts performance with only one leg. His chemistry with June Allyson was evident, as they were paired two more times as husband and wife. Frank Morgan is much different in this film then you may be use to seeing him. Tough on his luck, he looks at eveything under his eyebrows. Agnes portrays the sinical yet loving mother who can't figure how someone could make money throwing a ball.



When I began theme centered months, I chose to publish posts themed around my all-time favorite inspirational films. I quickly saw that a line had to be drawn between fictional and non-fictional. As many of my favorite films were not true stories, I chose to put off non-fictional until a later time. Finally that time has come.

The term that best describes this kind of genre is Bio-pics. Bio-pics are a portrayal of a historical individual whose life left a notable legacy. First I must acknowledge that the complete story depicted on film, may not have necessarily been an accurate representation on the individuals life. In fact, many of them have filler romances or side events to keep the audiences entertained. These films do, however, create an awareness of the persons work, though however small that work may have been.

Their have been films on men of knowledge, entertainers, song-writers, athletes, world leaders and even biblical figures. Their stories have been told through gripping dramas, epic box-office busters and even musical routines. What may have been the most important part of the production is the casting of the leading man or lady. If they match up the right actor with the right story, then you have movie magic that stands the test of time.

Here are my top ten:

#10: Hans Christian Andersen (1952)

I have found it hard to think on Hans Christian Andersen without Danny Kaye coming to mind. He was the perfect pick for this film and his dancing and singing was just right for the musical story telling. Some of my favorite songs came from this soundtrack, but that's not the only thing I love about it. This movie taught me that an adult can have an imagination too.

#9: Spartacus (1960)

This story of a fighting slave rising against the greatest army of it's time, is beyond epic. Kirk Douglas became a whole new person to me in his portrayal of the slave known as Spartacus. Though the battles may be inaccurate and his final ending Hollywoodized, this film makes for a great story about a real man that existed during the reign of Rome.

#8: El Cid (1961)

For an actor who played the prophet Moses only five years earlier in Cecil B DeMille's epic production, The Ten Commandments (1956), he certainly proved that he could adapt to any role. This movie began my interest in the legends of old as I became moved and motivated by the loyalty and honesty of "The Cid". Heston's performance brought a lot of power to this role, as did all the other stars in this film.

#7: Gentlemen Jim (1942)

This was the film that began my interest in Errol Flynn. All the other films I had seen of him would depict an invincible character who could overcome any odds stacked against him. This movie knocks him around a little bit... Literally! He was an unlikely victor against men twice his size, but his upbringing of Irish spirit pushed him to the top.

#6: The Stratton Story (1949)

This film was unknown to me when I bought a Jimmy Stewart package of films. I watched it with skepticism, as I had never heard of it, and finished it with an unbelievable shock. This story is fantastic! Stewart's performance on one leg is something I had never seen done by any other leading actor like him. Frank Morgan's performance is also notable as a polar opposite from most of his cast types.

#5: Edison, the Man (1940)

This is not only an epic film on the most influential man of America, but one of the greatest stories on overcoming failure. I had always thought of Edison as a successful business man with great ideas, but I had no idea the struggles he faced to achieve the dreams he had that would change the way we live today. No other actor would have been fitting for the job then, the legendary himself, Spencer Tracy. I can't imagine a Cooper, Grant or Stewart in the same role. Tracy was perfectly capable of bringing the struggle and inventive spark to his performance.

#4: The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle (1939)

I have placed this film in my top-ten, not just for Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers performance, but also to bring to light this amazing story that has been stored away from the publics view since its production. If you love anything about dancing, this film is for you. Not only does it tell you the true story of one of dances most influential couple in history, but it tells you their story through the only couple right for the job... The greatest dancing couple of Hollywood.

#3: Pride of the Yankees (1942)

I'm aware that this film is known by almost everyone, but I had to place it near the top. Partly for Gary Coopers humble performance of the even humbler "Iron Horse" who played 2,130 consecutive games. But, largely for the story it tells of a man who fought harder than most, until he literally didn't have any more strength. This film is an inspiration to all ages! One other item that makes this film lovable is the casting of Babe Ruth as himself throughout the picture.

#2: Man of a Thousand Faces (1957)

This one isn't very well known and I scratch my head at the thought. Lon Chaney Sr., the man whom this film is about, was one the most influential actors in early Hollywood. His ability to transform his appearance and figure was the result of determined conditioning and raw talent that we rarely see in performers today. He didn't just pretend to be another person, he did everything in his power to know and feel what that person was. In this film, you see a large glimpse of his career and life through the amazing talent of James Cagney.

#1: The Eddy Duchin Story (1956)

You may be wondering why a piano player is at the top of the list. This isn't a film about a man who conquered or reshaped the world. It's not about a man who made life easier for generations to come or had a large fan base like an athlete. No, this story is about one mans talent that changed MY outlook on life. This was the film, first of all, that sold me on Tyrone Power's ability as an actor. Here you see the rise of one man from the slums to greatness, all with the use of his speedy little hands. My jaw still drops as I contemplate the complexity of the music that is effortlessly being poured out of the piano.

What inspired me most about this movie, is that I never thought something so impossible could look so easy to do. In other words, all the other topics listed above where things that I may never have a chance at. Playing the piano, however, was something I was familiar with, which makes this story more personal for me. What also puts this movie at the top, is that Eddy Duchin's sudden death at a young age, greatly effected Tyrone Power. Power, himself, would pass away only two years after this film was released and at the similarly young age of forty-four.

Well, there they are. As I do with every post, I wish to apologize if I have left out a key one for you. Comment below if you have one that I have not listed that is among your favorites.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

ROY ROGERS (1911-1988)


Born: November 5th, 1911 (Cincinnati, Ohio)

Died: July 6th, 1988 (heart failure)

Marriage: Lucile Ascolese (1933-1936), Grace Arline Wilkins (1936-1946 Her death), Dale Evans (1947-His death).

Children: With Arline he had two daughters and a son, Linda Lou, Cheryl Rogers (adopted) & Roy Jr. (Dusty). She died as a result of her sons birth. When he married Evans she already had a son named Thomas Frederick Fox Jr from a previous marriage. Evans & Rogers then had a daughter named Robin Elizabeth, who had down syndrome and died of the mumps when she was two. The couple adopted three more children: Harry John David Hardy Rogers (Sandy), Mary Little Doe Rogers (Dodie) & Deborah Lee Rogers from Korea. They also had a foster child named Marion Fleming (Mimi).

Awards: In 1953, he received a Golden Apple as the most cooperative actor. He also received two Golden Boot Awards; One in 1983 and the other in 1996. He has three stars on the Walk of Fame: Radio, Motion Picture & Television. In 1976, he was inducted, along with his wife Evans, into the Hall of Great Western Performers of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. With the Sons of the Pioneers he was inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in 1995.

Interesting Fact: Rogers famous white horse "Trigger" was used in The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) by Olivia De Havilland.

My Favorite Movie: Pecos Bill (1948) short. This clip can be found in Disney's Melody Time. This was the first time that I was introduced to the cowboys of the past. In the clip we see him singing with his group called "Sons of the Pioneers" and sitting with Disney stars: Bobby Driscoll & Luana Patten.


Roger's life had as much success in it as there was personal tragedy. With the crushing blow of his wife passing shortly after his son's birth, Roy would find love again in Dale Evans. This couple would also not go without heartache as three of their children would die at a young age.

His work in acting began slowly as he formed a singing group called "Sons of the Pioneers." In the late thirties, Rogers would go off on his own and changed his name, for the third time, to Roy Rogers. He had now become popular in westerns, working around legends like Gene Autry. In 1943, he achieved the number one cowboy spot at the box-office. Near the end of the forties he met and married Dale Evans. Her talent as a song writer and singer with his talented voice became a sensational combination and they were always seen together from then on.

From his work at Paramount with Bob Hope and Jane Russell in Son of Paleface (1952), to his successful new show, the stars in the western sky made way for both of them. Their title was the King and Queen of the west and their legend is the most popular of any other Hollywood couple.

"Don't Fence Me In"

Roy Rogers on The Muppet Show.

Roy Rogers and his horse "Trigger."