Throwback Thursday: “And She Learned About Dames,” 1934

21/02/2013 § 1 Comment

When Martha Howson, a wallflower at the Rovina Finishing School for Girls in New York, wins a competition to become “Miss Complexion 1934” she also receives a grand tour of the Warner Brothers lot in Hollywood.  In a lovely little promotional short that is one part movie trailer and one part 1930s Entertainment Tonight, Marsha’s tour guide Lyle Talbot shows her around the production of the musical “Dames” (which I mentioned previously), introduces her to the director and choreographer Busby Berkeley, and makes himself scarce so she can request 5,000 kisses from actor Dick Powell — on behalf of the girls at finishing school, of course!

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Great Loves: Kate and Spencer

02/02/2012 § Leave a comment

In the month of February,
my mind always turns to great love stories…

“It was a unique feeling that I had for [Tracy].
I would have done anything for him.”

Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn first appeared onscreen together in Woman of the Year (1942).  Soon thereafter they began a relationship that was to last over twenty years, until Tracy’s death in 1967.  Tracy and Hepburn did not live together until the final years of Tracy’s life and were never married, due to the fact that Tracy already had a wife, Louise Tracy, who he married in 1923 and never divorced.  He supported Louise, and their two children, but he almost always lived separately from the household.   The romance between Tracy and Hepburn was hidden from the public, but in Hollywood it was an open secret.

Spencer was a troubled soul, a sometimes alcoholic, a lapsed Catholic,
a philanderer,
and Kate completely devoted herself to him.

More great love stories:

Joanne and Paul
Elizabeth and Richard
Marilyn and Joe
Bacall and Bogart

Hollywood Walk of Fame Turns 50

23/07/2010 § Leave a comment

This weekend Hollywood will be celebrating the 50th birthday of the iconic Walk of Fame.  Occupying 18 blocks along Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street, the Walk commemorates the entertainment industry and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Los Angeles.  The Walk has been an important place where fans throughout the ages could physically connect with their idols.  Candles and flowers are such a common sight — left to celebrate a birthday or achievement or to offer condolences upon a passing — that the Walk seems almost like a living shrine.

Growing up in Los Angeles, the Walk was not something my family visited, but whenever I happened to stumble upon it, it served as a reminder of classic Hollywood — like an old friend I was always happy to see.  Since I now live in New York, I can’t help getting a little nostalgic…

Conceived and maintained by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, the Walk consists of over 2400 brass 5-point stars honoring achievements in television, motion pictures, radio, audio recordings and theatre.  For a great guided multimedia tour, head over to the LA Times here.

More information on this weekend’s festivities can be found on the Chamber’s website here.

Breaking ground in 1960.

Early planning session.  Check out Cary Grant’s portrait.

Shortly before his passing, Dennis Hopper received his star in March ’10.

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