Happy Birthday Edith Head

Today is the 117th birthday of the woman who made more influence on mid-century fashion than all the fashion designers of the time combined:  Edith Head.  If you are a fan of classic movies and pay attention to scenery and costuming, you already know her. She had THE influence on American style before clothing designers were known. A quick search for her on IMDB will soon have you realizing that her touch was added to most of the films that you know and love.

 

NAME: Edith Head
OCCUPATION: Fashion Designer
BIRTH DATE: October 28, 1897
DEATH DATE: October 24, 1981
PLACE OF BIRTH: San Bernardino, California
PLACE OF DEATH: Hollywood, California

Best Known For:  Edith Head was one of the most prolific costume designers in 20th century film, winning a record eight Academy Awards.

Edith Head (born October 28, 1897) became chief designer at Paramount Pictures in 1933 and later worked at Universal. Hollywood’s best-known designer, her costumes ranged from the elegantly simple to the elaborately flamboyant. She won a record eight Academy Awards for her work in films such as All About Eve (1950), Roman Holiday (1953), and The Sting (1973).

She became chief designer at Paramount Pictures in 1933 and later worked at Universal. Hollywood’s best-known designer, she was noted for the wide range of her costumes, from the elegantly simple to the elaborately flamboyant. She won a record eight Academy Awards for her work in films such as All About Eve (1950), Roman Holiday (1953), and The Sting (1973).

“Your dresses should be tight enough to show you’re a woman and loose enough to show you’re a lady.” – Edith Head

As part of a series of stamps issued by the U.S. Postal Service in February 2003, commemorating the behind-the-camera personnel who make movies, Head was featured on one to honor costume design.

The band They Might Be Giants recorded the song “She Thinks She’s Edith Head,” which was included in the 1999 album Long Tall Weekend and the 2001 album Mink Car. The song is about a girl from the singer’s past, who had changed her persona to be more sophisticated, and compares her new attitude to Head and longtime Cosmopolitan editor-in-chief Helen Gurley Brown.

“You can have whatever you want if you dress for it.” ― Edith Head

To many viewers of the 2004 Pixar/Disney computer-animated film The Incredibles, the personality and mannerisms of the film’s fictional superhero costume designer Edna Mode suggest a colorful caricature of Edith Head. Edna Mode’s sense of style, round glasses, and assertive no-nonsense character are very likely a direct homage to Head’s legendary accomplishments and personal traits. But the film’s director, Brad Bird, has not yet confirmed or denied this.

 

Happy Birthday Elsa Lanchester

Today is Elsa Lanchester‘s 111st birthday.  I tried to include a wide range of photos because if you are like me, you will have had no idea that the Bride of Frankenstein was the same woman as one of your favorite episodes of To Catch A Thief.  Range and longevity are unique in her line of work.  The more I have been learning about her life and career, the more I simply adore her.  Raise a glass and toast Elsa Lanchester on her birthday and see if you can learn a bit from her life.  She really really lived it.

Name: Elsa Lanchester
Born: October 28, 1902, Lewisham, London, United Kingdom
Died: December 26, 1986, Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital, CA
Spouse: Charles Laughton (m. 1929–1962)

Elsa Sullivan Lanchester was born into an unconventional a family at the turn of the 20th century. Her parents, James “Shamus” Sullivan and Edith “Biddy” Lanchester, were socialists – very active members of the Social Democratic Federation (SDF) in a rather broad sense and did not believe in the institution of marriage and being tied to any conventions of legality for that matter. Her mother had actually been committed to an asylum in 1895 by her father and older brothers because of her unmarried state with James. The incident received worldwide press as the “Lanchester Kidnapping Case.”

Elsa had a great desire to become a classical dancer and to that end at age 10 her mother enrolled her at the famed Isadora Duncan’s Bellevue School in Paris in 1912. But the uncertainties of WW1 brought her home after only two years. At age 12, she was sent to a co-educational boarding school in Kings Langley, Hertfordshire, England, to teach dance classes in exchange for her education and board. In 1918, she was hired as a dance teacher at Margaret Morris’s school on the Isle of Wight.

Next to dance, she loved the music halls of the period, so in 1920 she debuted in a music hall act as an Egyptian dancer. About the same time she founded the Children’s Theater in Soho, London and taught there for several years. She made her stage debut in 1922 in the West End play Thirty Minutes in a Street. In 1924 she and her partner, Harold Scott, opened a London nightclub called the Cave of Harmony. They performed one-act plays by Pirandello and Chekhov and sang cabaret songs. She would later collect and record these and many others. The spot was frequented by literati like Aldous Huxley, H.G. Wells and also James Whale, working in London theater and soon to be directing on Broadway and Hollywood’s most famous horror films. Lanchester kept busy including, on her own admission, posing nude for artists. During a 1926 comic performance in the Midnight Follies at London’s Metropole, a member of the British Royal family walked out as she sang, “Please Sell No More Drink to My Father”. She closed her nightclub in 1928 as her film career began in earnest.

Perhaps not beautiful in the more conventional sense, Lanchester was certainly pretty as a young woman with a turned-up nose that gave her a pert, impish expression, all the more striking with her large, expressive dark eyes and full lips. She had a lithe figure that she carried with the assuredness of her dancing background. Her voice was bright and distinctive, and had a delightful rush and trill that had an almost Scottish burr quality. What clicked on stage would do the same in the movies.

Her first film appearance was actually in an amateur movie by friend and author Evelyn Waugh called The Scarlet Woman: An Ecclesiastical Melodrama (1925). Her formal film debut was in the British movie One of the Best (1927). She continued stage work and became associated in 1927 with a rather self-possessed but keenly dedicated actor, Charles Laughton. He appeared with her in three of four films Lanchester did in 1928. Three of these were written for her by H.G. Wells). They did a few plays as well and wed in 1929. According to Lancester, after two years, she discovered he was homosexual but they remained married until his death in 1962. Lanchester declared in a 1958 interview that she kept to a separate career path from her husband. They were never an on-screen team but appeared together on occasion — moving through 1931 with several smart play-like films including Potiphar’s Wife (1931) with Laurence Olivier. She had done the play Payment Deferred in London in 1930 and followed it to Broadway in 1931.

MGM offered her a contract in 1932. In 1933 Alexander Korda was casting his The Private Life of Henry VIII. (1933) and decided that Laughton was the perfect choice – and his wife would be just as perfect as one of Henry’s six wives. Elsa’s versatility pointed to a part with some comedic elements and fitting more into a caricature. She looked most like Hans Holbein’s famous portrait of Anne of Cleves (Henry’s fourth wife who was actually somewhat more homely than the painter depicted). In costume Lanchester was charming if not striking. Her interpretation of Anne was a perfect integration with herself, and her scene with Laughton informally playing cards on the marriage bed and deciding on annulment is a highpoint of the movie.

Of course, it would be hard to mention her film career of the 1930s without mentioning the one role that would forever dog her, The Bride of Frankenstein (1935). Having come to Hollywood with Laughton in 1932 (but not permanently until 1939), Lanchester did only a few films up to 1935 and was disappointed enough with Hollywood’s reception to return to London for a respite. She was quickly called back by old friend from London, stage and film associate James Whale, now the noted director of Frankenstein (1931) and The Invisible Man (1933). He wanted her for two parts in Bride: author Mary Shelley and the bride. A central joke of the movie build-up was the tag lines: “WHO will be The Bride of Frankenstein? WHO will dare?”

Indeed, it was no honeymoon for her. For some ten days, Lanchester was wrapped in yards of bandage and covered in heavy makeup. The stand-on-end hairdo was accomplished by combing it over a wire mesh cage. Lanchester was in real agony with her eyes kept taped wide open for long takes – and it showed in her looks of horror. Her monster’s screaming and hissing sounds (based on the sounds of Regents Park swans in London) were taped and then run backward to spook-up the effect. She was delightfully melodramatic and picturesque as Wollstonecraft, and her bride would become iconic. Many have considered The Bride of Frankenstein (1935) the best of the golden age horror movies.

Lanchester stood out in her next movie with Laughton the next year, Korda’s dark Rembrandt (1936), but she only did a few more films for the remainder of the decade. Through the 1940s she was doubly busy – a couple of films per year while regenerating her beloved musical revue sketches. She performed for 10 years at the Turnabout Theater in Hollywood, using old London music hall/cabaret songs and others written for her. Later she would have to split her time further doing a similar act at a supper club called The Bar of Music. By the later 1940s she had become rather matronly, and the roles would settle appropriately. But she always lent her sparkle, as with her charming maid Matilda in The Bishop’s Wife (1947). She would be nominated for best supporting actress in Come to the Stable (1949).

She entered the 1950s busy with road touring of her nightclub act with pianist J. Raymond Henderson (who went by “Ray” and who is sometimes confused with popular songwriter Ray Henderson). There was a series of tours to complement Laughton’s famous reading tours, called Elsa Lanchester’s Private Music Hall which ended in 1952; Elsa Lanchester–Herself which ended in 1961; and once more in 1964 at the Ivar Theater. She was equally busy with a stock of film roles and a large share of TV playhouse theater.

She had made ten movies with Laughton, the last of which, Witness for the Prosecution (1957) garnered her second supporting actress nomination. But her dizzy Aunt Queenie Holroyd of Bell Book and Candle (1958) is a fond remembrance of that time.

With the two decades from the 1960s to early 1980s, Lanchester was a fixture on episodic TV and an institution in Disney and G-rated fare — perhaps a bit ironic for the unconventional Lanchester. She wrote two autobiographies: Charles Laughton and I (1938) and Elsa Lanchester: Herself (1983), both recalling nearly 100 roles before the camera.

Elsa Lanchester remained humorously reflective in regard to her film career: “…large parts in lousy pictures and small parts in big pictures.” It was the mix of silly, bawdy, and outrageous in her revues that was her great joy: “I was content because I was fully aware that I did not like straight acting but preferred performing direct to an audience. You might call what I do vaudeville. Making a joke, especially impromptu, and getting a big laugh is just plain heaven.”

TELEVISION
The John Forsythe Show Miss Margaret Culver (1965-66)
Nanny and the Professor Aunt Henrietta (1971)
FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
Die Laughing (Apr-1980)
Murder by Death (23-Jun-1976) · Jessica Marbles
Arnold (16-Nov-1973)
Terror in the Wax Museum (May-1973)
Willard (18-Jun-1971)
Me, Natalie (13-Jul-1969)
Rascal (11-Jun-1969)
Blackbeard’s Ghost (8-Feb-1968)
Easy Come, Easy Go (22-Mar-1967)
That Darn Cat! (2-Dec-1965)
Pajama Party (11-Nov-1964) · Aunt Wendy
Mary Poppins (27-Aug-1964)
Honeymoon Hotel (3-Jun-1964) · Chambermaid
Bell Book and Candle (19-Dec-1958) · Queenie
Witness for the Prosecution (Dec-1957) · Miss Plimsoll
The Glass Slipper (24-Mar-1955) · Widow Sonder
3 Ring Circus (25-Dec-1954)
Hell’s Half Acre (26-Feb-1954) · Lida O’Reilly
The Girls of Pleasure Island (1-Apr-1953)
Androcles and the Lion (Dec-1952)
Les Miserables (14-Aug-1952) · Mme. Magloire
Dreamboat (25-Jul-1952) · Dr. Coffey
Frenchie (25-Dec-1950) · Countess
The Petty Girl (17-Aug-1950)
Mystery Street (27-Jul-1950)
Buccaneer’s Girl (1-Mar-1950) · Mme. Brizar
The Inspector General (30-Dec-1949) · Maria
Come to the Stable (27-Jul-1949) · Amelia Potts
The Secret Garden (30-Apr-1949) · Martha
The Big Clock (9-Apr-1948)
The Bishop’s Wife (9-Dec-1947) · Matilda
Northwest Outpost (25-Jun-1947)
The Razor’s Edge (19-Nov-1946) · Miss Keith
The Spiral Staircase (6-Feb-1946) · Mrs. Oates
Passport to Destiny (31-Jan-1944) · Ella Muggins
Lassie Come Home (10-Oct-1943) · Mrs. Carraclough
Forever and a Day (21-Jan-1943)
Tales of Manhattan (5-Aug-1942)
Son of Fury (29-Jan-1942) · Bristol Isabel
Ladies in Retirement (9-Sep-1941) · Emily Creed
The Beachcomber (4-Mar-1938)
Rembrandt (6-Nov-1936) · Hendrickje
The Ghost Goes West (17-Dec-1935)
Bride of Frankenstein (22-Apr-1935) · Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
Naughty Marietta (8-Mar-1935) · Mme. d’Annard
David Copperfield (8-Jan-1935) · Clickett
The Private Life of Henry VIII (17-Aug-1933) · Anne of Cleves
The Constant Nymph (20-Feb-1928)

Happy Birthday Harris Glenn Milstead

Today is the 69th birthday of Harris Glenn Milstead, known the world over as the drag queen/performance artist/actor/personality called “Divine.”  I was first introduced to Divine through the subscription of Interview Magazine I had while I was in high school.  This lead to renting the early John Waters movies and so forth.  I adore anyone who is fearless, who is in on the joke, and who plows forward.  Divine had all of those qualities and many more.

divine5

NAME: Harris Glenn Milstead
BORN: October 19, 1945
BIRTHPLACE: Towson, MD
DIED: March 7, 1988
LOCATION AT DEATH: Los Angeles, CA
CAUSE OF DEATH: Respiratory failure
REMAINS: Buried, Prospect Hill Cemetery, Towson, MD

Divine (October 19, 1945 – March 7, 1988), born Harris Glenn Milstead, was an American actor, singer and drag queen. Described by People magazine as the “Drag Queen of the Century”, Divine often performed female roles in both cinema and theater and also appeared in women’s clothing in musical performances. Even so, he considered himself to be a character actor and performed male roles in a number of his later films. He was often associated with independent filmmaker John Waters and starred in ten of Waters’s films, usually in a leading role. Concurrent with his acting career, he also had a successful career as a disco singer during the 1980s, at one point being described as “the most successful and in-demand disco performer in the world.”

Born in Baltimore, Maryland, into a conservative, upper middle class family, he became involved with John Waters and his acting troupe, the Dreamlanders, in the mid-1960s and starred in a number of Waters’s early films such as Mondo Trasho (1969), Multiple Maniacs (1970), Pink Flamingos (1972) and Female Trouble (1974). These films became hits on the midnight movie and underground cinema circuit in the U.S., and have since become cult classics, with Divine becoming particularly renowned for playing the role of Babs Johnson in Pink Flamingos, during which he had to perform a series of extreme acts including eating dog excrement. In the 1970s, Milstead made the transition to theater and appeared in a number of productions, including Women Behind Bars and The Neon Woman, while continuing to star in such films as Polyester (1981), Lust in the Dust (1985) and Hairspray (1988). Meanwhile, in 1981 Divine had embarked on a disco career, producing Hi-NRG tracks, most of which had been written by Bobby Orlando, and went on to achieve chart success with hits like “You Think You’re A Man”, “I’m So Beautiful” and “Walk Like a Man.” Having struggled with obesity throughout his life, Divine died from cardiomegaly in 1988.

The New York Times said of Milstead’s ’80s films: “Those who could get past the unremitting weirdness of Divine’s performance discovered that the actor/actress had genuine talent, including a natural sense of comic timing and an uncanny gift for slapstick.” He was also described as “one of the few truly radical and essential artists of the century… [who] was an audacious symbol of man’s quest for liberty and freedom.” Since his death, Divine has remained a cult figure, particularly with those in the LGBT community, of which he was a part, being openly gay.

Due to Divine’s portrayal of Edna Turnblad in the original comedy-film version of Hairspray, later musical adaptations of Hairspray have commonly placed male actors in the role of Edna, including Harvey Fierstein and others in the 2002 Broadway musical and John Travolta in the 2007 musical film.

A 12 foot tall statue in the likeness of Divine by Andrew Logan can be seen on permanent display at The American Visionary Art Museum in Divine’s home town of Baltimore, Maryland.

FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
Out of the Dark (5-May-1989)
Hairspray (16-Feb-1988)
Trouble in Mind (Dec-1985)
Lust in the Dust (1-Mar-1985)
Polyester (29-May-1981)
Female Trouble (4-Oct-1974)
Pink Flamingos (17-Mar-1972)
Multiple Maniacs (10-Apr-1970)
Mondo Trasho (14-Mar-1969)

Is the subject of books:
My Son Divine, 2001, BY: Frances Milstead, DETAILS: Alyson Publications:with Kevin Heffernan and Steve Yeager
Not Simply Divine, 1994, BY: Bernard Jay, DETAILS: Fireside:by Divine’s personal manager

Happy Birthday Ed Wood

Today is the 90th birthday of Ed Wood. The phrase ‘before their time’ was coined for people like him. He is often referenced by widely popular and hugely successful current film directors as one of their major influences. Do yourself a favor and watch one of his films, you may see the films of John Waters and Quentin Tarantino in a different light.   Calling an Ed Wood script illogical is like saying dreams make no sense:  images and word went straight from his mind to the page.  His stream of consciousness dialog was like a ransom note pasted together from word randomly cut out of a Korean electronics manual.

NAME: Ed Wood
OCCUPATION: Director
BIRTH DATE: October 10, 1924
DEATH DATE: December 10, 1978
PLACE OF BIRTH: Poughkeepsie, New York
PLACE OF DEATH: Hollywood, California
FULL NAME: Edward Davis Wood
BEST KNOWN FOR: Filmmaker and novelist Ed Wood is famous for his low-budget films of the 1950s like Plan 9 From Outer Space, which are celebrated today as sheer camp.

Movie Director, screenwriter, actor, and producer. Edward Davis Wood, Jr. was born on October 10, 1924 in Poughkeepsie, New York to Edward Sr., a postal worker and Lillian. It is said that Lillian always wanted a girl and until Ed, Jr., was 12-years-old she dressed him in girls’ clothing. Young Ed loved movies and eventually found a job as a cinema usher. He also learned several musical instruments and formed a singing quartet called Eddie Wood‘s Little Splinters. Ed Wood received his first movie camera on his 17th birthday and his first “film” records the crash of an airplane. When he was 17, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and Wood enlisted in the Marines.

Upon his discharge from the Marines, Ed Wood pursued his love of the bizarre by joining the freak show of a carnival. At times, he played the part of the bearded lady and created his own prosthetic breasts. During the 1950s, he wrote, produced, and acted in a number of very low-budget science fiction, horror, and cowboy films. These films are celebrated today for their many obvious errors, cheap special effects, strange dialogue, miscasting, and crazy plots. Wood often struggled to make ends meet and was sometimes forced to churn out film scripts in one night to keep to schedules.

When his movie career began to wane, mostly from lack of funding, Ed Wood turned his prolific creative nature to the printed page, turning out sex novels, pulp fiction, and horror stories. The lack of money took its toll and Wood struggled with health issues, including an alcohol addiction. Eventually kicked out of their apartment, Wood and his wife, Kathleen O’Hara, moved in with a friend in North Hollywood. It was there that Wood died of a heart attack on December 10, 1978 at the age of 54.

Wood’s legacy and cult following lives on with, for example, the University of Southern California holding an annual “Ed Wood Film Festival” for which students are charged with writing, filming, and editing an Ed Wood-esque short film based on a predetermined theme. His movies has been spoofed on Mystery Theater 3000 and many have been remade as pornographic movies. Additionally, many of his bizarre transvestite-themed sex novels have been republished.

FILMOGRAPHY AS DIRECTOR
The Sinister Urge (8-Dec-1960)
Night of the Ghouls (1959)
Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959)
Bride of the Monster (11-May-1955)
Jail Bait (1954)
Glen or Glenda (1953)

FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
Fugitive Girls (13-Jul-1974)
Glen or Glenda (1953) · Glen

Happy Birthday Carole Lombard

Today is the 108th birthday of Carole Lombard.  “My Man Godfrey” is on of my favorite movies and part of that reason is because of Carole Lombard. She is perfection. Her life story is one of those that even Hollywood couldn’t make up and have people believe it.

NAME: Carole Lombard
OCCUPATION: Film Actress, Pin-up
BIRTH DATE: October 06, 1908
DEATH DATE: January 16, 1942
PLACE OF BIRTH: Fort Wayne, Indiana
PLACE OF DEATH: Las Vegas, Nevada
ORIGINALLY: Jane Alice Peters

BEST KNOWN FOR: Carole Lombard starred in comedic films during the 1930s. She married actor Clark Gable in 1939, but died in a tragic plane accident a few years later.

Carole Lombard (October 6, 1908 – January 16, 1942) was an American actress. She is particularly noted for her comedic roles in the screwball comedies of the 1930s. She is listed as one of the American Film Institute’s greatest stars of all time and was the highest-paid star in Hollywood in the late 1930s, earning around US $500,000 per year[citation needed] (more than five times the salary of the US President). Lombard’s career was cut short when she died at the age of 33 in a plane crash while returning from a World War II Bond tour.

Queen of the 1930s screwball comedies, she personified the anxiety of a nervous age. Graham Greene praised the “heartbreaking and nostalgic melodies” of her faster-than-thought delivery. “Platinum blonde, with a heart-shaped face, delicate, impish features and a figure made to be swathed in silver lamé, she wriggled expressively through such classics of hysteria as Twentieth Century and My Man Godfrey.”

In 1999, the American Film Institute ranked Lombard 23rd on its list of the 50 greatest American female screen legends. She received one Academy Award for Best Actress nomination, for My Man Godfrey. She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, at 6930 Hollywood Blvd.

Lombard’s Fort Wayne childhood home has been designated a historic landmark. The city named the nearby bridge over the St. Mary’s River the Carole Lombard Memorial Bridge.

Personal Quotes:

“I can’t imagine a duller fate than being the best dressed woman in reality. When I want to do something I don’t pause to contemplate whether I’m exquisitely gowned. I want to live, not pose!” – Carole Lombard

Carole Lombard’s Golden Rules:

1. Play Fair.

“You’ll find that men usually play fair,” Carole said. “It’s all very well to say that you want to back out of a bargain because you’ve changed your mind. That’s supposed to be a woman’s privilege. But men don’t play the game that way. A man who says he’ll do a thing and then reneges, is soon put where he belongs, out in the cold.

“If I say I’ll do something, I make it stick.”

2. Don’t Brag.

“Men can brag,” Carole points out, “but that’s where a woman can’t do what men do, and still be feminine. No man will endure listening to a girl boast about how smart she is.”

3. Obey the Boss.

“A career girl who competes with men has to learn that rule — or else. If she won’t accept discipline, or bow to the rules of the institution and take orders, she can’t succeed. I know that the picture director knows best. I remember when I was making ‘My Man Godfrey’ with William Powell. Gregory La Cava was directing. One day he was ill, but he insisted that work go on while he rested.

“‘You know what to do,’ he told us. ‘Just pretend I’m there and go ahead.’

“Well, it didn’t work. Bill and I were used to taking orders because it’s part of the discipline of the studio. It was a simple scene, we knew what to do, but the director wasn’t there and we felt lost. Somebody has to be the boss in every big enterprise, and if the boss is absent the business soon comes to a halt.”

4. Take Criticism.

“Men have learned to take criticism, that is, the successful men. The ones who flare up and go home mad are the kind who never get the last installment paid on the radio.

“Here again the movies have taught me. I have learned to take criticism and stand up to it like a man. Yet a woman will simply burn if you hint that the hat she’s got on doesn’t look quite perfect, or that she might, just might, have led from the queen, jack, ten instead of tossing in an eight spot.

“I went to a showing of the first rough cut of ‘Swing High, Swing Low,’ in a small college town.

“In the tragic scene, where I screwed up my face to cry (I can’t help it if I look that way when I cry), the audience laughed. When I really turned it on and emoted, they howled. It was heartbreaking. I felt like crawling under the seats and losing myself among the gum and other useless things.

“But I had to take it. If you’re playing according to masculine rules, which is required of any girl with a career, you’ve got to accept criticism and profit by it. Otherwise how could you become a singer, decorator, painter or private secretary? I learned something from that experience, too. I’m best if I top off tears with a laugh. A star who is too big for criticism sooner or later loses out. That goes for working women, too.”

5. Love is Private.

“When it comes to your personal life, such as love and romance, girls should take a tip from the men and keep their affairs to themselves. Any man worth his salt regards his private life as his own. To kiss a girl and run and tell would mark him as a cad. Why doesn’t that apply to girls also?”

6. Work — And Like It!

All women should have something worthwhile to do,” says Carole, “and cultivate efficiency at it, whether it’s housekeeping or raising chickens.

Working women are interesting women. And they’re easier to live with. Idle women who can think of nothing to do with their time are dangerous to themselves and to others. The only ‘catty’ women I’ve known were idlers, with nothing to do but gossip and make trouble.”

7. Pay Your Share.

“Nobody likes a man who is always fumbling when it’s time to pay the check,” Carole points out. “I think the woman who assumes that the man can afford to pay for everything is making a mistake. More and more the custom of the Dutch treat is coming in vogue, particularly among working men and women. You don’t have to surrender your femininity if you pay your share of the bills.”

8. The Cardinal Virtue

“–Is a sense of humor,” says Carole. “Do you laugh in the right places? Then, you’ll get along, in fair weather or foul. Humor is nothing less than a sense of the fitness of things. Something that’s out of proportion, like an inflated ego, should strike you funny, particularly if it’s your own inflated ego. Otherwise you are pathetic and quite hopeless.”

9. Be Consistent.

“By that,” remarks Carole, “I mean you should take a hint from the men. They are terribly consistent, as a rule. You can tell what they’ll do in any given circumstance.

“If a girl puts her best foot forward at the office, she shouldn’t change steps when she gets home. A career girl must be neatly turned out, even-tempered and willing to take orders at work, and there’s no reason why she must check these virtues with her hat and coat when she leaves her place of business.

“I manage to add enough inconsistency to my behavior at the studio so that I’m the same there as at home; inclined to blow off steam at odd moments or be very demure and sweet-tempered — just to keep ‘em guessing. In fact I’ve got myself guessing. I don’t quite know which way I am. That’s being consistently inconsistent, anyway.

“Men are about the same at home as they are at work. Don’t say it’s because they lack the imagination to be otherwise — just take the hint. Men are creatures of habit and comfort, and they are puzzled and disturbed by change. That’s why so many of them marry their stenographers; it’s in hope of finding the same efficiency at home as at the office. They are supreme optimists.

“If you go into the business world to meet male competition, then you’ve got to play the game more or less according to their rules.

“By doing that, I’ve found that any intelligent girl can get along very well. About the only important difference I’ve noticed is in the problem of travel; men can travel alone easier than women. However, old habits of transportation are changing and the comfort of women is more and more the concern of air, railroad and bus travel.”
10. Be Feminine.

“All of this,” Carole declares, “does not keep you from preserving your femininity. You can still be insane about a particular brand of perfume, and weep when you get a run in your favorite pair of stockings.

“You can still have fits when the store sends out the very shade of red drapes you did not order, and which swear horribly at the red in the davenport. But when you go down to complain, be a man about it.

“All of which sums up to this. Play fair and be reasonable. When a woman can do that, she’ll make some man the best manager he ever found, or wind up running a whole department store. And being a woman, thank heaven you still have that choice!”

 

Happy Birthday Buster Keaton

Today is the 119th birthday of Buster Keaton.  I absolutely adore his expressionlessness in everything.  And then, have you seen Sunset Boulevard?  I have put the clip below.  So great.

NAME: Buster Keaton
OCCUPATION: Film Actor, Comedian
BIRTH DATE: October 4, 1895
DEATH DATE: February 1, 1966
PLACE OF BIRTH: Piqua, Kansas
PLACE OF DEATH: Woodland Hills, California
NICKNAME: Great Stone Face
ORIGINALLY: Joseph Frank Keaton IV

BEST KNOWN FOR: Comedian and director Buster Keaton was popular for his pioneering silent comedies in the 1920s.

Actor, director. Considered one of the groundbreaking comedians of the early film era, Joseph Frank Keaton IV was born October 4, 1895 in Piqua, Kansas. His parents, Joe and Myra, were both veteran vaudevillian actors and Keaton himself first began performing at the age of three when he was incorporated into their act.

As legend has it, he earned the name of “Buster” at the age of six months, after falling down a flight of stairs. Magician Harry Houdini scooped up the child and turning to the boy’s parents quipped, “What a buster.”

Keaton quickly grew used to being knocked around a bit. Working with his parents in an act that prided itself on being as rough as it was funny, Keaton was tossed around by his father frequently. During these performances Keaton would learn to display the deadpan look that would later become a hallmark of his comedy career.

“It was the roughest knockout act that was ever in the history of the theater,” he later said of the performances he did with his parents.

Even in Keaton’s first film, a 1917 two-reeler called “The Butcher Boy” starring Roscoe (“Fatty”) Arbuckle, Keaton was extreme slapstick, with the young actor getting subjected to range of abuses, from being submerged in molasses to getting bit by a dog.

Still, film called to Keaton and for the next two years he continued to work closely with Arbuckle for $40 a week. It was an apprenticeship of sorts and through it, Keaton was given full access to the movie making process.

In 1920 Keaton struck out on his own as a filmmaker, first with a series of two-reelers that included now classics such as The Cameraman, Steamboat Bill, Jr., and The Passionate Plumber. In 1923 Keaton started making full features such as The Three Ages (1923) and Sherlock, Jr. (1924). The line up also included perhaps his finest creation, The General (1927), which starred Keaton as a train engineer in the Civil War. Keaton was the full force behind the film, writing and directing it. But while movie proved initially to be a commercial disappointment it was later hailed as a pioneering piece of filmmaking.

Woven into his films of course, was Keaton’s trademark comedy, brilliant timing and patented facial expressions. In his early two-reelers the laughing making included a mastery of the slapstick pie.

His work also included Keaton’s penchant for doing his own stunts. He became somewhat of a Hollywood legend not just for his falls but his lack of injuries.

At the height of his career, which was in the mid 1920s, Keaton experienced some of the same kind of celebrity as another silent film star, Charlie Chaplin. His salary reached $3,500 a week and he eventually built a $300,000 home in Beverly Hills.

In 1928 Buster Keaton made the move that would later call the mistake of his life. With the advent of talkies, Keaton signed on with MGM, where he proceeded to make a string of new sound comedies that fared decently at the box office but lacked the kind of Keaton punch the filmmaker had come to expect from his work.

The reason for that largely stemmed from the fact that in signing in the deal, Keaton had forked over part of the filmmaking control to his bosses. His life quickly spiraled downward. His marriage to actress Natalie Talmadge, with whom he had two sons, fell apart and he became plagued with issues related to alcoholism and depression.

In 1934, with his contract with MGM now terminated, Keaton filed for bankruptcy. His listed assets totaled just $12,000. One year later he divorced his second wife, Mae Scribbens.

In 1940 Keaton’s life started to move upward again. He got married for a third time, to a 21-year-old dancer named Eleanor Morris, who many credited with bring him stability. The two would remain together until Keaton’s death in 1966.

A return to fame came in the 1950s, a revival that was sparked by British television, where the aging comedian appeared on a string of English programs. In the States, too, American audiences became reacquainted with Keaton after he played himself in Billy Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard (1950) and then in Chaplin’s Limelight (1952).

He also raised his profile through a string of American programs and commercials. In 1956 he was paid $50,000 by Paramount for the film rights to The Keaton Story, which follows the performer’s life from his vaudeville days through his work in Hollywood.

During this time film fans also rediscovered Keaton’s work from the silent film era. In 1962, Keaton, who’d retained full rights to his older films, reissued The General and watched with awe as it drew praise from fans and critics from all over Europe.

In October 1965 the Keaton comeback reached its height after he was invited to the Venice Film Festival, where he showed his latest project, Film, a 22-minute silent movie based on a Samuel Becket screenplay. Keaton had made movie the year before in New York. When the film concluded, Keaton received a five-minute standing ovation from the audience.

“This is the first time I’ve been invited to a film festival,” a teary-eyed Keaton proclaimed. “But I hope it won’t be the last.”

A survivor to the end, the hard working Keaton was, toward the end of his life making more than $100,000 a year just from doing commercials. In all, Keaton, who was honored in 1959 with a special Academy Award, claimed he had more work than he could handle.

Keaton, who suffered from cancer, passed away in his sleep in his home in Hollywood Hills, California, on February 1, 1966.

FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (16-Oct-1966) · Erronius
War Italian Style (20-Apr-1966)
Film (4-Sep-1965)
Sergeant Deadhead (18-Aug-1965)
How to Stuff a Wild Bikini (14-Jul-1965) · Bwana
The Railrodder (20-Jun-1965)
Beach Blanket Bingo (14-Apr-1965) · Buster
Pajama Party (11-Nov-1964) · Chief Rotten Eagle
It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World (7-Nov-1963) · Jimmy
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (17-Jun-1960) · Lion Tamer
Around the World in Eighty Days (17-Oct-1956) · Train Conductor
Limelight (23-Oct-1952) · Calvero’s Partner
In the Good Old Summertime (29-Jul-1949) · Hickey
You’re My Everything (29-Jun-1949) · Butler
The Lovable Cheat (11-May-1949)
San Diego I Love You (29-Sep-1944)
Forever and a Day (21-Jan-1943)
Li’l Abner (1-Nov-1940)
The Villain Still Pursued Her (11-Oct-1940)
Hollywood Cavalcade (13-Oct-1939) · Himself
An Old Spanish Custom (1935)
Allez Oop (25-May-1934)
What! No Beer? (10-Feb-1933)
Speak Easily (13-Aug-1932) · Professor Timoleon Post
The Passionate Plumber (6-Feb-1932)
Sidewalks of New York (26-Sep-1931) · Homer Van Dine Harmon
Parlor, Bedroom and Bath (28-Feb-1931)
Doughboys (30-Aug-1930)
Free and Easy (22-Mar-1930)
The Hollywood Revue of 1929 (14-Aug-1929) · Himself
Spite Marriage (6-Apr-1929) · Elmer Gantry
The Cameraman (22-Sep-1928) · Buster
Steamboat Bill, Jr. (12-May-1928) · William Canfield, Jr.
College (10-Sep-1927) · A Son
The General (5-Feb-1927) · Johnny Gray
Battling Butler (19-Sep-1926)
Go West (1-Nov-1925) · Friendless
Seven Chances (11-Mar-1925) · James Shannon
The Navigator (13-Oct-1924)
Sherlock, Jr. (21-Apr-1924) · Sherlock, Jr.
Our Hospitality (19-Nov-1923) · Willie McKay
The Three Ages (24-Sep-1923) · The Boy
The Balloonatic (22-Jan-1923)
Daydreams (Nov-1922) · The Young Man
The Blacksmith (21-Jul-1922)
My Wife’s Relations (May-1922)
The Paleface (Jan-1922) · Paleface
The Boat (10-Nov-1921)
The Goat (15-May-1921)
The High Sign (18-Apr-1921) · Buster
Neighbors (22-Dec-1920)
The Scarecrow (22-Dec-1920)
The Saphead (18-Oct-1920)
One Week (1-Sep-1920)
The Garage (15-Dec-1919)
The Cook (15-Sep-1918)
The Bell Boy (18-Mar-1918)
Out West (20-Jan-1918)
Oh Doctor! (30-Sep-1917)
The Butcher Boy (23-Apr-1917)

Happy Birthday Paul Muni

Today is the 119th birthday of Paul Muni.  He has probably one of the best ‘before’ names in Hollywood History.

NAME: Paul Muni
OCCUPATION: Film Actor, Television Actor
BIRTH DATE: September 22, 1895
DEATH DATE: August 25, 1967
PLACE OF BIRTH: Lviv, Poland
PLACE OF DEATH: Montecito, California
ORIGINALLY: Meshilem Meier Weisenfreund

BEST KNOWN FOR: American actor Paul Muni is best known for his film and stage portrayals of noted historical figures. He was nominated five times for the Academy Awards.

Paul Muni was born on September 22nd, 1895 in Lenberg, Galicia in Austria-Hungary with the birth name Meshilem Meier Weisenfreund to parents Salli and Phillip Weisenfreund, both of whom were actors.

His family moved to the United States in 1902, where he attended school in the public school system in Cleveland and in New York. At the young age of twelve he worked on a stage production of, Seven Faces where he portrayed an eighty year old man and played seven different characters.

When he completed high school he joined the Yiddish Art Theatre in New York and studied there for four years. He then went on to work on Yiddish stage plays making his stage debut in 1907. It was not until 1926 that he transferred over to doing American stage plays having his first English language role. In 1928, he was discovered by Fox.

His first screen role in English was on the film, The Valiant (1929) also with Marguerite Churchill and Johnny Mack Brown, in which he was one of only six actors total to receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor for his first screen appearance. However, this film along with his next were both unsuccessful box office films and therefore, Muni returned back to Broadway to work on stage on the play, Counselor at Law.

In 1932, Muni decided to give films another chance and went back to Hollywood working on two films, Scarface also starring George Raft, Ann Dvorak, Tully Marshall and Boris Karloff and I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (both 1932) starring with Glenda Farrell, Preston Foster and Sally Blane in which for the latter role he received his second Academy Award nomination for Best Actor.

He was soon signed to a long contract with Warner Brothers studios who were so highly impressed with his talents. He became one of their most prestigious actors. They actually allowed him to choose which parts he wanted in various films.

Muni had such an influential impact on Warner Brothers that in 1935, they agreed to produce a historical biography called, The Story of Louis Pasteur (1936) also starring Anita Louise, Akim Tamiroff, Dickie Moore, Donald Woods and Josephine Hutchinson, which was his idea, a huge success and earned Mini an Oscar for his performance.

During the late 30’s and early 40’s, Muni took on a couple more roles in films such as, The Good Earth (1937) also starring Academy Award winner for Best Actress Luise Rainer, A Song to Remember (1945) also starring Cornel Wilde, Merle Oberon and Nina Foch and Angel on My Shoulder (1946) co-starring Anne Baxter and Claude Rains. He was really beginning to fade himself out of the film industry as he was quite dissatisfied with Hollywood.

He focused the remainder of his career working back as a stage actor and won a Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play for his role in Inherit the Wind (1956).

Muni retired from acting not by choice, but more due to failing health reasons after his final appearance in, The Last Angry Man (1959) starring alongside David Wayne, Betsy Palmer, Billy Dee Williams and Godfrey Cambridge in which he received an Oscar nomination for. He suffered throughout his entire life from a rheumatic heart.

Muni was married only once to Bella Muni on May 8th, 1921 and they remained together until he passed away on August 25th, 1967 in Montecito, California from heart problems at the age of seventy one. He is interred at Hollywood Memorial Cemetery in Hollywood, California and was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contribution to the Motion Picture Industry.

FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
The Last Angry Man (22-Oct-1959) · Dr. Sam Abelman
Stranger on the Prowl (12-Mar-1952)
Angel on My Shoulder (20-Sep-1946) · Eddie Kagle
Counter-Attack (26-Apr-1945)
A Song to Remember (18-Jan-1945) · Prof. Joseph Elsner
Stage Door Canteen (24-Jun-1943) · Himself
Commandos Strike at Dawn (30-Dec-1942) · Eric Toresen
Hudson’s Bay (9-Jan-1941) · Pierre Esprit Radisson
We Are Not Alone (25-Nov-1939)
Juarez (24-Apr-1939) · Benito Juarez
The Life of Emile Zola (11-Aug-1937) · Émile Zola
The Woman I Love (15-Apr-1937)
The Good Earth (29-Jan-1937) · Wang
The Story of Louis Pasteur (23-Nov-1935) · Louis Pasteur
Dr. Socrates (19-Oct-1935)
Black Fury (18-May-1935) · Joe Radek
Bordertown (23-Jan-1935)
Hi, Nellie! (20-Jan-1934)
The World Changes (25-Nov-1933)
I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang (19-Nov-1932) · James Allen
Scarface (31-Mar-1932) · Tony
The Valiant (12-May-1929) · James Dyke