Saturday, February 25, 2017


Here in Pennsylvania, the cigarette tax is so high that I am not sure how anyone can afford to smoke. That was not the case in classic Hollywood days. Almost every star would promote smoking, whether in their movies or in adverstisements. Here is an ad featuring the beautiful Claudette Colbert. This was from 1948 when she was also promoting her newest film Sleep My Love...

Saturday, February 18, 2017


Friday, February 17, 2017


Extraordinary photographs purporting to show a secret pregnancy of film icon Marilyn Monroe can today be revealed for the first time.

The world exclusive images of the beautiful Some Like It Hot actress and model were sold as original color slides at an auction in Hollywood in November last year from the estate of well known Monroe confidante Frieda Hull.

But the stunning photos went under the radar, selling for a mere $2,240 with wealthy collectors not aware of their true significance.

Now can reveal the six unique images were the prized possession of Monroe's loyal friend Hull, which she dubbed the ‘pregnant slides’ – a reference to a shocking secret the screen siren kept right up until her death.

The shots were taken on July 8, 1960, outside Fox Studios in New York after Monroe had completed costume and hair tests for her film The Misfits, starring Clark Gable and Montgomery Clift .

The images clearly show a prominent bump from Monroe’s belly which Hull claimed was evidence the star was in the early stages of pregnancy.

And can reveal the would-be father was not Monroe's then husband, playwright Arthur Miller, it was in fact Italian-French actor Yves Montand – who she met on the set of film Let's Make Love and who she had a very public affair with. spoke to Tony Michaels, the man who bought the color slides at the ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ Marilyn Memorabilia Auction held by Julien’s Auctions in LA.

Tony, 56, was a close friend and next door neighbor of Frieda Hull before she passed.

He reveals that Hull had confided in him about Monroe’s secret pregnancy and claims the ‘pregnant slides’ are genuine evidence that she was with child.

The images were the prized possession of Hull, who died in 2014

And in an extraordinary and tragic Hollywood tale Tony says Monroe kept her pregnancy a secret from the world before 'losing' the baby during a hospital visit.

Tony told Daily Mail: ‘Frieda was very proud of those slides and she was very proud to keep them a secret until the day she died.

‘But she told me the story behind them, that Marilyn got pregnant by Yves Montand.

‘It wasn’t a guess or a presumption, it was something she knew for sure, she was very close to Marilyn.

‘As far as she was concerned Marilyn was pregnant in the summer of 1960 and the slides prove it.’

Monroe had wanted a baby more than anything in the world, but that joy was denied her.

She had three miscarriages prior to losing this baby, all of which played out in the public eye. The star suffered with a condition called endometriosis her entire life that caused severe menstrual pain and she also struggled to conceive.

‘I suggested she sell the slides and all her other memorabilia so she could afford a better place to live, but again she refused, she said she would never sell out on her friend of ten years Marilyn...

Monday, February 13, 2017


It was a sad day for movie musicals when Debbie Reynolds died in December of 2016. She was really the last tie to the classic movie musical. Even before her death my friend mentioned how him and his son (who is friend's with my son) were going to see a viewing of Singin In The Rain. My son is very picky when it comes to movies, and unlike my friend's son, my son does not like to watch different movies. So after some sweet talking, I convinced my seven year old to go with me to see this 1952 classic. I'm glad I did because he loved it! His favorite part of the movie was the comedic parts with Jean Hagen, but he always loved the song Singin in The Rain. (I used to sing it to him as I gave him a bath). It was sad to see the talented Debbie Reynolds on the screen only two weeks after she died, but it was awesome to see it on the big screen. The showing was sold out ,and people applauded after the musical numbers - it literally brought tears to my eyes.

More on the actual movie though - The film was only a modest hit when first released. Donald O'Connor won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy, and Betty Comden and Adolph Green won the Writers Guild of America Award for their screenplay, while Jean Hagen was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. But it has since been accorded legendary status by contemporary critics, and is frequently regarded as the best movie musical ever made and the best film ever made in the "Freed Unit" at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Singin' in the Rain
was originally conceived by MGM producer Arthur Freed, the head of the "Freed Unit" responsible for turning out MGM's lavish musicals, as a vehicle for his catalog of songs written with Nacio Herb Brown for previous MGM musical films of the 1929–39 period. Screenwriters Betty Comden and Adolph Green wrote two entirely new songs, "Make 'Em Laugh" and "Moses Supposes", the latter with music director Roger Edens providing the music.

In the famous dance sequence in which Gene Kelly sings the title song while spinning an umbrella, splashing through puddles and getting soaked to the skin, Kelly was sick with a 103 °F (39 °C) fever. The rain in the scene caused Kelly's wool suit to shrink during filming. A common myth is that Kelly managed to perform the entire song in one take, thanks to cameras placed at predetermined locations. However, this was not the case, as the filming of the sequence took place over 2–3 days.Another myth is that the rain was mixed with milk in order for the drops to show up better on camera; but the desired visual effect was produced, albeit with difficulty, through back lighting.

Debbie Reynolds was not a dancer when she made Singin' in the Rain; her background was as a gymnast. Kelly apparently insulted her for her lack of dance experience, upsetting her. In a subsequent encounter when Fred Astaire was in the studio, he found Reynolds crying under a piano. Hearing what had happened, Astaire volunteered to help her with her dancing. Kelly later admitted that he had not been kind to Reynolds and was surprised that she was still willing to talk to him afterward. After shooting the "Good Morning" routine, which had taken from 8:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m. to shoot, Reynolds' feet were bleeding. Years later, she was quoted as saying that "Singin' in the Rain and childbirth were the two hardest things I ever had to do in my life."

Donald O'Connor had to stay in bed in the hospital for several days after filming the "Make 'Em Laugh" sequence, due to his smoking up to four packs of cigarettes a day!

I could go on and on about this movie, but fans of classic musicals know all about this film. What was so great about this 2017 movie theater viewing was how the film really held up. It was great to see young people in the audience - my seven year old son one of them - laughing and tapping along to the movie. A few observations I made watching the film was how great Donald O'Connor was in the film. He was really amazing, and he was such an underrated performer I feel. In some of the scenes you can see how scared Debbie Reynolds was, but she was a great match to Gene Kelly and Donald O'Connor. One of my favorite dancers, Cyd Charisse, was in the movie for one dance number with Kelly, and it was great to see her larger than life as well - except in the movie theater I could see a big black and blue mark on her upper leg! 

Seeing Singin' In The Rain in a 2017 movie theater - what a glorious feeling...


Monday, February 6, 2017


Usually when a profile a birthday on the blog, it is someone directly related to Hollywood. However, since my son is not addicted to baseball, I wanted to profile who I think is the greatest baseball player of all time - Babe Ruth. He would have been a young 111 today! George Herman Ruth Jr. was born on February 6,1895 at 216 Emory Street in Pigtown, a working-class section of Baltimore, Maryland, named for its meat-packing plants. Its population included recent immigrants from Ireland, Germany and Italy, and African Americans. Ruth's parents, George Herman Ruth, Sr. (1871–1918), and Katherine Schamberger, were both of German American ancestry. According to the 1880 census, his parents were born in Maryland. The paternal grandparents of Ruth, Sr. were from Prussia and Hanover, respectively. Ruth, Sr. had a series of jobs, including lightning rod salesman and streetcar operator, before becoming a counterman in a family-owned combination grocery and saloon on Frederick Street. George Ruth Jr. was born in the house of his maternal grandfather, Pius Schamberger, a German immigrant and trade unionist. Only one of young George's seven siblings, his younger sister Mamie, survived infancy.

Many aspects of Ruth's childhood are undetermined, including the date of his parents' marriage. When young George was a toddler, the family moved to 339 South Woodyear Street, not far from the rail yards; by the time the boy was 6, his father had a saloon with an upstairs apartment at 426 West Camden Street. Details are equally scanty about why young George was sent at the age of 7 to St. Mary's Industrial School for Boys, a reformatory and orphanage. As an adult, Babe Ruth suggested that not only had he been running the streets and rarely attending school, he was drinking beer when his father was not looking. Some accounts say that, after a violent incident at his father's saloon, the city authorities decided this environment was unsuitable for a small child. At St. Mary's, which George Jr. entered on June 13, 1902, he was recorded as "incorrigible"; he spent much of the next twelve years there

In early 1914, Ruth was signed to a professional baseball contract by Jack Dunn, owner and manager of the minor-league Baltimore Orioles, an International League team.Babe Ruth's first appearance as a professional ballplayer was in an inter squad game on March 7, 1914. Ruth played shortstop, and pitched the last two innings of a 15–9 victory. Arriving in Boston to play for the Red Sox from 1914-1919, Babe emerged as a great star of the sport. Playing with the New York Yankees from 1920 to 1934, cemented himself as an icon of the game. Many of his records have been broken, but he is still the Great Bambino to anyone who has a love of the game. Happy birthday Babe...