Saturday, October 02, 2010

RIP: Tony Curtis 1925-2010

Hollywood legend Tony Curtis passed away this past Wednesday at the age of 85. His career spanned six decades.
Here I am with Tony in 2007. In addition to his acting career, Tony was also a successful artist. His paintings sold for as much as $25,000 each.
Tony co-starred with his wife at the time, actress Janet Leigh in the George Pal film, "Houdini". Together they had two children, actresses Kelly Curtis and Jamie Lee Curtis.
Tony with Jack Lemmon in probably his most famous film, "Some Like It Hot".
Tony and Marilyn Monroe in the Billy Wilder film.
Last year I attended "The Magic of Tony Curtis" at the Million Dollar Theater in Downtown LA. The theater, which opened in 1918, was the first movie palace to be built by Sid Grauman, who later went on to build the Egyptian and Chinese theater on Hollywood Blvd.
Tony's films, "Houdini" and "Some Like It Hot" were screened.

The acting legend also made an appearence on stage.
Gloria Stuart, Eddie Fisher, and now Tony Curtis have passed away within a week of each other. RIP.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Debbie Reynolds @ The El Portal Theatre

Friday evening I attended the Debbie Reynolds Thalians Benefit concert at the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood. The Thalians is a mental health charity Debbie and actress Ruta Lee started over 50 years.
Here I am with Debbie Reynolds. She's most famous for her starring role in the classic, "Singin' in the Rain", with Gene Kelly, below.

Her stage show is a mix of singing, comedy, and impressions.
She imitates Jimmy Stewart, Bettie Davis, Marlene Dietrich, Mae West, Katherine Hepburn, and Barbra Streisand, above.
She has been performing this act since the 1960's.

Here I am with actress Ruta Lee.
George Chakiris, from "West Side Story'', with Debbie.
Actress Anne Jeffries.
Actress Mitzi Gaynor, from "South Pacific".
This is actress Susan Claassen, dressed as famed costume designer Edith Head. She's currently performing a one woman show at the El Portal, called "A Conversation With Edith Head".
Some of Edith's original sketches were on display.
Here's Susan with Joan Rivers.
And here's a shot of Debbie Reynolds with the real Edith Head. That's it for this post!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

An Evening With Jane Russell

Last night I attended the Hollywood Heritage event, "An Evening With Jane Russell", at the Lasky-DeMille Barn in Hollywood. The barn was built in 1913 and used as Hollywood's first movie studio.
The barn was moved to its present location across from the Hollywood Bowl.

Before the program they had a raffle and I won! I received this wood shingle from the barn signed by actresses June Havoc, Carroll Baker, and Marsha Hunt.
Studio shots of actresses Havoc, Baker, and Hunt.
Here's the evening's guest, actress Jane Russell.
Born in 1921, she's probably best remembered for her role in 1953's "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes", where she costarred with Marilyn Monroe.

The two put their hand prints in cement together at Graumen's Chinese Theater. It's still there today.
Afterwards Ms. Russell signed her book, took photos with fans, and had Birthday cake.

That's it for this post!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Walt Disney's "Pollyanna" Then & Now

I'm a huge fan of not only Disney Animation, but the Disney live action films from the 50's and 60's. One of my favorites is 1960's "Pollyanna" starring Hayley Mills and Jane Wyman. I was up in the bay area last month, so I decided to visit Santa Rosa and St. Helena to find a few of the filming sites. This is the Bale Grist Mill near St. Helena. The mill, built in the 1800's, was seen in the opening credits of the film. This area was beautiful.
They give milling demonstrations on the weekends.
The St. Helena train depot. This is where they shot the film's opening and closing scenes.
The building is now used as offices for various businesses.

Hayley Mills as Pollyanna arrives to town.

This is a publicity photo of Walt Disney taken at the station.
This is the Mableton Mansion in Santa Rosa. It was used for all the exterior shots of Aunt Polly's house. The top floors of the house were painted in by Disney matte artist Peter Ellenshaw.
The house is currently being renovated and restored.

The towns people coming by the house for a meeting.
The top shot is another matte painting by Peter Ellenshaw, combined with live action footage of Aunt Polly with the Reverend.

Hayley and Jane Wyman.

Here I am with Nancy Olson, who played Nancy in the film.
And Pollyanna herself, Hayley Mills! Hayley received a special Oscar for this performance.