Felix In Hollywood

A Blog for the Smart Set

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Say What You Will About Her....

The Fairbanks, Jr. divorce 

The Tone divorce  

The Terry divorce

....Joan could always dress for a divorce.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Feliz Navi.......Nada!

In 1928, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce came up with a brilliant idea to drive up shopping traffic along their big commercial corridor of Hollywood Blvd.  A Christmas Parade!!!

So they got America's Sweetheart to do a little advance press and Viola!  Hollywood Blvd. magically became Santa Claus Lane.

Decorations festooned the corridor and crowds gathered for what, as it turned out, wasn't much of a parade.

That first year, aside from the lovely decorations, the 'parade' consisted of what you see above, one sleigh pulled by a couple of union reindeers from the Screen Reindeers Guild and the loot in the sleigh was a little known starlet named Jeanette Loff and.......Santa Claus.

Well Santa Claus was the star of this show, and he delivered the shoppers, and so the Santa Claus Lane Parade became an annual tradition.  Santa's appearance was always the climax of the parade that sent the crowds into paroxysms of glee.  It grew every year until it included big-named stars by the score.  And there is the famous story of Cowboy Star Gene Autry riding in the parade just in front of Santa in 1946.  After a couple of blocks of hearing children shrieking "Here Comes Santa Claus! Here Comes Santa Claus", Autry gets a notion and, a new Holiday Carol is born.

So the parade is only one night but for almost a month each year, Hollywood residents and visitors alike have been treated to a sweet and magical "Santa Claus Lane"

Just Look!:

No matter how seedy and downtrodden Hollywood ultimately became, the old girl still got tarted up and stirred a little sparkle.  By the mid 1980s, when Hollywood and the Boulevard were little more than an open air drug bazaar, and looked like Beirut on a rough day, from Thanksgiving on at least, there was still a little shiny-shiny going on:

At the beginning of the new century, the word was: Hollywood is experiencing a rebirth!  And Santa Claus Lane jumped on board tying together Holidays and the Cinema!:

So by 2012, you must be thinking, it's got to be STUPENDOUS!  Well, brother, would you ever be wrong.  I took this picture today from the northeast corner of Hollywood and Cahuenga looking west and, as you can see, zilch!

It could be any ol' day of the year, but certainly not smack in the middle of the Holiday Shopping Season!  Why even the sky looks like it's going to cry.

So Hollywood Chamber Of Commerce, what are you doing with aaaaallll that money you charge folks to be members, that you can't string up a few damn lights and a strand or two of tinsel?  Huh?

Friday, December 7, 2012

Unmasking The Mystery!

You've got to be quick on the draw to be a smart Cookie.  Sure enough, he quickly revealed our Mystery Gal to be the one and only miss Kitty Carlisle.

Though I found his Peggy Cass malarky a bit suspect.  C'mon Cookie, "Tell The Truth"

Sisters under the mink?

Monday, December 3, 2012

Movie-Time Mash Up!

Hey kids, here's a fun new game!  This is how you play, you take a still from a movie and you team it up with a line of dialog from a completely different movie.

As an example, we're going to take a picture from the 1936 film "Conflict" and caption it with a line from the 1956 picture "Tea And Sympathy".  Here's how it looks:

"When you speak of this in future years.....and you will.....be kind."

How many fun combinations will you come up with!!!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Mystery Guest Will You Enter And Sign In Please...

I wonder if you still remember how to play?????  Here's your refresher:

IF YOU ARE NEW TO THIS GAME PLEASE READ.  If you've seen this picture before, or know for sure who this is, feel free to send me an email, but for the sake of unbridled mystery and tension, let the gang have a go guessing in the comments section.

You are all such smarty pants that I expect at least one of you to get this.

Without further verbal litter,   Who Is This Lass?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thish Isz Schpectacular!

I think.

Judy and Liza at the London Palladium?   Not so fast buster:

L.A. Daily News - 1973

Los Angeles - A most memorable and fascinating bit of show business took place late last week at the Las Vegas Flamingo Hotel when Liza Minnelli did a complete show with impressionist Jim Bailey, with the latter as Liza’s late, great momma, Judy Garland. Liza and Jim conducted secret rehearsals all day Saturday, but somehow the word leaked out about the performance and a turnaway crowd showed up that night.
     Jim as Judy (complete with wardrobe, makeup, wigs, etc.) introduced the Riviera Hotel star with a few lines from the song “Lisa.” She joined Jim on stage for a rousing medley of oldies that included “Hooray For Love,” “After You’ve Gone,” “By Myself Alone,” “S’Wonderful” and bowing with a rip-roaring version of “Swanee.” Jim and Liza bowed with “San Francisco.”
As Jim shed the Garland costume backstage, Liza wowed the audience with a selection of tunes. “If you believe in angels,” she said while reintroducing Jim, This time as himself, “you realize that angels gave this man a wonderful talent, which he uses very tastefully.” The real Jim Bailey and Liza then proceeded to wrap up an already captivated audience by dueting on “The More I See You” and “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love.”

     It was a night to remember for Judy Garland fans, and there are many of them among the Las Vegas Showfollk. At one point, Liza referred to Jim as “Mom,” and the audience accepted it without a snicker or a gasp.

     Jim will bring his highly polished Judy Garland act to the Academy Theatre in North Hollywood for an encore performance on February 19th at 5 and 8 p.m.

Monday, November 19, 2012

You've Got A Lovely Week For It!

Dateline:  Los Angeles, Thanksgiving Week

I just checked the weather.  Mid 70s to low 80s all week and through the weekend.

Are you visiting here?  Do you live here and have friends or relatives in for the holiday?  Or are you having a life-as-usual week and looking for a little something to brighten it up?  Well then this is probably the ideal week to find out exactly what "The Best Hollywood Walking Tour" is all about!

It's brainy, it's funny, it's fascinating and there's not a cheesy tourist-trap on the whole darn thing.  I will be closed on Thanksgiving day because even a researcher likes a little cranberry sauce but, other than that - tours, tours, tours!

So why not join Fred, Rita, Van, Me and all the other spirits that we'll awaken from the legendary days of Film, Radio, TV and Records for a walk.  You could use a walk in the fresh air with all you'll be eating this week anyhow.

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Army Sure Changes A Fella...

Take Elvis for instance.  He entered the Army as a mere boy, but he came back as.................

G.I. Blues soundtrack rehearsal


**Dig the fedora and Gucci loafers.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Dodged Bullets In Hollywood History!

And there's rumblings of Warners wanting to remake Casablanca. W.T.F.

*update- okay I stand corrected.  Apparently it's a sequel that they want to do.  Like that makes it any better.

My thanks to Robert Howe for bringing my attention to this memo. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

It's Yesterday Once More...Every Day.

Last evening, I wandered up to Hollywood Blvd. to attend a book signing.  Great fun it was, too.

Me and Author Randy Schmidt

Randy is the knowledge king of The Carpenters and his books are terrific.  His latest is “Yesterday Once More-the Carpenters Reader, (revised & expanded)”.  This book, along with his Karen bio, “Little Girl Blue”, will tell you everything your Karen and Richard lovin' heart need to know!

And now, a bit  about the location where all this fun took place.

We all know that Hollywood is, and always has been, the home of movies, radio, records and television.  But here's the funny thing, for years Hollywood Blvd. was actually a mecca for..........books!  That's right, book buyers and book readers could browse by the hour though any number of terrific (and now legendary) bookshops along the boulevard like Pickwick, Stanley Rose, Larry Edmunds, Cherokee and Book City.   However, between corporate booksellers and, finally, the internet, the civilized recreation of book shopping is almost as extinct as the wide-track Pontiac.

There is one remaining holdout on the Boulevard and it's a beaut:

Let's walk in shall we.

The Larry Edmunds Bookshop opened in 1938 in a Cahuenga Blvd. location.  But it was sometime in the 1950s when the magic happened.  It was now located on Hollywood and the owners wife, Git Luboviski, hit on the idea of putting together a small brochure of featured books that all had one theme in common -- they were all cinema related.  And when all the titles sold out lickety-split a new Larry Edmunds was born.  By the mid '60s it was exclusively a cinema bookshop.  Hey, let's meet the proprietor!

This is my friend Jeffrey Mantor.  An employee of the store since '91, Jeff has been the owner for the last several years.  And yes, he has a Rita Hayworth tattoo on his arm.  Maybe the Anita Ekberg tattoo needed company.

These days, in addition to film, the shop offers titles on tv, music and theater as well.  And books aren't the only thing on offer, by a long shot.  An incredibly comprehensive inventory of collectible memorabilia, in all price points, is on hand too!

Just a few of the hundreds of files containing 8x10 stills

These are copies and are only $6 each!  There's zillions of originals too.
Vintage Fan Magazines anyone?

Posters, lobby cards, one-sheets!

If you live in the area or are planning a visit, scamper over to 6644 Hollywood Blvd., treat yourself to civilized browse and buy yourself a present.  You deserve it and the bookstore deserves your business.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

We're Simply The Best!

Los Angeles has a newspaper of record;  it is the venerable Los Angeles Times.  But almost as well known, and probably more wide read by locals, is the LA Weekly.

It was first published in 1978 as an underground weekly by a bunch of good ole radicals (young actor Micheal Douglas being a board member).  Every large city has an alternative newspaper and the LA Weekly is ours.

This was the cover of the Weekly when I first visited LA in Apr. '86

Now as we all know, 'alternative' has a way of becoming 'hip', and 'hip' has a way of becoming 'marketable', and 'marketable' has a way of going 'corporate takeover'.  Such has been the path of the Weekly.  Indie for years is was bought by New Times Media who then renamed themselves Village Voice Media and, as of a couple of weeks ago was bought by Voice Media Group.

I will say that even though they sold they never have (entirely) 'sold out'.  They still raise hell and print some edgy investigative stuff.  When I started this post, I googled "LA Weekly history" and, as if to prove to me that they haven't let go of their smart-assedness, one of the first links was to a piece in the paper titled, "A Brief History Of The Blowjob In Pop Music".  Nice.

The Weekly's most read, most saved issue is an annual L.A. institution:  LA Weekly Best Of issue and the 2012 addition is out:

Now just take a guess who's been named "The Best Hollywood Walking Tour".  Go on, guess.  Give up?  Well then just click Here to find out.....

Woohoo!  Wheeee!!  Yippee!!!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Monday, September 3, 2012

Love Lucy....At Your Own Risk.

From the book,  "How I Escaped From Gilligan's Island"    by William Froug:

"In 1949 I was hired by Lloyd Brownfield, head of CBS Press Information, Hollywood, as a senior publicist for $83.50 a week.  That was a living wage at the time.  My assignment was to write for the daily mailer, which was sent out to all the CBS Radio affiliates.  The mailer was intended to pique their interest in the network's programs and especially their stars.

One of CBS's newest stars was a tall, pretty, young, red-headed woman named Lucille Ball.  She had appeared in a number of B pictures and , according to the powers that be in New York, had a gift for comedy.  Now she was being given her own radio sitcom, My Favorite Husband.

Brownfield gave me my first assignment:  interview Ball and do a feature story on her for the mailer.  I walked across CBS's Columbia Square courtyard and entered our big audience Studio A.  The large auditorium was dark except for the lit stage where the cast was seated on folding chairs, studying scripts.  They were on a rehearsal break.  My good fortune, I thought, as I walked toward the stage where Ball was seated.

As I approached she glanced toward me, curiously.  "Miss Ball,"  I said, "I'm Bill Froug with CBS Publicity, and I'd appreciate it if I could have a couple of minutes of your time to do an interview."

She turned in her chair so she was facing me head on.  She fixed me with cold eyes and a knotted frown.  "Kid,"  she said, "go shit in your hat."

When I reported the incident to my boss, he broke out into loud guffaws of laughter.  "That's Lucy, all right,"  Brownie said.  "Dig up a studio bio of her, rewrite it, and send it out.  And, by the way,"  he added, "welcome to the real Hollywood."

Richard Denning with Ball

Monday, August 27, 2012

Cocktails With Joan, Clark, Paulette, Bette, And The Gang.

Back somewhere along the late 30s to the late 40s, the Earl Carroll Theater was on of the premiere see-and-be-seen spots in Hollywood.  I have a love of this place and (you avid readers may recall) I went to Palm Springs some 18 months ago or so to interview the divine, delicious, and devastating Shirley Claire, jazz singer extraordinaire and one-time Earl Carroll showgirl.

Carroll (an old hand at the marketing and publicity game) even offered sets of drinking glasses (see advert above) for sale at the club or my mail.  The glasses were in sets of eight with colored reproductions of stars' autographs on each.  The colors were:  white, yellow, orange, red, maroon, green, blue and black.  Each glass in the set had different names and the entire set could be had for $3.00.  I know that sounds like a steal, but not so much.  The marquee in 1939 boasted that $2.50 got you a table, dinner, show and dancing!!!

Well through the kindness of our dear friends at ebay, I am the proud owner of 5 of these little beauties:

They cost a bit more than $3.00 and I am missing the black, white and maroon ones, but I couldn't be happier.

Maybe now a game of chess!


Living Chess Match at the1945 Pan American chess games held at the Hollywood Athletic Club.  Earl Carroll girls (in shorties) are the white pawns and 'Latin American Beauties' (in gowns and shawls) are the black pawns.