Thursday, December 10, 2009

Over the Top Award and Thanks

Thanks to Matthew at Movietone News for the Award! Made my day :)

I'm randomly tagging some followers because I love all your blogs and can't decide. I wish I could tag you all! The tagged ones are:

Michelle at
Jenny at
Heather at
Amanda at
Meridith at
Elsie at
Kate at

Thanks to everyone for the prayers. I really appreciate it.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Constance Bennett gets a yummy diet

Madame Sylvia suggested this diet for Constance Bennett to fatten her up:

Glass of Orange Juice
Dish of hominy mixed with one over-ripe sliced banana with cream and sugar
Glass of certified milk (half milk/half cream)

Half avocado (alligator pear) on lettuce with mayonnaise (made in your own kitchen)
3 heaping Tablespoons of turnips en puree
3 heaping Tablespoons of fresh green peas
2 slices of whole wheat toast with plenty of fresh butter
1 dish stewed fruit
1 glass certified milk

1 cup creamed fresh tomato soup
Mixed grill of lamp chops, kidneys, two strips of crisp bacon
Beets in fresh melted butter (make by the heat of the served dish)
Mashed potatoes
Cup of custard, vanilla sauce (the egg for the custard to be less than one day old)
Black Coffee


Stewed Fruit
1. Cook the fruit whole, except those that must be peeled and cored
2. Cover with cold sugared water
3. Bring to a boil. Then take off the fire immediately and cool

Constance Bennett's diet sounds yummy! No wonder I like it, it's supposed to be fattening.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

What should Gorgeous Gloria Swanson Eat?

Madame Sylvia recommended this diet for Gloria Swanson in Hollywood Undressed. Madame Sylvia described it as a "typical meal for nourishing the Nerves, while causing no increase in weight" (Hollywood Undressed, Page 195). As someone who has a case of "the nerves", I was curious about it.

Half Grapefruit
Small dish of Fresh Figs
3 slices of Calf's Liver
2 slices of Crisp Rye Bread with Thin Butter
1 dish of Fresh Raspberries
Plain cup of Tea with 1 Lump Sugar

Only one meal for our poor Gloria in the first half of the day. I definitely could not do it! I could eat everything - except the calf's liver. What is it with liver in the 20s diet? And at least Gloria gets a little butter!

Roast Pheasant or Chicken; or Boiled Fish
2 Tablespoons Mashed Turnips
2 Tablespoons of String Beans
Can substitute 2 Scoops of Noodles with Melted Butter for Turnips or String Beans
Pickled Beets
Black Coffee

I've never had Pheasant, so I can't comment on that (I've heard it's fantastic). I would definitely be willing to eat Gloria's dinner - minus the pickled beets. My mom adores Pickled Beets on Toast and have trauma about being asked to eat it as a child. Can't bring myself to eat it. And she even gets a little dessert - how cool is that?


2 pounds calf's liver, cut into 6 pieces
1 cup whole milk
8 bacon slices, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 large onions, thinly sliced
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup dry sherry
1 tablespoon beef broth

1. In a large glass baking dish, add liver and milk and let soak for 20 minutes.
2. In a large skillet over medium heat, add bacon and butter and cook until fat has rendered, about 6 minutes. Transfer bacon to paper towels to drain and reserve 3 tablespoons fat in skillet. Reserve remaining fat.
3. Cook onions with salt and pepper, to taste, in bacon fat in skillet over moderate heat for 10 minutes or until caramelized. Transfer onions to a bowl and add bacon. Set aside.
4. Pat liver dry and discard milk. In a large zip-top bag, add flour, Essence, salt and pepper. Working in batches, add liver and shake to coat. Set aside on baking sheet until ready to cook.
5. Add 2 tablespoons reserved bacon fat to skillet over high heat and add liver; cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Turn liver over, remove pan from heat, add sherry and beef broth, return pan to heat and shake and flambe. Cook on second side for about 2 minutes or until cooked through. Serve liver with pan sauce, topped with onions and bacon.

1/4 cup Scotch whisky
2 oranges, cut into 1/8ths
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 (2 to 2 1/2-pound) pheasants
Freshly ground black pepper
6 slices bacon, halved

Whisky-Cumberland Sauce:
1 cup Scotch whisky
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons grated orange zest
1 cup red currant jelly
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch cayenne

1. For the pheasant: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. In a bowl, toss the oranges with 3 tablespoons of the whisky. Rub the pheasants with the remaining 1 tablespoon of whisky and lightly season with salt and pepper. Stuff each pheasant with the oranges and 1 sprig of fresh thyme, and close the cavities with skewers. Wrap the breast of each pheasant with the bacon and set in a roasting pan. Roast the pheasants until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast registers 160 degrees F., about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let stand 10 minutes.
3. For the Whisky Cumberland Sauce: In a medium saucepan, combine the whisky, orange juice, and orange zest, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until reduced by 50 percent in volume to about 3/4 cup. Add the currant jelly, salt, and cayenne, and stir well.
4. Cook until thickened, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and pour into a decorative bowl. Cool slightly before serving.
5. Remove the bacon from the pheasant breasts, if desired, and cut each bird in half. Discard the oranges and thyme in the cavity. Serve hot with Whisky-Cumberland Sauce and wild rice.

2 pounds whole beets
1 cup water
3 cups apple cider
1 quart size preserving jar

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place the beets in a small roasting pan. Add the water to the pan and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Place in the oven and cook until the beets are fork tender, about 1 hour. Remove from the oven and cool for 15 minutes, reserving the liquid. Remove the skins from the beets and slice 1/4 inch thick. Season the beets with salt. In a saucepan, heat the reserved beet juice and vinegar, over medium heat. Sterilize 1 quart-size preserving jar in boiling water and keep hot. Soak the lids in the boiling water and keep hot. Pack the jar tightly with the beets. Pour hot liquid over the beets, adding enough of the liquid to come within 1/2-inch of the top. With a clean, damp towel, wipe the rim and fit with a hot lid. Tightly screw on the metal ring and process in a hot-water bath for 15 minutes. Using tongs, remove the jar, place on a towel and let cool. Test seal. Tighten the ring. Store in a cool dry place. Let age for 2 weeks.

2 1/2 lbs. turnips, peeled and diced
1/4 c. butter
2 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. pepper
Parsley for garnish

Heat turnips to boiling in water. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 15 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat and drain. Mash; add butter, salt, sugar, pepper. Stir until well mixed. Serve garnished with parsley.

Double fillet Northern so there are NO bones. Cut into bite size pieces. In large kettle 2/3 cup full of water and add 1/2 cup salt, bay leaf, minced garlic and minced onion. Drop fish into boiling water. When fish floats to top its done. Dip in melted butter to taste.

Up next: How to bulk up Constance Bennett

Sylvia's diet for Ina Claire

Madame Sylvia created this diet for Ina Claire. She referred to it as a diet for those that are overweight and anemic. I have to say, I could hardly eat any of this diet. Not sure what Ina Claire did to Sylvia, but the thought of eating most of this stuff makes me ill. Yuck! I could probably eat only the breakfast and the veggies. The liver extract sounds particularly unappealing to me.

Small glass of Grapefruit Juice
2 Tablespoons of one of the Baked Patent Cereals with a Glass of Skimmed Milk
Tea with 1 Lump Sugar

Salad of Cottage Cheese with Shredded Pineapple - No Dressing
Cup of Broth with Liver Extract (hot or jellied)
2 Tablespoons of Carrots
2 Tablespoons Spinach
1 Tablespoon Peas
Apple Mold

Sweetbreads with Truffles (The thymus gland or pancreas of a young animal, especially a calf or lamb, used for food)
3 heaping spoonfuls of String Beans
2 heaping spoonfuls of Summer Squash
Tomato Jelly with Diet Dressing
Stewed Fruit
Black Coffee

The Recipes

1/2 cup whole wheat
1/2 cup pearl barley
1/2 cup oat groats
1/2 cup millet
3/4 teaspoon salt
4-1/2 cups water

Combine all ingredients in a 2 quart casserole. Cover with a glass lid or aluminum foil. Bake overnight at 150 degrees to 200 degrees. Serve with honey and milk. Refrigerate unused portion in an airtight container.

Liver Extract
1. Chop up a cow's liver, cover with cold water, bringing to a boil and simmer for 3 to 4 hours
2. The brew obtained from the liver is combined, half and half, with the broth of vegetables of meat, and is the element of the diet which is the most effective counter-agent against anemia

Apple Mold
1-1/2 cups boiling water
1 pkg. (8-serving size) JELL-O Brand Lemon Flavor Gelatin
2 cups cold apple juice
1 small green apple, chopped
1 small red apple, chopped

1. Stir boiling water into dry gelatin in large bowl at least 2 minutes until completely dissolved. Stir in cold juice. Refrigerate 1-1/2 hours or until thickened (spoon drawn through leaves definite impression).
2. When thickened, stir in apples.
3. Pour into 6-cup mold sprayed with cooking spray.
4. Refrigerate 4 hours or until firm. Unmold onto serving plate. Garnish as desired.
5. Store leftover gelatin in refrigerator.

Tomato Jelly
1 3/4 cups canned tomato juice
1/2 cup strained fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce
4 cups sugar
1 pouch (3 oz.) liquid fruit pectin

1. Combine all ingredients except pectin.
2. Stir over high heat until mixture reaches a full boil. Stir in pectin and bring again to a full boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
3. Remove from heat. Stir and skim for about 3 minutes.
4. Pour into sterile jars, leaving 1/8" headspace. Wipe jar rims, adjust lids and rings. Water bath 5 minutes.

This jelly is equally good served with meats or spread on hot bread.

French Dressing (According to Madame Sylvia - Not French Dressing as we know it today)
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

Diet Dressing
Mineral Oil
Lemon Juice
Salt and Pepper

Up next - Gloria Swanson's Diet for "The Nerves"

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Lawrence Tibbett has 2 Diets

One of my favorite opera stars, Lawrence Tibbett, was prescribed a diet from our dear Madame Sylvia, Masseuse to the Stars and author of Hollywood Undressed. She prescribed 2 diets. One was for when performing, and one for when he wasn't. With both diets, Lawrence was supposed to drink "part of a glass of grapefruit juice 1/2 hour before breakfast" (Hollywood Undressed, Page 189). Not sure what this was supposed to do, but with Madame, there is a reason somewhere.

Let's start with the At Play Diet:

1960s Pabst Beer ad with Mr and Mrs Lawrence Tibbett

All Fruit Breakfast (Fresh Figs or any other In Season Fruit)
1 glass Warm Milk

Mr and Mrs Tibbett in a 1903 Electric Car from a friend's car collection
Avocado Salad
Whole Wheat Toast

My favorite Tibbett photo, from 1946 in Palm Beach Florida

See, even Opera Stars can Play :)

Avocado Cocktail with Thousand Island Dressing (I assume this is some kind of salad)
Plain Tomato Soup with Celery - No Crackers
Rare Roast Beef
Potatoes, Mashed with Cream and Butter
Corn on the Cob
Toast - no Coffee
Combination Salad - Tomatoes, Water Cress, Romaine, Celery, Onion, Cucumber, Raw Carrots, Raw Cabbage, and Mayonnaise
Blackberry or Peach Cobbler
And when performing, this is what Madame Sylvia ordered:

Performing on Your Hit Parade in the 1930s


2 Poached Eggs

Thin, Buttered Whole Wheat Toast

Crisp Bacon

Warm Milk

Laurel and Hardy and Lawrence Tibbett from the lost film, Rogue Song (1930). For a surviving clip, see clip below.

NONE - Way harsh Madame Sylvia! Why won't poor Sylvia let our boy eat?

Funny cartoon of Lawrence by the famous Disney animator who created characters the shorts for Tortoise and the Hare and Who Killed Cock Robin

*Eat 5 hours before a performance. - Again, pretty harsh Sylvia. Poor Lawrence will fade away!

Puree of Spinach
Fresh Peas
2 Lamb Chops
Head of Lettuce with dressing of Italian (Olive Oil, Lemon, and Salt)
Thin Whole Wheat Toast
1 Glass of Milk

I'll be honest here, I don't think I could handle these diets. I like lunch too much - and then at night there is a ton of food. You'd probably need it after being starved all day!

Did you guess the answer to the previous Lawrence Tibbett question? The question was what has Lawrence accomplished that only 5 other actors have before?

The answer - Been nominated for a Best Actor Academy Award for their first role

Up next, what does Madame Sylvia suggest for Ina Claire's Diet?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Mary Duncan's Diet

Madame Sylvia created a diet for Mary Duncan she described as "A diet for adolescents inclined to plumpness" (Hollywood Undressed, Page 186).

1/2 Grapefruit
2 slices of crisp rye toast with thin butter
1 cup coffee, clear

1/2 Cantaloupe
1 broiled lamb chop
4 heaping Tablespoonfuls of Cauliflower
2 heaping Tablespoonfuls of Summer Squash
2 Leaves of Lettuce
3 slices of Tomato, diet dressing
1/2 slice whole wheat toast, no butter
1 cup coffee, clear

1 Tomato Juice Cocktail
Russian Salad, Diet Dressing
1 slice of Roast Beef or 2 slices of Roast Lamb with "lean" gravy
3 heaping Tablespoons of Spinach
2 heaping Tablespoons of Brussel Sprouts
1/2 slice of Whole Wheat Toast
1 small dish of Strawberries
1 glass of Skimmed Milk
Demitasse Coffee

I think Madame Sylvia's diet for Mary Duncan sounds pretty decent. Some of the quantities seem strange like only 2 leaves of lettuce with lunch, but there must be some reason for it.

For a good post on Mary Duncan, check it out from one of my fav sites, Allure:
Next up - Why does Lawrence Tibbett need 2 diets?

Friday, December 4, 2009

Mae Murray's Weight Loss DIet

Madame Sylvia created quite a different diet for star Mae Murray. Mae wanted to stay slim, so her diet reflects that.


1 small glass of grapefruit juice

1 slice of whole wheat toast

1 glass of skimmed milk

1 cup coffee, clear

1 cup of broth
1 slice of broiled calf's liver
3 heaping Tablespoons of spinach
1 small baked potato
1 cup of custard with 1 spoonful of fruit juice
1 cup of tea, clear

1 fruit cocktail
1 cup vegetable soup
1 small broiled steak
3 heaping Tablespoons carrots
3 heaping Tablespoons fresh peas
1 small dish fresh berries
1 glass of skimmed milk
1 demitasse of coffee
As a whole, it's more than I usually eat. Not sure how it is diet food, but it sounds good. Minus the liver at lunch. My grandma loves liver, but just the thought is not appetizing to me at all.
Up next - What should Mary Duncan eat?

Marie Dressler's "As Is" Diet

Marie Dressler, as we all know, was known for having a bit of heft to her. As an older actress, she saw her fat as her ticket to fame. But she did not want to be unhealthy either. To create a perfect balance, our Madame Sylvia prescribed her a diet that would protect Marie's "best asset".

1 small glass orange juice
2 thing slices of crisp bacon
1 soft boiled egg
1 cup of coffee with 1 lump sugar, little cream

1 cup consomme
1 mixed fruit salad, no dressing
1 broiled lamb chop
2 heaping Tablespoons fresh peas
3 heaping Tablespoons carrots
1 small glass of fruit jello
1 cup tea with lemon

1 cup of broth
1 seafood cocktail
2 thin slices roast beef
20 stalks thin green asparagus
Fresh fruit (no bananas)
Demitasse coffee

Madame Sylvia gave Marie a very decent sounding diet. I could eat everything, not necessarily the quantity asked, but everything looks pretty good.

For some cool color photos of Marie, check out one of my favorite sites, Claroscureaux:

Up next - What should Mae Murray eat?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Grace Moore Refuses Madame Sylvia's Services

After evaluating Grace Moore, Madame Sylvia concluded that Grace sat too much, and it messed her up. Grace refused to listen to Sylvia stating, "Well my tests at MGM were pronounced perfect. And I did one whole scene in profile" (Hollywood Undressed, Page 163).

What Grace didn't know was that MGM thought Grace's middle was not up to shape, and asked Sylvia to help her. Grace didn't like the first treatment with Madame Sylvia, so MGM cancelled Sylvia's services. Turns out Grace had quite a bit of clout!

Needless to say, after this Madame Sylvia wanted little to do with Grace Moore. Grace, ever wanting to be the popular hostess, invited Sylvia to a hilltop party. Grace would have MGM send over the lion, and Beatrice Lille would be there. Sylvia hung up on her after saying, "And I'm supposed to be part of the menagerie?" (Hollywood Undressed, Page 164).

Up next: What kind of diet does Marie Dressler follow to stay "in shape"?

Thanks for the Award LaPetiteMort!

I'd just like to thank LaPetiteMort for the blog award. Had a rough day today, so I really appreciate it.

Got demoted a few months ago for bogus reasons, and I filed a complaint, including some discriminatory things my supervisor did to me. The investigation was finished today, and my employer found that some of my complaints were verified and my old supervisor did violate the ADA. Unfortunately I will not get my position back and there will be no punishment for my old supervisor. On one hand I feel vindicated, on the other hand I loved my job and my professional reputation is ruined :(
On a happy note, my site is up to a Fabulous 70 Followers! Thanks so much to all my fabulous followers! I adore you all!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Vivienne Segal/Grace Moore Slabfight!

Vivienne Segal (April 19, 1897 - December 29, 1992) was a musical and Broadway star. She made only 5 Hollywood films, generally considered duds. She left Hollywood to return to Broadway in 1934 and because a big Broadway star. One of the things she is best known for is originating the role of Vera Simpson in Pal Joey on Broadway.

During her brief stint in Hollywood, She had a brief war with Grace Moore. Vivienne and Grace were both seeing Madame Sylvia, our Masseuse to the Stars. One day, Grace had a 5 PM appointment, while Vivienne had a 4:30 PM appointment. Vivienne was running a little late and went over her massage time.

Vivienne and Grace Moore had been on poor terms to begin with because Vivienne had fired her manager (who subsequently sued Vivienne for damages) and Grace Moore went out and hired Vivienne's old manager right away.

Anyway, Grace came in with her usual fanfare at 5 PM for her appointment and Vivenne was still on the massage slab. Grace and Vivienne had a massive argument. Vivienne, naturally, wanting to upset Grace even more so she took her sweet time getting dressed and powdered super slowly to make Grace extra mad. From then on, Grace Moore and Vivienne Segal's appointments were scheduled FAR apart.

Note - All photos in this post are of Vivienne Segal

Nest up - Grace thinks she doesn't need Sylvia's help, but could her career be in jeopardy without Sylvia's help?

Monday, November 30, 2009

Grace Moore - Ultimate Hollywood Hostess?

Grace Moore, who held honors in musical comedy and opera, was naturally noticed by Hollywood. She came out to Hollywood with cars full of secretaries, cats, maids, dogs, handboxes and singing teachers (Hollywood Undressed, Page 157). Not exactly sure what handboxes are. I found everything from tools to blood collectors to luggage that were called handboxes. I'm hoping it's luggage :) If anyone knows, please share with us. Grace went everywhere with her handmaids and secretaries.

According to Madame Sylvia, our Masseuse to the Stars, she wanted to upstage Gloria Swanson as most popular hostess. Surprise, surprise Gloria Swanson did not get along with Grace Moore. Could it be because Gene Markey passed up an evening of charades at Gloria's house in order to take Grace flowers?

Up next - Gorgeous Grace and Vivienne Segal fight on the slab

Sunday, November 29, 2009

What is wrong with Constance Bennett?

According to our masseuse Madame Sylvia, the studio believed there was something wrong with Constance Bennett. They thought she looked sick, but was afraid to say anything. To try to figure out what was going on, Sylvia and her crew, set a trap. Joe Kennedy had a dinner party with Gloria Swanson, Laura Hope Crews, some gents, and Constance Bennett. Sylvia was invited, so she could try to figure out what was wrong with Connie.

The problem was she looked sick, her face was skinny, and her vertebrae showed. These days Hollywood would give her a medal, not be concerned about her! Because of her appearance, Connie's first talkie Rich People (1929), was postponed.

According to our Masseuse to the Stars, Madame Sylvia, Constance Bennett was "high-bred, high-strung, restless, and jumpy as a flea" (Hollywood Undressed, Page 137) before she started working on her. Madame Sylvia started giving her nightly rubdowns to help Connie sleep.

And it's no surprise, Gloria Swanson and Connie Bennett hated each other. To keep Madame Sylvia on her side, Connie offered to introduce Sylvia to royalty and invited Sylvia to accompany her to Europe. Gloria Swanson freaked out and Joe Kennedy chewed poor Constance out!

Madame Sylvia decided not to go on the European trip, even though Connie also tried to bribe her with her Sapphire ring! Who could say no to a European trip and a fabulous Sapphire Ring? I know I couldn't! Poor Constance went to Europe without Sylvia and came back with a child.

Up next - Grace Moore tries to upstage Gloria Swanson

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Why does Alan Hale Sr want to wear Billy Boyd's Pants?

Alan Hale Sr (February 10, 1892 - January 22, 1950) is probably best known as the father of Alan Hale Jr who was Skipper on Gilligan's Island. He was known as a great character actor, acting during both the silent and sound era in 107 films total.

Alan Hale Sr make a brief appearance in Hollywood Undressed, by masseuse Madame Sylvia. Alan was going to be a sailor in a film. He wanted to use Billy Boyd's sailor pants because Alan thought they were lucky. I wasn't able to determine which Billy Boyd he was referring to. There were two William Boyds acting during the time: William Boyd, most famous as Hopalong Cassidy; and William "Stage" Boyd who was arrested during prohibition for drugs and alcohol (incidentally adversely affecting both William Boyds because the newspapers would mix them up)

William Boyd, aka Hopalong Cassidy

William "Stage" Boyd with Barbara Stanwyck

Back to our story, Alan Hale didn't fit in Billy Boyd's sailor pants, so masseuse Madame Sylvia began working on Alan - but only did one side before Gloria Swanson dragged her away. As we know from previous posts, Gloria got top priority with Madame Sylvia. Madame Sylvia wrote, "To this day he claims that his two halves don't match" (Hollywood Undressed, Page 131).

Some Alan Hale Sr Trivia:
  • Was buds with Errol Flynn and had supporting roles or cameos in 13 of Errol's films
  • He holds the record for appearing as Little John in separate film productions: 3

Up next: Constance Bennet looks a little creepy


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