Sunday, March 27, 2011

James Dean, Liz Taylor, and a New Blog

I decided to start a blog about what celebrities read, and their home libraries. It's called Celebrity Reads. Here, James Dean and Elizabeth Taylor take a break on the set of Giant.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Book Review: Relic Master: The Dark City by Catherine FIsher

I have to get a bit off topic for the minute. I won an advance reading copy from Penguin books and all I have to say is Wow! This is one of the best books I have read in a while. Relic Master: The Dark City brings the reader to the world of Anara, a crumbling world run by a police state controlled by The Watch. The Watch's sole purpose seems to be the obliteration of The Order or Keepers (those able to control power by themselves and can be amplified through the use of Relics). The reader enters the world through Raffi, a four year student of the Order and his teacher Galen, who surprisingly has lost his use of power. Galen and Raffi seek to find others like them and restore the world to the way of the past. Along the way, they are "befriended" by Carys Arrin, a 16-year-old member of The Watch. I sympathized most with Galen, who had something that was such a part of his life taken away from him. His very purpose on the planet was taken away from him for no reason. The dichotomy of wanting to die, yet needing to live for the greater purpose made Galen an incredibly compelling character. This book was intense in the best sense of the word. I couldn't put it down. It sort of reminded me of a cross between the Septimus Heap series by Angie Sage and the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. I can't wait for the rest of the series to be released here in the US!

It comes out May 17th, 2011. Get at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Stanwyck helps George Gobel

Barbara Stanwyck
Noted for her help to newcomers in Hollywood, has climbed right on the bandwagon for a guy who has never appeared in pictures – he’s George Gobel of television. Right now he’s the most talked about new personality in town and everyone seems to have discovered him at the same time. Finding a movie vehicle for his particular brand of comedy talent might prove to be a difficult task.

George Geobel (May 20, 1919 - Feb 24, 1991) was a hilarious comedian and actor. He started out as a child star on the radio. This only child initially intended to be a country music star, but that didn't quite work out, so he opted for comedy and excelled at it. During WWII he was a flight instructor which he famously made fun of in the fantastic Johnny Carson clip above. It makes me long for the days when late night comedians were actually funny. This clip feels like one big party.

Many people are most familiar with George Gobel's appearances on Hollywood Squares, where he made over 200 appearances. In 1954, he had his own show, The George Gobel Show, which is quite hilarious. The company he helped found, Gomalco, produced the first four years of the beloved TV show, Leave It to Beaver. Unfortunately, his talent did not translate to the movies as Barbara Stanwyck and many others wished. George had a wife, Alice, whom he was married to from December 13, 1942 until his death. They had three children together. Alice was often used as a topic of George's humor, as you can see in the clip from The George Gobel Show below.

Although I didn't realize it, I first encountered George Gobel in the Rankin Bass 1974 classic, Twas The Night Before Christmas. He voiced the lovable Father Mouse in the Christmas classic. Some people might also remember him as Mayor Harper in the 1981 TV series Harper Valley PTA.

A great George Gobel quote: "I've never been drunk, but I've often been overserved"

A bit of trivia, the "Lonesome George" is named after him (Gobel's nickname was "Lonesome George"). There is only 1 of this subspecies of Galapagos Tortoise. The tortoise is anywhere from 60 - 90 years old. There is a $10,000 reward for anyone who can find a female of the same species, so keep your eyes open!

Friday, March 25, 2011

RIP Elizabeth Taylor

We lost one of the greats this week, the stunning Elizabeth Taylor. She will be remembered for many things:

Her incredible talent (Seen her with Paul Newman in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof)

Her Charity Work (Photo Source:

As A Wonderful Mother

For Style and Fashion

For Beauty and those Eyes

Her Jewels

Her Care and Love of Animals

Mike Todd - "He was 25 years my senior and eternally young. I could hardly keep up with him. He was the most energetic man I've ever known and he made our short 18 months together one of the most intensely glorious times of my life. ... I have had two great loves in my life. Mike Todd was the first." (Elizabeth Taylor Quote - Source:

Richard Burton - "Since I was a little girl, I believed I was a child of destiny, and if that is true Richard Burton was surely my fate. Certainly for a very long time he was my life. Despite what the press wrote at the beginning of our affair, I never regretted a moment of it." (Elizabeth Taylor Quote - Source:

As a Fierce Friend (Here with Montgomery Clift in the 1950s)

Elizabeth Taylor was a legend with no equal. I find her life particularly inspiring because despite her incredible beauty, she was an incredibly sweet, loving, generous and hard working. I admire her drive and love of life. I find it inspiring that she was able to accomplish so many wonderful things, despite her many health problems. As someone who has suffered from chronic back pain, like Elizabeth, it can be so hard to get out of bed, let alone function in society - yet she was able to win Oscars, help so many people through her charity work, and win the love and admiration of millions of people. RIP dear Elizabeth, and enjoy that wonderful backlot in the sky.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Frances Walks Out On Van

Frances Heflin
After stalking out on Van in a huff from a Hollywood restaurant, explained: “I was just being a red head.”

(Source: Movieland; February 1955)

Van Heflin and Frances Neal, an RKO contract player, were married from 1942 - 1967. They had two daughters and one son.

I'm a redhead myself, and I wish redheads weren't known for having a fiery temper. I wonder if it was bad food or something Van said. It must have been an intense argument if it caused her to leave dinner.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Sterling Hayden is a bachelor . . . again

Sterling Hayden, his wife Betty Ann de Noon, and daughter Gretchen Bell in happier times (November 31, 1950)

Sterling Hayden
Has his divorce out and will soon be on the eligible bachelor list again. Since he’s probably made more pictures than any other male star the past two years, he’ll also be taking a vacation from the studios – as well as marriage – until he gets a rest.

(Source: Movieland; 1955)

Apparently "The Most Beautiful Man in the Movies" (as Paramount billed him) would not be a bachelor for long. This Movieland tidbit must have been written between marriages to Betty Ann. Sterling Hayden and Betty Ann de Noon seemed to have a love hate relationship. They were married and divorced three times: from 1947-1953, 1954-1955, and 1956-1958. They had 4 children together: Christian, Dana, Gretchen, and Matthew. Sterling Hayden was also married to actress Madeleine Carroll (from 1942-1946) and Catherine Devine McConnell (from 1960-1986; they had 2 children). Sterling appeared in some pretty great pictures like The Godfather, but my favorite Sterling performances were in Dr. Strangelove and The Asphalt Jungle.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Lou Pulls a "Cutie"

Lou Costello
Pulled a cutie for his daughter Caro Lou. Her birthday falls on December 23rd and Lou figured it wasn’t fair for it to come so close to Christmas. SO he just moved the calendar back and gave her sixteenth birthday party on November sixth. That way Christmas and birthday presents for the young girl won’t conflict.
(Source: Movieland; February 1955)

Abbott Puts on the Pounds

Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy (1955)

Bud AbbottIncidentally, continues to gain weight while Lou sheds pounds. They began their comedy team work as a skinny guy and a fat man. Now they’re practically the same weight!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Can Judy Take Home the Academy Award?

Judy Garland, Jack Warner, and Lauren Bacall at A Star is Born Premiere September 1954

Judy Garland
And Marlon Brando are the present favorites to get the Oscars for the best female and male star performances of 1954. Judy may have some competition from Dorothy Dandrige for “Carmen Jones” and Grace Kelly for “Country Girl” – but the sentiment is riding with Garland, and that’s a powerful factor when a Hollywoodite makes a comeback. Along with Marlon, James Mason will likely receive a nomination for “A Star is Born”; and Dan O’Herlihy for “Robinson Crusoe”. At least, that is the way voters are thinking right now.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Greta Garbo on TV?

Greta Garbo
Can name her own price for doing one of those TV extravaganzas. But if she won’t do a picture, it’s hardly likely that she’ll do television. Incidentally, the last time we saw Garbo, she was dining with a party of friends in a very public place and seemed to be having a wonderful time. That ultra-shyness attributed to her is simply a part of the Garbo legend. If the lady doesn’t have to work and doesn’t want to, why should she?
(Source: Movieland, February 1955)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Shelley and Marilyn

Shelley Winters and Marilyn Monroe at the Golden Globes in 1961

Shelley Winters
“Marilyn Monroe and I have two things in common. We’re both blond and we alienated the Italian market.”

(Source: Movieland; February 1955)

Shelley Winters and Marilyn Monroe shared an apartment in the 1940s and 1951. According to Shelley, they also shared a bathing suit for photos and a mink coat for dates. It's also thought that she taught Marilyn to act sexy "by tilting her head back, lowering her eyes, and ever-so-slightly opening her mouth" (Source:

Friday, March 11, 2011

Donald and Francis the Mule take a Break

Donald O’Connor
Says he has no time for serious romance these days. His idea of relaxing evening is to catch two western feature pictures. Don is not so wealthy as most people imagine because until he clicked in “Singing in the Rain,” he worked for practically nothing – as stars go. His first Universal-International contract, which ran for seven years, paid him $200 a week. Donald doesn’t intend to do any more pictures with his pal, Francis the Mule unless U-I comes up with a good script and an interesting salary offer.
(Source:Movieland; 1955)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Bob Mitchum and his Nicknames

Wonder where Bob Mitchum picks up all those nicknames? He calls Marilyn Monroe, “Angora”

and Olivia de Havilland, “Sport”.

Usually he just settles for “Dad” when addressing men. We think you’ll be surprised by Olivia’s performance as the Swedish nurse in “Not as a Stranger.” For the part she has assumed a Swedish accent and had her hair bleached. Always the perfectionist, she saw eight real operations before starting the picture.

Olivia De Havilland and Pierre Galante

By the time you read this Olivia might be married to Pierre Galante and living abroad. She’s scheduled to make two pictures is Europe – so she won’t be idle.

(Source: Movieland, 1955)

Note: Olivia De Havilland was married to Pierre Galante from 1955 until their divorce in 1979.

Olivia looks quite different as a blond. I think she looks better as a brunette. What do you think?

Basement Ceiling

A 1920s Ceiling

Basement Ceiling
The ceiling should be airtight to prevent dust from sifting upstairs. A ceiling of plaster, Sheetrock, or other fire resisting material, greatly reduces a fire hazard.
(Source, Watkins Household Hints, 1941)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Are Liz and Michael Wilding headed for splitsville?

Michael Wilding, Michael Jr, Elizabeth Taylor, and Christopher; 1955

Liz Taylor
Was upset last spring when rumors insisted she and Mike were splitting up. But Mike assured her it was all idle gossip, and they’d be together after all the reports had faded. At that time, Liz told us that she was going to get herself a bigger house and fill it with children. With the new home and second baby on the way, it looks as if she’s carrying out her plan.

(Source: Movieland February 1955)

Michael Wilding and Elizabeth Taylor were married from February 21, 1952 - January 30, 1957. She married Michael Todd within days of her divorce from Wilding.

Vintage Household Hints 2 - Prevent Basement Accidents

Joan Bennett Storing Scripts in Basement Trunk; 1940

How to Prevent Basement Accidents

1. Keep rubbish and ashes in separate covered metal containers. Do not allow old papers and other inflammable material to accumulate.

2. Have stairs to basement well lighted, and provided with a handrail. Never leave pails, brooms, etc., on the stairs or landing.

3. Remove nails when breaking up boxes.

4. Tools should be kept in a cupboard; do not hang them on rafters.

5. Basement should be well lighted, preferably with electric lights controlled by a switch at top of the stairway.

(Source: Watkins Household Hints; 1941)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Monty Clift crashes at Liz's house and Premiere drama

Elizabeth Taylor and Michael Wilding

Montgomery Clift
Is usually a hermit when he comes to Hollywood for a picture. But he surprised everybody by house-guesting with Liz Taylor and Michael Wilding. His friendship with Liz goes back to A Place in the Sun, but it was never more than friendship. At that time Liz was single, and the studio cooked up the idea of having Monty take Liz to the premiere of the picture. He borrowed a tux and took a publicity man in a studio limousine to pick up Liz.

Liz and Montgomery Clift; 1950

But on the way to her house, they stopped at a drive-in to dine on hamburgers, Monty was more concerned about getting the publicity man home than he was about arriving at the premiere with Liz. His mood is mellowing toward Hollywood, but he’s still very careful about the scripts he selects.

(Source: Movieland, February 1955)

Vintage Household Hints #1 - Ventilation

Air Ducts, Ventilators, Flues, Chimneys, Etc.

Should be cleaned once a year. In all cities and many towns, there are firms which have special motorized vacuum equipment which does the work efficiently.

Man Cleaning Commercial Furnace Aug 25, 1949 (Source:MNHS)

Clean burners in gas-fired boiler and flush fuel oil storage tanks to remove sediment. Remove rust.*

(Source: Watkins Household Hints, 1941)

*Note - We have different furnaces now so much of this tip is not valid. It is however still advisable to have a professional tune up and clean your furnace, chimneys, etc. I do it once a year - furnace in the fall and air conditioner in the spring. Chimney every 1 to 2 years depending on how often I use the fireplace.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

RIP Jane Russell

RIP to one of the greats, Jane Russell. What a sweet, strong, classy, fabulous lady. No one out there like her, and never will be.

Jane, her 4 brothers, and their broods in 1954


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