On the face of it, Hollywood looks like many North American neighbourhoods. There are coffee shops, tree-lined streets and folks who nod Hello. But, like any town, Hollywood has seen its share of, uh, unsavoury activities. As author Michael G. Ankerich says, “Hollywood’s secret world resembled everyday life in sunny California.”¹ Ankerich’s recently-published Hairpins and Dead… Continue reading When Hollywood Fame Dies Out
Before Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, there was Max Linder. Now, you may not have heard of Max Linder, but do not fret. We’re here to help you become the Movie Smarty Pants you’re destined to be. First, some Fast Facts on Max: French comedic actor, born in 1883 Hated school, but was popular with… Continue reading Introducing the Father of Film Comedy: Max Linder
There is no delicate way to put this: We’ve been ripped off. We, meaning all of us movie-watching folk. Now, before we continue, we realize countless people in the world have been ripped off in much bigger ways, such as famine, war, injustice, etc. What we’re talking about is a rip-off in film history, an epic… Continue reading Funny Women of the Silents
You know you’re in for a treat when a book begins with a definition of the word heel: “A contemptibly dishonorable or irresponsible person.”¹ A “heel” is the type of character perfected by Hollywood actor Ricardo Cortez (1900-1977), for which he received critical acclaim. Example: “Mr Cortez is one of the screen’s best menaces”². Or: “Ricardo Cortez… Continue reading Ricardo Cortez: The Obscure but Magnificent Heel
Dear Reader, we can tell life may not be at its most joyous right now, and that you need some Canadiana to cheer you up. Here’s something for you: Stardust and Shadows: Canadians in Early Hollywood, a book that discusses the contributions of 18 influential Canadians in fledgling Hollywood. Now, you may be asking – and rightly so –… Continue reading Young Canadians in Old Hollywood
Dear Reader, we believe all humans have certain universal and inalienable rights; among them, the Right to be a Know-It-All. If, for example, you’ve always wanted to know more about film noir – and who doesn’t? – you’ve come to the right place. (Wait – we’re not suggesting we’re an authority on film noir. Good heavens! But,… Continue reading Want to be a Film Noir Aficionado? Start Here.
We can tell you’re dying to know about our recent classic Hollywood discovery. You’re going to be excited! We’ve gone all fangirl for Jane Hall, a young woman who thumbed her nose at tradition and became a scriptwriter at MGM Studios in the late 1930s. Not only did she write screenplays, she also wrote witty behind-the-scenes-in-Hollywood articles for Good Housekeeping. Just look… Continue reading Jane Hall Goes Hollywood
True Story: One of our very first jobs was at a local television station, and part of our executive duties (ha ha) was to purge files in a forgotten cabinet. This task had obviously been put off for years; the cabinet was so full of paper it nearly exploded when you opened the drawers. It was while… Continue reading The Cool Kids’ Guide to Classic Film
Why didn’t Helen Twelvetrees become a legendary movie star? She had the talent: Just watch her in the little-known drama, Young Bride (1931). She plays a naive librarian who marries a slick-talking con artist (Eric Linden). One evening, shortly after their honeymoon, a restless Linden tells Twelvetrees he needs his space, needs to get out and see people. She, understandably, doesn’t… Continue reading Helen Twelvetrees’ Rotten Luck
It’s a good thing we (as in, yours truly) are not famous. We’d make a boorish celebrity, the type that sends staff on stupid errands, e.g. “Bring me a truckload of M&M’s – and don’t come back until the yellow ones have been picked out!” You know the type. But once in a while a genuinely decent… Continue reading Who on Earth was Ann Blyth?