Dick Van Dyke. My Lucky Life. . .

Words of wisdom, opinion, and lessons learned, like this, my favorite: You can spread jelly on the peanut better but you can’t spread peanut


* Dustin Hoffman.  Sacked from Ridley’s restaurant as a young man, for devouring six steaks in succession from the restaurant’s kitchen.

* Madonna.  Fired from Dunkin’ Donuts for squirting jam at a customer.

* Peter Finch.  Fired from a journalistic post after spilling a pitcher of water over an editor’s head.  (I guess he was as mad as *@#$, and he wasn’t going to take it any more!)

* Jerry Lewis.  Let go from a soda-fountain job after serving a banana split with the peel still on the banana.  He had been on the job an hour before this oversight.  (probably inspired his characters)



M*A*S*H’s ending reached a histrionic stage

New York City’s water-flow rate jumped by 300 million gallons just after the show ended.  An unheard-of number of people had been holding trips to the bathroom until the credits rolled.  M*A*S*H remains a superstar of reruns!




In front of a live audience, Lucy did her famous VITAMEATAVEGAMIN lengthy scene in one take!  Ball wandered off course only once, but knew the material so well she was able to ad-lib, making it even funnier, then found her way back into the script.



I LOVE LUCY… TV series Facts & Trivia

* The only reason Lucy created the show was so that she & Desi could mend their faltering marriage.
* The only reason that Lucy became pregnant on the show was that she was pregnant in real life.  The network insisted the word ‘expecting’ be used instead of ‘pregnant’, on air.
* The network initially rejected  Lucille Ball’s request for her real husband to play Ricky.  Who would believe it? She threatened to move to another network, so they agreed, finally.
* ‘I Love Lucy’ was the first TV series ever filmed and subsequently aired at a later date.
* During the life of the show, the only show that ever had higher ratings was ‘The 64,000 Question”.
* Desi Arnaz was the son of a Cuban senator and a beautiful model.  He was born to great wealth but forced to leave his homeland at the age of 16 during the Batista revolution.
* Lucille Ball dropped out of high school when she was fifteen to pursue acting.
* William Frawley (Fred Mertz) had to sign a contract saying that he would never show up to the set drunk, as he had a reputation for heavy drinking.
* Vivian Vance (Ethel Mertz) hated that her character was married to a much older man.



LEAVE IT TO BEAVER… TV series Facts & Trivia

* On October  4, 1957, ‘Leave it to Beaver’ premiered.  The first episode was delayed by network censors because it showed a toilet bowl.  The network finally agreed to air it!
* Originally entitled ‘Wally and Beaver’, it was the first sitcom to center around the children rather than the parents.
* June Cleaver (Barbara Billingsley) wore a pearl necklace in every episode because her neck was extremely thin.
* Jerry Mathers (the Beaver) was cast as the Beaver when he was eight.  (He was a pin-up boy by the time he was two, appearing in a department store calendar.  And by the time he was four, he appeared in an Alfred Hitchcock movie.
* Tony Dow (Wally) was cast in his role accidentally.  He accompanied a friend to the audition, but the producers preferred Tony.
* Ken Osmond (Eddie Haskel) was Wally’s friend.  He later joined the LAPD, and in 1970 was decorated for his valor.
* Famous lines from the show:
‘Gee, Wally’, ‘Boy Beave, are you gonna get it’, and ‘Ward, I’m very worried about the Beaver.’



BATMAN… TV series Facts & Trivia

* Batman was the first comic book superhero show to be broadcast during prime time in the 60s.
* This show featured famous guest stars such as John Astin, Julie Newmar, Frank Gorshin, Cesar Romero, Vincent Price, Milton Berle, Cliff Robertson, and Liberace!
* The Batmobile was a modified Lincoln Continental, costing $30,000 for modification.
* The Batcave set cost over $800,000.
* Frank Gorshin was the only member of the cast to receive an Emmy nomination for his performance of the Riddler.


Only ‘2’ Actors Can Claim This!

Michael Caine is one of the two actors nominated for an Academy Award for acting in every decade from the 1960s to 2000s.  Whose the other actor? Jack Nicholson.



Hey, What’s So Funny?

Many cities have been zapped for fun. ‘Greater Cleveland’ is an oxymoron.  ‘I went to Philadelphia, but it was closed.’ ‘New York is a nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there.’ In the 1930’s and 40’s, ‘Brooklyn’ ignited laughter, and Mel Blanc’s railroad announcer intoning, ‘Anaheim, Azusa, and Cucamonga!’ always brought down the house on Jack Benny’s comedy radio show.  But no city surpasses Hollywood (and by extension Southern California), as a target of ridicule.



‘You Can Say THAT Again!’ Notable Re-Takes

The Shining (1979)
Stanley Kubrick shot one scene with Shelly Duvall 127 times.

The Blue Angle (1930)
Josef von Sternburg shot Marlene Dietrich singing, ‘Falling in Love Again’ 236 times because she couldn’t pronounce the word ‘moths’ to his satisfaction. (The way she said it, it sounded like ‘moss’).

The Scarlet Letter (1995)
Demi Moore ordered a scene to be reshot at a cost of $100,000 because she didn’t like the way her hair looked in it.

Dr. Strangelove (1964)
Sterling Hayden fluffed a take for one scene forty-seven times.

City Lights (1931)
Charlie Chaplin ordered a record 342 retakes of the scene where a blind girl sells him a flower, imagining that he is a rich tycoon.

Desire Me (1947)
Robert Mitchum said after making this, ‘I stopped believing in movies after it took Greer Garson 125 takes to say ‘No.”



10 Stars’ Phobias

1)  Jackson ~ Claustrophobia
2)  Joan Collins ~ Afraid of the dark
3)  Madonna ~ Terrified of Thunder
4)  Howard Hughes ~ Had a pathological terror of any form of germs
5)  Marilyn Monroe ~ Suffered both from a fear of open spaces and also an apparently contradictory sensation that the world was closing in on her
6)  Natalie Wood ~ Had a lifelong fear of water, which was justified in the end; she drowned
7)  Whoppi Goldberg ~ Hates flying
8)  Marlene Dietrich ~ Like Howard Hughes, she suffered from bacilophobia, the fear of germs
9)  Katharine Hepburn ~ Had such a phobia about dirty hair that she used to go around movie sets sniffing people’s heads
10)  Joan Crawford ~ Was so obsessed with hygiene that she used to follow guests around her house wiping everything they touched~especially doorknobs



Oscar Trivia…

Woody Allen refused to attend the Oscar ceremonies on the night he won an Oscar for Annie Hall (1977): he was too busy playing the clarinet in a New York jazz bar.


5 Oscar Winners who are the children of stars

Anjelica Houston
Jane Fonda
Liza Minnelli
Michael Douglas
Tatum O’Neal


Hard to Believe this, but…

Elvis Presley
When he was in 8th grade, his music teacher said that he showed NO promise as a Singer.

Marlon Brando
Used to wander so much on his way to kindergarten that his sister Jocelyn eventually had to bring him on a leash.

Jack Nicholson
Was once kept in detention every day for a whole school year.

Tom Cruise
Voted ‘Least Likely to Succeed’ in high school.



From Revlon… to Star Wars

Another Star Wars star, Natalie Portman was born in Jerusalem in 1981, she was then known as Natalie Hershlag, a name she still uses outside her Hollywood life.  Her father’s medical career took the family to Washington, DC, then to Connecticut, then finally to Long Island, New York.  It as there that she was discovered at the age of 11, while eating at a neighborhood pizzeria, by a Revlon modeling scout.  Impressed by the young girl’s looks, the scout signed her on.  After a while, Natalie tired of modeling and decided to try her luck with acting.  She made her debut in 1994 when she was 13, in a film called The Professional.  She appeared in a few more movies before George Lucas knew he had to have her as Queen Padme’ Amidala in his next three episodes of the Star Wars movies.  She was 14 when she agreed to sign a 10-year contract to appear in all three films. (courtesy of Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Plunges into Hollywood)



Our Gang

On April 29, 1944, the last ‘Our Gang’ comedy was released.  The very first had been produced in 1922 by Hal Roach, who continued to work on the shorts until he sold the rights to MGM in 1938.

There are more than 100 films in the series, all featuring a band of kids getting into trouble and then trying to get out of it.


Rear Window ‘Blooper’

Jimmy Stewart, in a cast and sitting in a wheelchair, argues with Grace Kelly.

Blooper: His cast switches from his left leg to his right.


There’s more talent in her ‘little finger’…

Nicole Kidman did all of her own piano playing in Cold Mountain (2003).


Know the Story Behind How Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart Met

Betty Joan Perske (who would later be known as the grande dame of stage and screen known as Lauren Bacall) originally wanted to be a dancer.  She studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City and began modeling to pay the bills once she left school.  she landed on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar.  Wife of director Howard Hawkes convinced her husband to give the young model a screen test.  Hawkes did give her a test and was so impressed with ‘Betty’  that he cast her in To Have and Have Not (1944) opposite Humphrey Bogart, her future husband.   And now you know the rest of the story…



You’ve heard the story… but, is ‘it’ true?

The story of Lana Turner, the 1940’s Sweater Girl, is one of the most famous ‘discovery’ stories.  She was discovered while sipping a soda in Schwab’s drugstore.  It’s been told so many times, but how true is it?

It is true that 15 year old Julia Jean Mildred Frances Turner (Judy for short) was discovered while sipping soda.  but it wasn’t at Schwab’s.  She was actually drinking her soda at the Top Hat Malt Shop, across the street from Hollywood High School.  And, Truth be known, she was actually cutting typing class.  She changed her name from Judy to Lana… and became a star!



Army Archerd

Army Archerd wrote a column for 52 years for  the Hollywood ‘trade’  Daily Variety. Archerd was 83 when he wrote his last column in 2005.


Disney Trivia

When Walt Disney decided to make the Snow White story into a movie, everyone, including his wife and brother thought he was being just plain foolish.  Animators warned him that cartoons were supposed to be short; there was no way an audience would be interested in 90 minutes of animation.
Disney persevered.

Disney hired a huge staff: 32 animators, 102 assistants, 167 ‘in-betweeners’ (ass’t animators), 20 layout artists, 25 artists doing watercolor backgrounds, 65 effects animators, and 158 inkers and painters.  There were 2,000,000 illustrations made using more than 1,500 shades of paint.

Then there were writers investing a lot of time developing the personalities of all the characters – especially the seven dwards.  In the original proposal, Dopey, the last dwarf to be developed, was supposed to talk; he became a mute because  no suitable voice actor could be found.

Walt Disney himself made sure that everything was done right, no matter how long it took or how much it cost.

Disney’s folly transformed into Disney’s success almost immediately.  It was released on December 21, 1937, and went on to make more money than any other film in 1938; more than 20 million Americans went to see it.  Since its release (after you adjust for inflation), Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs has made more than $697 million dollars in the United States alone.  As of 2005, It was the 10th highest-earning motion picture of all time.  More than 50 years later the U.S. government would honor Disney’s Snow White by placing it into the National Film Registry.  Walt Disney’s vision paid off, and animated features are now blockbusters in their own right.



Audrey Hepburn

At age 58, Audrey Hepburn began her work with UNICEF as an ambassador and trainer.  Her annual salary was one dollar per year.



* Did You Know Luke Skywalker in Star Wars (1977) was originally  written as a girl.

* Actress Minnie Driver’s real first name is Amelia.

* The lead in Beverly Hills Cop (1984) was originally written for Sylvester Stallone.

* Molly Ringwald was offered the role of Vivian in Pretty Woman, but turned it down.

* The lions in Out of Africa weren’t natives.  They were shipped from California… because Kenya forbids using native wild animals in films.


The Wooden Spoon

I remember ‘THE Wooden Spoon’, do you?  Kirsten Dunst’s production company is called Wooden Spoon Productions… Because her grandmother always carried one to keep the grandkids in line.



Tombstones of the Famous

Jack Lemmon: In

Billy Wilder: I’m A Writer But Then Nobody’s Perfect

Ernie Kovacs: Nothing in Moderation

Mary Pickford: America’s Sweetheart

Ed Wynn:  Dear God, Thanks

Frank Sinatra: The Best Is Yet To Come

Billy Barty: In loving memory of Billy Barty, who always thought big

Sammy Davis Jr.: The Entertainer: He Did It All

Brono: (the  chimp from Bedtime for Bonzo) He  made us laugh

Fred Astaire: I will always love you my darling.  Thank You

Gracie Allen and George Burns: Together Again

Sammy Cahn: Sleep With a Smile


One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest ~ Trivia

When Marlon Brando turned down the part, director Milos Forman had breakfast with Burt Reynolds and told him he was one of the two actors being considered for the part of Randall P. McMurphy.   Reynolds was thrilled, and said ‘If the other guy isn’t Jack Nicholson, I’ve got the part.’  Forman stopped dead in his tracks.  Reynolds knew he wasn’t going to get the part.  Well, the rest is  h i s t o r y!  Nicholson got the role, and won the Oscar for best actor.


Why Not ? !

There are no opening credits or titles in Apocalypse Now (1979).



Premiere’s 10 Greatest Movie Stars

Premiere magazine editors compiled a list of the ’50 Greatest Movie Stars.’  It is not without controversy.  Here’s who made the top 10.

1. Cary Grant
2. Marilyn Monroe
3. Tom Cruise
4. John Wayne
5. Ingrid Bergman
6. Paul Newman
7. Julia Roberts
8. Greta Garbo
9. James Stewart
10. Henry Fonda


Spider-Man Trivia

Several Spider-Man (2002) costumes were created at a cost of up to $100,000 each.  Four were stolen in 2001.  Despite a $25,000 reward, they were never returned.


‘Must See’ flicks of the WESTERN GENRE

Like a Good Western?  Here is a list of the Top,  featuring some of the greatest stars in the Hollywood Corral!

1948 – Fort Apache, starring John Wayne and Henry Fonda, is the first of director John Ford’s superb ‘cavalry  trilogy’, which also includes ‘She Wore a Yellow Ribbon’ (1948) and Rio Grande (1950). Fort Apache is a variation of the Custer Story, and in a cast dominated by males, a grown-up Shirley Temple is delightful as the colonel’s daughter.

1952 – High Noon, Cary Cooper plays the iconic sheriff of a town about to be sieged  by outlaws.  High Noon won four Oscars, including a Best Actor award for Coop.

1953 – Shane, stars Alan Ladd and Van Heflin in a story of cattle barons vs. homesteaders representing the key Western theme of civilization vs. the wilderness.  Jack Palance was nominated for an Academy Award for his chilling portrayal of a hired killer.

1956 – The Searchers, director John Ford explores the theme of racism in its story of a young girl who is kidnapped by Native Americans.  At first, Ethan Edwards (John Wayne) hopes to rescue her, but he later wants to kill her instead.  A complex film with a dark view of civilization.  Wayne is magnificent in his role, and costar  Ward Bond is powerful as a Texas Ranger who doubles as a frontier preacher.

1960 – The Magnificent Seven, The action nonstop, and the cast charismatic in this Western based on Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai.  The era’s best young actors make up the seven, with each representing a facet of the masculine character.  Yul Brynner, James Coburn, Steve McQueen, and Charles Bronson in their prime.

1969 – Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Humor, history, romance, and a great chase, not to mention Paul Newman and Robert Redford.  Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is one of the most charming Westerns ever made.

1990 – Dances with Wolves, Kevin Costner directed and starred as a frontier army officer who interacts with a tribe of Native Americans.  One of cinema’s finest portrayals of Native Americans to date.  Dances with Wolves inverts the traditional Western’s idea of who represents civilization and who represents the wilderness.  The film won seven Oscars, including Best Picture.

1992 – Unforgiven, Clint Eastwood and Morgan Freeman star as retired gunfighters who strap on their holsters one last time to avenge the death of a prostitute.  Their quest pits them against a brutal lawman, played by Gene Hackman. Directed by Eastwood, Unforgiven won four Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Supporting Actor (Hackman).

1993 – Tombstone, (updated version of Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, 1957) the mythic overtones of the West’s most famous story take center stage.  Kurt Russell is actor enough to play a mythic Wyatt Earp, but Val Kilmer with his unexpected poignant interpretation of tragic Doc Holliday, who chased death as a way to kill the pain of life, steals the show.  A story  that offers a message about the personal price of a life of violence.

2003 – Open Range, Kevin Costner directed this beautifully shot, character-driven story of open range drovers about to be made obsolete in a changing West.  Robert Duvall, is captivating as an aging trail boss, while cowboy / gunfighter Costner strikes up an unlikely romance with Annette Bening.  The climactic shootout, one of the best ever filmed in a Western.



Odd-Sounding Jobs for Movie Makers

Movies take dozens of people to create, and if you’ve ever read a film’s credits, you’ve  probably  noticed some ODD sounding  job titles.  Here’s a few more goodies for you.  I Love watching the role of credits following a good Movie.  I like to know who REALLY makes it all happen!

Boom Operator – boom refers to the boom microphone, which is often at the end of a long pole.  It can pick up sounds by hanging above the actors, just out of camera range.  Look closely at your favorite TV show… you just may see the shadows of the ‘inner’ workings.

Gaffer – The chief lighting technician.  This person manages the production’s lighting and electrical departments and lights each scene based on direction from the cinematographer.

Best Boy – The gaffer’s primary assistant in managing the lighting and electrical crews.  The best boy can be a female, but the title is derived from sailing terminology, remains the same.

Armoror – This person deals with all the weapons on a movie’s set and decides which weapons best suite each scene based on its era and genre.  The armoror is responsible for picking out the right kinds of blanks and teaching the actors how to properly use the weapons.

Key Grip – Leader of the grips – lighting and rigging techies who handle equipment that is not attached to the lights.  Grips are essentially responsible for the entire cast and crew’s safety.

Dolly Grip –  A dolly is a platform on wheels that moves the camera during filming to ensure a smooth, fluid shot.

Focus Puller – Measures the distance between the subject  and the camera lens and uses the marking ring on the camera lens to determine where the lens needs to be set to ensure focus.

Foley Artist – The person to makes the sound effects for a movie.  Jack Foley is the name of  one of the industry’s first sound effects artist.  Foley artists often use unusual objects  to make the noises that accompany the film – slapping coconut shells together makes the sound of horses galloping, for example… or, snapping stalks of celery makes the sound of bones breaking.

Lead Man – Works with the art department to buy, borrow, or scrounge the objects to make the set more believable or atmospheric.

Wrangler – Deals with animals.  He / She is responsible for selecting, training, and taking care of the animals used in a film… from horses, cows to spiders and snakes.


Clapper Loader – known as the camera loader, handles one of the most recognizable pieces of filmmaking: the black and white clapper that marks the beginning of each new take.  This person’s job is to clap the clapper in front of the camera every time a take begins.  He/She also loads the film stock into the camera’s magazines.


Swing Gang – No Worries!   The swing gang is not a group of dancers that will force you to jitterbug and jive across the set of a TV or Movie set.  This is just another name for ‘set decorators’.  This group generally works at night to ready the set (or soundstage) for the next days filming.  They also take down the set when filming is completed.


Can I Borrow Your Hat, Please?

The battered hat worn by Henry Fonda in ‘On Golden Pond’ belonged to Spencer Tracy.  And, John Wayne’s silver-and-leather hatband in ‘True Grit’ was originally Gary Cooper’s!


Product ‘Placement’ in the Movies (… and TV)

The products have always been there~ they’re just easier to see now.   In the 50’s, the Bell potato chip company was looking to expand.  Originally, Bell chips were distributed mainly on the West Coast.  They began sending free cases of their potato chips to movie sets, in the hopes that they could get screen time.  The plan finally worked.  Billy Wilder needed them for ‘The Seven Year Itch’ (1955).  Marilyn Monroe’s character eats them after she takes a trip to the grocery store.  It’s hard to tell if anyone saw the chips when Marilyn was on-screen.


Here’s more product ‘placements’; In ‘Home Alone’ (1990), John Candy and his polka band give Catherine O’Hara a ride home in a ‘Budget’ rental truck.  After the movie, ‘Budget’ said people actually called them to ‘Thank’ them for getting that poor woman a lift home.


And… ‘E.T’. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) Elliott, lures a friendly alien out of hiding by using Reese’s Pieces candies.  Sales shot up 66 percent~ and Hollywood noticed!  Real products began to show up everywhere in movies.  It isn’t really a modern phenomenon.  It’s been around for about as long as movies have been.


If He Could Do It All Over Again…

Will Smith turned down the lead in ‘The Matrix’ to make ‘Wild Wild West’ (1999).  hmmm, do you even remember the movie ‘Wild Wild West’?


‘The Girl’?

Marilyn Monroe is listed in the credits for ‘The Seven Year Itch’ (1955) as ‘The Girl’


Some Like It Hot… Some Don’t

Did you know, Some Like It Hot (1959) was originally banned from being shown in Kansas?  The reason being, cross-dressing was ‘too disturbing for Kansans.’

You’ve Got His Back!

His back was to the camera, but it was Harrison Ford who played the school principal in E.T.!


How Well Do You Know Audrey Hepburn?

* She ranks 3rd in the American Film Institute’s list of Greatest American (Female) Screen legends.

* Audrey spoke: English, French, Dutch, Flemish, Spanish & Italian fluently.

* Cary Grant was offered the chance to star opposite Hepburn 4 times.  He turned down Roman Holiday, Sabrina (1954) and Love in the Afternoon (1957) because he thought he was too old for her.  Finally Grant agreed to Charade (1963) when she was in her mid-30’s and he was close to 60.   The average age difference between Audrey and her leading men in her first ‘5’ motion pictures was 22.  Both Humphrey Bogart and Fred Astaire were 30 years older than Audrey.

* At age 58 she began her work with UNICEF as an ambassador and trainer.  Her average yearly salary was ‘1’ dollar per year.


William Randolph Hearst… Cartoon King

Thanks to newspaper magnate, William Randolph Hearst, a short cartoon was as much a part of the moviegoing experience as popcorn.  A huge fan of the comic strips that ran in his papers, in 1915 Hearst’s company was producing newsreels for the movies, when William had the great idea to turn his comic strips into ‘living comic strips’.  Then, he added the short pieces onto the end of his newsreels.  The cartoons didn’t generate any ‘famous’ characters, but audiences came to enjoy and expect an animated film when they went to a movie theater.


Jurassic Park Trivia

Harrison Ford was considered for the lead role of Jurassic Park, but he turned it down.  I think everything turned out just fine for everyone!


Forrest Gump

I just can’t imagine anyone being Forrest Gump, but Tom Hanks.   But, did you know that Bill Murray was considered for the role?


Look who came from Prime Time to Big Time

Did You Know:

Johnny Depp:
Officer Tom Hanson in 21 Jump Street (1987 – 1991)

George Clooney:
Dr. Doug Ross in ER (1994 – 2009)

Sally Field:
‘Gidget’, Frances Elizabeth Lawrence, in Gidget (1965 – 66)

Bruce Willis:
David Addison in Moonlighting (1985 – 1989)

Morgan Freeman:
Many Characters including ‘Easy Reader’, ‘Count Dracula’, ‘Mad Scientist’, and ‘Mel Mounds the Disc Jockey’ in The Electric Company (1971 – 1977)

Leonardo DiCaprio:
Luke Brower, in Growing Pains (1985 – 1992


There’s a First for Disney!

Dumbo is the only Disney animated feature film with a title character… who doesn’t speak.


What was the Name of The M G M Mascot?

‘Leo The Lion’ is the name of the MGM mascot.  He died in 1938, and was buried on the grounds of his trainer’s former home, in Gilette, New Jersey.


Keenan Wynn knew ‘Who’ to Thank for ‘His’ Success!

You may not know Ed Wynn by name, but Disney fans will recognize him as the voice of the Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland and, crazy Uncle Albert in Mary Poppins.  But, Wynn remembered who was responsible for all of his success and made sure to note so on his memorial:
Dear God:


‘The Best Is Yet to Come’

Words that are printed on Frank Sinatra’s tombstone, in Desert Memorial Park.


Nick Nolte took it seriously

Preparing for his role in Down and Out in Beverly Hills (1986),  it is reported that Nick Nolte spent 5 weeks as a homeless person.


Why did Willy Wonka do a Somersault?

Gene Wilder, Mr. Wonka of the Chocolate Factory, when he was first offered the role, said he would do it under ‘1’ condition: He wanted to do a somersault after faking a limp when he was first introduced.  Gene believed the act would show the audience that Willy Wonka was able to do all sorts of surprises… and that anything could happen!  Well, the director agreed to his terms, and the ‘now-famous’ scene was added.


Is there an Academy Award for ‘most hours spent in a makeup chair’?

If there were to be an Award for spending the most hours in a makeup chair, it appears ‘The Winner Is: Rod Steiger’!   Rod sat in the makeup chair for ten hours each time he came to the set, for ‘The Illustrated Man’ (1960)


Star Gene Autry a humble man

Known as The Singing Cowboy, star  Gene Autry said, ‘I’m not a good actor, a good rider, or a particularly good singer, but they seem to like what I do, so I’ll keep on doing it as long as they want.’


Character Actor Elsa Lanchester’s Words of Wisdom…

Movie Star / Character Actor Elsa Lanchester: ‘To complain too bitterly of the load of mischief that notoriety brings with it would mean that you are unsuited to the position you have made for yourself.’


Maybe Disney’s film ‘A Bug’s Life’ didn’t set well with the fleas

When asked about the advantages one has being a celebrity, Walt Disney observed: ‘It doesn’t seem to keep fleas off your dogs.  And if being a celebrity won’t give one an advantage over a couple of fleas, then I guess there can’t be much in being a celebrity.’


John Wayne? Frank Sinatra? Paul Newman? Will the REAL Dirty Harry please stand up!

Clint Eastwood was the ultimate Dirty Harry, the cop who made his own rules, in a series of tough crime movies.  He wasn’t the 1st choice though.  There was John Wayne, then Frank Sinatra, and Paul Newman… but, it was Paul who recommended him for the role that would define his career.


He had No Money, but was Rich in Verse

Great American songwriter, Stephen Foster, writer of ‘Camptown Races’, ‘Oh, Susanna’, and ‘Hard Times Come Again No More’ died at 37, with exactly 38 cents in his pocket.


It’s a Topsy~ Turvy World

Car Mogul Henry Ford could do a ‘handstand’ at the age of ’75’.  Not to be outdone, beauty product mogul Elizabeth Arden could do a ‘headstand’ at the age of ’75’!


Speaking of Young Talent

At the ripe old age of ‘6’, Country Singer Dolly Parton was writing her own songs and played them on the mandolin!


A Star Is Born… starring Elvis Presley?

That’s right!  It would have been Barbra Streisand & Elvis Presley, but Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis’s manager, refused to let Elvis act in a movie where ‘he’ didn’t have top-listing in the credits.   WHAT?


What Do These Folks Have In Common?

Michael Landon, Kevin Kline, John Houseman, Carrie Fisher, Paul Newman, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Kathie Lee Gifford all have Jewish fathers and Protestant or Catholic mothers.


Al Pacino, He’s out of this world!

Al Pacino was asked to play Han Solo in Star Wars.  His answer was ‘NO’.   He also said ‘no’ to Pretty Woman, and Crimson Tide.


Who turned down the role of the ‘older’ woman?

 Anne Bancroft starred with Dustin Hoffman in ‘The Graduate’, but who was offered the role of the ‘older’ woman?  Doris Day, but she refused because the idea offended her.


Shirley Temple (Black)

Shirley Temple was supposed to play Dorothy in ‘The Wizard of Oz’.  But, 20th Century Fox, Shirley’s studio, refused to lend her to MGM, which was a common practice at the time when stars were under contract with a certain studio.  And THAT is how Judy Garland got the part of Dorothy, which she is most remembered.


Speaking of Shirley… she took her first dance class at age three, and by ‘5’, she was a MOVIE STAR.  However, the studio claimed she was ‘4’.


How Wrong Can a Man Be, Anyway

When Jack Nicholson watched the teen movie ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’, he said, ‘that movie made me feel totally irrelevant, 119 years old.  I literally walked out of there thinking: My days are numbered in the Hollywood film industry.’


She Can Really ‘Tickle the Keys’

Holly Hunter is so good on the piano, she played the music in the movie ‘The Piano’ (1993)!


He Didn’t Pull Any Punches!

Boxing  Champ Muhammad Ali knocked out one of his mother’s teeth with a baby punch.  Yes, at 18 months old he was already floating like a butterfly and stinging like a bee.


Censorship isn’t what it used to be

Censorship restrained the Marx Brothers, like everyone else.  In one scene in Duck Soup (1933) Harpo displays the tattoo of an outhouse on his chest, and when Groucho slaps him on his back, the outhouse door swings open and a little hand reaches out and closes it.  The producers decided to replace the outhouse with a doghouse and have a live dog come out barking when Groucho slaps Harpo on the back.  Those were the days.  Can you imagine that being a problem, now?


I had heard he was a nice guy!

Cecil B. De Mille was too busy to look at menus and make decisions on what he wanted for lunch, so he left that up to the commissary head, Pauline Kessinger, to make his selection.  So, she decided that the director liked pea soup and would serve ‘pea soup’ every Monday, along with custard pie and a glass of milk.  Well, one day the kitchen ran out of peas, and when De Mille came in with his entourage, Pauline in a panic went over to his table and said, ‘I’m very sorry, Mr. De Mille, but I’ll have to give you something else today.  I think I’m going to have to fire the chef because we ran out of peas.’  De Mille smiled and put both arms around her.  ‘Honey, may I tell you something?  I hate split-pea soup.’  But, Mr. De Mille, why have you let me serve it to you for twenty years?’  Cecil replied, ‘You seemed to be so pleased with that choice, I didn’t want to hurt your feelings.’


Harrison’s Adventure Begins

When Harrison Ford was asked If heaven exists, what would you want God to say to you at the pearly gates?  ” You’re a lot better looking in person.” … And, what would you like God to say to you when you arrive?  “I’d settle for ‘Now the real adventure begins’.”


Doris Day’s Birthday ~ April 3rd

A Very Special Birthday, Doris Day!  You have put many a smile on our faces.  Your genuine love of life is Contagious!  May Our Lord Bless You Abundantly.


The Cocoanut Grove ~ Hollywood

The Cocoanut Grove at the Ambassador Hotel, 3400 Wilshire Boulevard was ‘The’ Nightclub, THE place to party~ for three decades!  Bing Crosby was discovered there… and Joan Crawford won many a dance contest at The Cocoanut Grove.  The hotel’s famed Cocoanut Grove nightclub hosted well-known entertainers, such as Martin and Lewis, Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Vivian Vance, Perry Como, Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Goodman and many more.

In 1968, the hotel was the site of the tragedy of Bobby Kennedy’s assassination.  The death of Robert F. Kennedy coincided with the beginning of the hotel’s demise, hastened by the decline of the surrounding neighborhood.   Despite a renovation of the Cocoanut Grove in the mid-1970s, with the creative control of Sammy Davis, Jr.  The hotel was closed in 1989 to guests, but remained open for filming and private events.


On September 10, 2005, a final public auction was held for the remaining hotel fittings and work soon began on demolition of The Ambassador Hotel. On January 16, 2006, the last section of The Ambassador Hotel fell, leaving only the annex that housed the hotel entrance, a shopping arcade, the coffee shop, and the Cocoanut Grove, all of which were promised to be preserved in some manner and used in the new school.


2006 – 2010 The Central Los Angeles New Learning Center #1 K-3 and Central Los Angeles New Learning Center #1 4–8/HS, along with the Robert F. Kennedy Inspiration Park, were built on the site.  The north side of the new school has a slightly similar appearance to the original facade of the hotel and north lawns will remain much the same, as seen from Wilshire Boulevard.


The Church of the Stars

The Church of the Good Shepherd, 505 N. Bedford Drive, church of the stars sits just around the corner from Rodeo Drive.  Regular attenders were Rudolph Valentino and Bing Crosby… and, Elizabeth Taylor, at age 17, married her first husband here, as 3,000 fans crowded the street outside.  But, it’s the funerals that really put Good Shepherd on the map, for stars like Valentino, Rita Hayworth, Gary Cooper, Alfred Hitchcock, Danny Thomas, Frank Sinatra, Carmen Miranda, to name a few…


Orson Welles…Faith in Jesus

After the success of his 1941 film Citizen Kane, Welles announced that his next film would be about the life of Jesus, and that he would play the lead role, but this was not to happen.  However, he narrated the Christian documentary ‘The Late, Great Planet Earth’ as well as the 1961 Biblical film ‘King of Kings’, about the life of Christ.

Interviewed by Merv Griffin, Welles was asked about his religious beliefs. Welles replied, “I try to be a Christian, I don’t pray really, because I don’t want to bore God.”


Bonnie & Clyde Trivia

Who was Faye Dunaway’s stand-in?   This lady later became known as Jenna Wade on Dallas, Constance Weldon Carlyle on the soap opera Flamingo Road… and many TV roles in various sitcoms and dramas, and in 1985 was the year in which Jon Lovitz on Saturday Night Live created the ‘Tommy Flanagan, The Pathological Liar’ character who claimed outlandish achievements for himself, culminating in the grand illusion that his wife was Morgan Fairchild, Fay Dunaway’s Stand-in.


America’s Sweetheart, Mary Pickford

The first movie star to purchase an ad on the front cover of ‘Variety’ was America’s Sweetheart, Mary Pickford.


The most works turned into movies?

Edgar Allan Poe has 114 works turned into movies.  The most of any American writer.


What happened to all the Drive-In Movie Theaters?

Inventor Richard Hollingshead opened the first American drive-in movie theater June 6, 1933, in Camden New Jersey.  Four hundred cars could fit  on the 10-acre lot.  By the mid 1950’s there were more than 4,000 drive-in in the U.S.  …Sadly, there are only about 400 left.


All in the Family…

Movie director, Garry Marshall talks about his working relationship with sister, movie director Penny Marshall: ‘Penny sat through a 4 hour version of Beaches… and I sat through her 4 1/2 first cut Awakenings.  Only your family will watch first cuts like that.’


An unlikely pairing

In 1959 Joan Crawford was elected to the board of directors at … wait for it…PepsiCo.



So Tom Cruise could look like a teenager when filming ‘Risky Business’, he was told to lose weight by working out and then gorge himself on junk food to get that baby-faced look. Tom Cruise was 22…


in Live and Let Die…

at 46, Roger Moore became the oldest actor to play James Bond


A bit of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel history

It’s said that Shirley Temple got her first tap-dancing lesson from ‘Bojangles’ Bill Robinson on the hotel’s tile staircase.  David Niven lived in the servants’ quarters when he first came to Hollywood, Marilyn Monroe posed on the diving board for an ad for suntan lotion, Mary Martin performed at the hotel’s nightclub for $35 a week…  and, The hotel’s blossom Room was the site of the very first Academy Awards banquet on May 16, 1929!


Amazing Stats!

High Noon (1952) was shot in 32 days after only 10 days of rehearsal.


Is there ANYTHING he can’t do?

Clint Eastwood is also a Jazz musician and self-taught piano player


A test run for Boris Karloff’s Frankenstein monster

After Karloff was fully made up, green and all, he wasn’t sure whether the makeup was truly scary… would it frighten people, or just make ’em laugh?  Years later Boris Karloff recalled ‘I was thinking this while practicing my walk, as I rounded a bend in the corridor and came face-to-face with this prop man.  He was the first man to see the monster—I watched to study his reaction.  It was quick to come.  He turned white–gurgled and lunged out of sight down the corridor.  Never saw him again.  Poor chap, I would have liked to thank him–he was the audience that first made me feel like the monster.’


Hard to believe, but true!

Clint Eastwood’s salary for the 1964 spaghetti Western ‘A Fistful of Dollars’: $15,000.


Stars who once worked as extras:

Marilyn Monroe, Sophia Loren, and Clark Gable!


She’s a ‘Favorite’ child actress, so it’s hard to believe…

Shirley Temple failed a screen test for the ‘Our Gang’ movie comedies.


Because of Spencer Tracy’s death

Because Spencer Tracy died 17 days after filming ‘Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner’ …Katharine Hepburn could not bring herself to watch the completed film.


Look, UP in the Sky… It’s a Hollywood Movie Premier!

Searchlights were first used at a Hollywood movie premier in 1922.  Robin Hood, with Douglas Fairbanks starring, opened at  Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre, that first night. However, in 1942 Hollywood premieres were no longer allowed to use the searchlights.  During World War II, West Coast citizens had to dim their lights at night to minimize opportunities for surveillance, and to help prevent enemy attacks.  After the war, the lights were in use, again.


Just a Fun Fact

Jack Nicholson began his Hollywood career as a messenger boy for MGM.  After finishing high school in the mid-1950s, he worked in the studio’s cartoon department and mailroom.  Sounds like fun to me!


© 2018 by  Hearts for Hollywood. 

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