Hollywood’s prince: RIP Tony Curtis

Tony Curtis 1925-2010

I remember the first time I saw him as a child he was dressed as a woman.

When I was seven-years-old, I remember thinking he was cute as his tooth twinkled in “The Great Race” (1964).

Though Tony Curtis might not be one of my favorite actors, he is one actor that I remember watching in my early days of discovering classic film as a child. I even remember watching him on the “The Flintstones” as Stoney Curtis-that still gives me a good giggle thinking about it.

My favorite films of his are “Houdini” (1953), “Operation Petticoat” (1959), “Some Like It Hot” (1959) and “Sex and the Single Girl” (1964). All but one of those is a comedy. I know I’ve heard Tony Curtis say in the “Turner Classic Movies Private Screenings” with Robert Osborne that he was more interested in being a serious actor (like in “The Sweet Smell of Success”), but I really think he did his best work as a comedian.

Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis in “Houdini” (1953)

Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis had a tumultuous marriage that ended in divorce and they didn’t talk after that. His daughter, Jamie Lee Curtis, didn’t have a good relationship with him because she lived with Janet after the divorce and “turned her against him,” according to Curtis in the “Private Screening” interview.

However, though I know Leigh and Curtis ended in divorce, they are one of my favorite Hollywood couples- along with Barbara Stanywck and Robert Taylor, Jennifer Jones and Robert Walker, Dick Powell and June Allyson, etc.  I guess I liked them as a couple because they were both so attractive and cute, and always looked cute and happy in their movies.

I was rather shocked when my mom texted me this morning saying Tony Curtis died. He was one of the last few old Hollywood actors who was active in film festivals and old Hollywood retrospectives. Most recently he was at the Turner Classic Movie Film Festival in Los Angeles in April.

Rest in peace, Mr. Curtis. I will always remember you being hit with pies in “The Great Race” or putting on a great Cary Grant impression in “Some Like it Hot.”  Thank you for helping to keep film history alive.

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This week on “Radio Waves Over Hollywood”…

Greer Garson in the 1940s

For the 5th time, “Radio  Waves Over Hollywood” will be streaming live Thursday night from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Topics for Sept. 30:
-Movie fan pet peeves
-Mistreatment of actors in silent films
-Similar movies that aren’t remakes
-Books made into movies

“Radio Waves” was going to have a guest this week to debate new movies vs. old movies, but it had to be scheduled. Sorry for the inconvenience, folks.

So be sure to listen at 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.  live stream on www.winrfm.com (go to Listen Live) or  the old WINR website.

call in at 803-323-2122, whether you know me or not, to contribute to the discussion.  I would love to hear from you!

Check out the Comet Over Hollywood Facebook page and Radio Waves Over Hollywood Facebook page.

Rose let go: RIP Gloria Stuart

Gloria Stuart in 1935

Many people know Gloria Stuart as the adorable old lady who plays Rose as an old woman in the 1997 waste of time “Titanic.”

However, when I think of Gloria Stuart, I think of her in my favorite Shirley Temple movie, “Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm” (1938). Stuart played the country girl that befriends Shirley Temple and helps get her to a radio gig at the end of the movie. She also plays the love interest to attractive Randolph Scott.

Gloria Stuart was one of the many beautiful Warner Brothers glamour girls of the 1930s, however she did not have as a big of a career as other actresses such as Joan Blondell, Gail Patrick or Ginger Rogers.

She did manage to appear and be serenaded by  Dick Powell in “Gold Diggers of 1935” (1935), one of the few “Gold Diggers” movies that didn’t star Joan Blondell.

I have to be honest, “Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farms,” “Poor Little Rich Girl“(1936) and “Gold Diggers of 1935″ are the only Stuart films I have seen. Most of her films were low budget 1930s and 1940s films. She had 69 film credits to her name, which sounds like a lot by todays standards, but wasn’t much for a 1930s and 1940s actress. Actresses like Kay Francis and Bette Davis made up to 100 films, filming two to four in just one year.

But though Stuart’s film career might not be as impressive as some, she accomplished one thing that many stars do not: She was married to her filmographer husband Arthur Sheekman from 1934 until his death in 1978, a long marriage by Hollywood standards that few are able to boast.

Stuart was also nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Role in “Titanic.” I think it is really a shame that she didn’t win, seeing that the film won every other Oscar, tying for most winnings with “Ben-Hur” (which in my opinion, how can you compare a stupid romance movie with the religious and moving Ben-Hur. I like the 1950s version of Titanic MUCH better).

Anyhow, let us not remember Miss Stuart for tossing a blue sapphire necklace into the ocean at the end of a movie, but for her lovely 1930s glamour as Dick Powell serenades her with “The Words are in My Heart.”

Gloria Stuart knitting

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Just like the prince and the pauper…

Do you ever watch a movie and think, “Man, those actresses could be sisters.” or  “It’s hard to tell those two men apart because they look so similar.”   These actors could maybe even switch places just like Billy and Bobby Mauch did in “The Prince and the Pauper” (1937).

Younger movie viewers of today may say that all old actors all look the same. This isn’t true of course, but there are some that certainly look very similar. This is a result of being groomed by movie studios to have glamour and charm.

Actors and actresses also are given names that sound similar and can cause confusion.

Here is a list of actors who look similar and have confusingly similar names.

Look-a-likes:

Joan Leslie, Joyce Reynolds, Teresa Wright

Joan Leslie, Joyce Reynolds, Teresa Wright
-Joyce Reynolds emerged in the 1940s in the movie “Janie” with a clean Joan Leslie appearance and a squeaky Teresa Wright voice.  Warner Brothers must have thought that Joan and Joyce looked similar as well, since Joan Leslie played Janie in the sequel to “Janie”: “Janie Gets Married.”

Vera Miles, Vera-Ellen, Mitzi Gaynor

Vera-Ellen, Vera Miles, Mitzi Gaynor
- I think the thing that is funniest is that two of the women have the same first name.  I can tell the difference between them, but you have to admit they all look very similar. All three women are very thin, blonde and rather tan. Vera Miles had one of her first acting roles on the TV show “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” and looked very similar to Vera-Ellen because she was thinner than I had ever seen her.   However, all three women had different careers.
Vera Miles stared mostly in dramatic roles, and occasionally in bit parts on TV (like a romantic interest for Fred MacMurray on “My Three Sons“) .  After Grace Kelly, she was Alfred Hitchcock’s favorite actress, according to IMDB. Unfortunately, she had to turn down roles because she was pregnant. Miles is still living.
Vera-Ellen was a ballet dancer and was in several musicals. In earlier movies like “On the Town,” Vera was thin, but looked healthy. In later movies, like “White Christmas,” she was almost dangerously thin, because she was anorexic. She had the smallest waist in Hollywood in the 1940s and 1950s and suffered from early aging because of anorexia ,according to IMDB, so you will notice that she wears turtle necks to cover it.  After she retired she had severe arthritis and was practically a recluse, dying in 1981.
Mitzi Gaynor is best known for her role in movie musicals like “South Pacific.” Though she didn’t have a tremendous career, she was very successful with her comedic, musical variety TV specials in the 1960s and 1970s. Currently, Mitzi is performing a one woman show. 0

Anne Shirley and Olivia de Havilland

Anne Shirley and Olivia de Havilland
-Anne Shirley  never had the same star power or acting skills as Olivia de Havilland, but you can’t deny their similar appearance. Particularly the way Anne Shirley looks in “The Devil & Daniel Webster.” The two starred together in the irritating comedy “Government Girl” (a movie that de Havilland hated and had to make because of contractual agreements. She purposefully acted ridiculous in the movie).

 
 
 

John Carroll and James Craig

John Carroll and James Craig
– Both men played small romantic roles in the 1940s when most of the lead actors like Clark Gable and Robert Taylor were fighting in World War II. Carroll starred with Esther Williams in “Fiesta ” (1947) and “Flying Tigers” (1942) with John Wayne. Craig was in several “feel good” movies in the 1940s like “Our Vines Have Tender Grapes” (1945) with Margaret O’Brien and “The Human Comedy” (1943) with Fay Bainter.

Joan Blondell and Ann Sothern

Joan Blondell and Ann Sothern
-In the 1930s, Joan Blondell had a curvy, sassy look of her own; pretty but also comedic. In the 1940s, Blondell was a bit more curvy and switched from the tight 1930s hair styles to long and wavy. Her 1940s look was similar to Ann Sothern, who also was a bit curvy. Both actresses can be found in light comedic roles.

Names that confuse:

-Reginald Gardner, Reginald Owen, Reginald Denny (I’m still not sure which is which sometimes)

-Eleanor Parker and Eleanor Powell

-Margaret Sullivan and Maureen O’Sullivan

-Connie Stevens and Stella Stevens

What actors do you confuse? What names can you not remember?  Let me know!

Check out the Comet Over Hollywood Facebook page and Radio Waves Over Hollywood Facebook page for “Comet’s” radio show.

Guest star on “Radio Waves” Sept. 23 show

Cecil B. DeMille as the host of Lux Theater

For the 4th time, “Comet Over Hollywood” will be streaming live Thursday night from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Topics for Sept. 23:
-Pin-up actresses (with special mystery guest)
-Weddings in movies
-Revealing of my Halloween costume
-And more…

So be sure to listen at 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.  live stream on www.winrfm.com (go to Listen Live) or  the old WINR website.

call in at 803-323-2122, whether you know me or not, to contribute to the discussion.  I would love to hear from you!

P.S.) A real, non-radio related blog post is in the works so don’t be discouraged!

Check out the Comet Over Hollywood Facebook page and Radio Waves Over Hollywood Facebook page.

Thursdays at 6- “Comet” radio show

Host of Lux Radio Theater, Cecil B. Demille with Fred MacMurray, Bette Davis and Mae Robson

For the 3rd time, “Comet Over Hollywood” will be streaming live Thursday night from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Topics for Sept. 16:
-Movies that make me cry
-Silent movies talk
-How I became a crazy movie fan
-And more…

So be sure to listen at 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.  live stream on www.winrfm.com (go to Listen Live) or  the old WINR website.

call in at 803-323-2122, whether you know me or not, to contribute to the discussion.  I would love to hear from you!

P.S.) A real, non-radio related blog post is in the works so don’t be discouraged!

Check out the Comet Over Hollywood Facebook page for the latest updates.

Broadcasting “Comet Over Hollywood” live

Joel McCrea and Claudette Colbert performing "Hand Across the Table" in 1937 on Lux Radio Theater.

Once again, “Comet Over Hollywood” will be streaming live Thursday night from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Every week I will post reminding you to listen and updating you on the topics that will be discussed.

I am a Mass Communication-Journalism student at Winthrop University in South Carolina and have my own show on Winthrop’s radio station, WINR.  The radio show is called “Radio Waves Over Hollywood” and is in connection with this blog. Each week I will talk about classic film related topics, go into more depth with some of my blog topics and play music from old movies.

A few topics for September 9:
-Hollywood heart-throbs (Men. Pin-up girls coming soon)
-Classic film in today’s pop culture
-Silent movies talk
-A couple new weekly segments
And more…

So be sure to listen at 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.  live stream on www.winrfm.com (go to Listen Live) or  the old WINR website.

Also feel free to call in at 803-323-2122, whether you know me or not, to contribute to the discussion.  I would love to hear from you!

Check out the Comet Over Hollywood Facebook page for the latest updates.

On the air with ‘Comet Over Hollywood’

Joan Crawford on Lux Radio Theater

‘Comet Over Hollywood’ is going to be streaming live on Thursdays from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Some of you may know that I am a Mass Communication-Journalism student at Winthrop University in South Carolina. All students at Winthrop have the opportunity to apply to have a show with Winthop’s radio station, WINR.  I wanted a radio show to help broaden my journalism skills and get an opportunity to talk more about my favorite topic, classic films.

Starting this week until the end of the semester in December, I have a radio show called “Radio Waves Over Hollywood” which will be linked to my blog. I will discuss old movies along with playing songs from old films and musicals, particularly from my six disc “That’s Entertainment” boxset.

I also hope to bring in friends and Winthrop students who are fellow classic film enthusiasts that could discuss films with me. You already can look foward to a debate I have lined up: Buster Keaton or Charlie Chaplin.

What’s great about the radio show is that you can listen online and get a more personal feel about my movie interests rather than just reading my rants. You can leave comments on the blog that I can answer on air or you can even call and talk to me personally on the air at 803-323-2122!

I plan to post every Wednesday or Thursday and tell you a few of the planned topics for the evening.

A few topics for September 2:
-College in the movies
-Discussion of Latin culture in films
-Remakes vs. Original

I also will be playing music and feel free to call in (803-323-2122) and give your opinion about anything I say.

So tune in on Thursdays from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.  live stream on www.winrfm.com (go to Listen Live.  If it doesn’t work, you may need to download something to trouble shoot or you can go to the old WINR website) or Channel 99 if you live on campus.

Check out the Comet Over Hollywood Facebook page for the latest updates.

Actress Beauty Tips #4: Nivea moisturizing

This is the fourth installment of our monthly classic actress beauty tips that I have read about AND tested.

Lana Turner in “The Postman Always Rings Twice” (1946)

Lana Turner was one of the most beautiful women in films, and she also had flawless skin. For being rich and glamorous, Lana had surprisingly modest beauty regiments.

Along with using inexpensive Boraxo powdered soap as an exfoliant, Lana used Nivea Creme lotion to moisturize. According to her daughter Cheryl Crane’s book “LANA: The Memories, the Myths, the Movies,” Lana used the creme right after she got out of the shower to keep her skin soft, flawless and smooth. Marilyn Monroe also used Nivea Creme.

In some posts I give a “how to” portion but there is really no rhyme or reason on how to use Nivea. From what Crane says in the book, Lana would apply the creme all over her body right after getting out of the shower.

I started using Nivea in December after reading Lana used it and think that it is better than any other moisturizer or lotion that I have ever used. I have an issue with very dry ankles, elbows and knees and no other lotion has made them as smooth as Nivea does.

I will say, Nivea Creme is rather thick and sticky. It takes a little longer than a regular lotion to rub in and also takes longer to wash off of your hands. However, it will last all day once you put it on. I even feel like it helps reduce leg shaving.

I use the traditional Nivea Creme along with a Nivea chapstick and Nivea Soft, which is the same as Nivea Creme, just lighter and less thick and sticky.

To review: Ask anyone I know, I call Nivea the miracle lotion. I am a huge fan. I figured if Lana used it, it had to be good and I was right.

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