Watching 1939: Ice Follies of 1939 (1939)

In 2011, I announced I was trying to see every film released in 1939. This new series chronicles films released in 1939 as I watch them. As we start out this blog feature, this section may become more concrete as I search for a common thread that runs throughout each film of the year. Right now, that’s difficult. 

1939 film: Ice Follies of 1939

Release date: March 10, 1939

Cast:  Joan Crawford, James Stewart, Lew Ayres, Lewis Stone, Marie Blake, The International Ice Follies, Bess Ehrhardt, Roy Shipstad, Eddie Shipstad, Oscar Johnson, La Verne Busher

Studio:  Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Director:  Reinhold Schünzel

Cast: Joan Crawford, Lew Ayres, James Stewart, Lewis Stone, Marie Blake, Darla Hood (uncredited), Lionel Stander, Carl ‘Alfalfa’ Switzer, Bess Ehrhardt, The International Ice Follies

Larry Hall (Stewart) and Eddie Burgess (Ayres) are a successful ice skating act until Larry and Mary Mckay (Crawford) fall in love and she’s included in the act as a singer. The trio fails and they lose their job. Larry and Mary gets a job as an actress in Hollywood to help support them. She doesn’t realize until later that her contract says that she isn’t allowed to be married without the studio’s consent. Larry can’t handle both their fame and their secret marriage. He leaves saying he will return when he makes a success with ice capades show.

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Book Review: “My Way of Life” by Joan Crawford

A disclaimer before I begin my review of “My Way of Life” by Joan Crawford: this is a book review. I’m not here to discuss Christina Crawford and whether or not her “Mommie Dearest” accusations are true. I’m also not discussing the “Feud” TV show. Furthermore, I do like Joan Crawford and have watched almost all of her films, minus a handful of her silents (I would say my favorites are A Woman’s Face, Possessed (1947), Mildred Pierce and Love on the Run). Now that that’s out of the way, I’ll continue.

Actress Joan Crawford by photographed George Hurrell, 1935. The blouse was designed by Adrian.

Starting in Hollywood in 1925, Joan Crawford endured a career that spanned 47 years. When her career began at age 19, she was every bit the flapper—the personification of youth. Even author F. Scott Fitzgerald said, “Joan Crawford is doubtless the best example of the flapper, the girl you see in smart night clubs.”

As her career continued into the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s and on, Joan Crawford assumed the sophisticated lady persona that was popular of the time. Well-dressed, well-mannered and well-bred, this was an image that Crawford maintained for the rest of her life. And this is what “My Way of Life” focuses on.

My Way of Life” is really a Hollywood self-help book. The book begins with Joan telling her readers what she is doing today, in 1971 when the book was published. Joan lives alone in an apartment in Manhattan, always busy at her desk. She tells us a bit about her background, the school she dropped out of (Stephen College in Missouri), her early days in Hollywood, and a bit about each of her husbands (Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.; Franchot Tone; Phillip Terry and Alfred Steele).

Joan dictated the book on a tape machine, which was then put together by Audrey Davenport, who Joan thanks at the start of the book.

“It’s my philosophies rather than an actual biography. My life story has been told over and over. My thoughts about life are newer,” Joan Crawford said in a July 6, 1971, newspaper article.

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Classic Christmas Addiction

Part of why I love Christmas is getting to watch my favorite classic holiday films such as “Christmas in Connecticut”, “White Christmas” and “Remember the Night.”

But I also love looking at Christmas related photos with classic actors and actresses.

Every day since December 1, I’ve been posting a Christmas related photo on Comet Over Hollywood’s Facebook Page, and searching for the day’s photo can be an addicting task.

Even long after I find the photo of the day, I keep browsing-marveling at the ridiculousness of vintage Christmas photos.

I’ve found these classic photos can be divided into categories. Here are some examples:

Glamour: These photos show actors looking beautiful and wealthy at their homes during Christmas.


Gina Lollabrigida looking glamorous in her Christmas tree

Copy of Carole Lombard

Carole Lombard

glam paulette goddard

Paulette Goddard

glam jean harlow1

Jean Harlow

glam Anite Page

Anita Page in 1932

glam christmas jennifer jones

Jennifer Jones

Adorable and cute: These involve child actors or actresses looking sweet and angelic. 

cute jackie cooper

Jackie Cooper

Bacall And Bogart

The Bogart: Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall and their son Stephen.

cute leslie

Joan Leslie

cute keatons

Buster Keaton and Natalie Talmadge with Junior and Bob

cute our gang

The children of Our Gang

cuteNatalie Wood

Little Natalie Wood

cute Shirley Temple

Shirley Temple in 1935

cute Priscilla Lane

Priscilla Lane

rita hayworth

Rita Hayworth

Ridiculous or funny: Photos that try way to hard to make a photo Christmasy or make it a sexy Christmas photo.

Dorothy Jordan and Gwenn Lee, I don't even understand what's happening.

Dorothy Jordan and Gwenn Lee, I don’t even understand what’s happening.

Joan Crawford

Joan Crawford flirting with Santa in 1932

Janet Leigh

Janet Leigh with a Christmas tree hat

Esther Williams

Esther Williams in unreasonable winter clothing

funny Maureen Osullivan

Maureen O’Sullivan…..dressed as a choir boy.

funny Margaret Obrien

Margaret O’Brien…wrapped as a package?

funny Clifton Webb

Clifton Webb as the most unlikely Santa Claus

Visit Comet for more holiday fun this month!

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“I felt so low I could walk under a dachshund on stilts”

Dachshunds are probably the cutest dog to ever walk the planet. Maybe I’m a little biased, but their foot long torsos, stubby little legs, floppy ears and clown-like mischievousness is hard to resist. No wonder so many actors and actresses had these adorable hot dogs.

I generally don’t do long strings of photo posts, but I have noticed that lots of these cute German dogs pop up in movies and in celebrity homes. I also am really homesick for my best four-legged friend, Molly. Here is a list of stars who had these cute dogs:

*The quote above is from the Clara Bow silent film “It” (1927)

Fatty Arbuckle

Joan Blondell

French Charles Boyer and English Ronald Colman cuddle the little German

Claudette Colbert

Joan Crawford and her famous Baby and Boopshem

Marion Davies and her dachsie

Brian Donlevy

Clark Gable

Jean Harlow and her pup

Walter Huston and his dog spending quality time

Alan Ladd with his two children

Diana Lewis (aka Mrs. William Powell) and her doggie

Carole Lombard (Clark Gable and Carole Lombard had dachshunds together)

Julie London

Adolphe Menjou and his puppy

William Powell

Romy Schneider

Dean Stockwell

Anna May Wong

Even The Duke had a dachshund

Author of the blog and her dachshund Molly, Christmas 2009


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Happy New Years from a dancing daughter

It’s true, I enjoy dancing a good bit.

But I was actually referencing Joan Crawford in “Our Dancing Daughters” (1928) who is pictured before being the personification of youth of the 1920s.  “Dancing Daughters” was the first of a trio of movies that followed each other but were completely unrelated.  It was followed by “Our Modern Maidens” (1929) and “Our Blushing Brides” (1930).   All three starred 1920s stars Anita Page and Joan Crawford; and Dorothy Sebastian was in two of the three films.

It’s funny for people today to think of Joan Crawford as “the personification of youth” like she was known in the 1920s.  Now, you say Joan Crawford and people think “Mommie Dearest” (if you actually believe that) and the film “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?” It’s funny to look at the transitions she went through from her career in silent films in the 1920s to silly horror movies in the 1960s.

Much like Crawford’s transition, we are making a transition from 2010 to 2011 this New Year’s Eve. I will also be making a huge transition: graduating from college in May and hopefully finding a job at a newspaper. Happy New Years everyone! Hopefully this year will be MUCH better than the last.

Joan Crawford dancing on a table in “Our Dancing Daughters” (1928)

Classic film related new years resolutions:

1.  Keep working hard to finish my actor lists

2. Make my huge, long “All Movies I’ve Ever Seen” list

3. Finish my fan mail before more people die

4. Blog more regularly 

5. Keep plotting on how to meet Robert Osborne

*This month’s beauty tip will be a couple of days late. I haven’t had a chance to try it out due to holiday festivities.

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“Don’t make me go all Bette Davis on you”: Actress moods

We all have bad days sometimes. (Bette Davis in “The Letter”)

We all go through a series of moods or feelings. Each mood I have, I relate it to an actress. For example, I may think, “I am in a very Greta Garbo mood right now.”  Below you will see my different mood names and their descriptions. I tried to post a photo of the actress that would correspond with the mood.

Garbo in “As You Desire Me” (1932)

Greta Garbo mood:  Sometimes I get down,  sad and just want to be alone. This is what I call my “Greta Garbo mood.”  Garbo’s character Grusinskaya in “Grand Hotel” (1932) says, “I want to be left alone. I think I have never felt so tired in my life.”  I sometimes get in this same mood the reclusive ballerina  in the movie does .  I want to just run away lock myself in my room and be alone.  Garbo has this same attitude in her personal life. Not many people were able to get close to the very private Garbo, and those who did had to tread lightly.

Doris Day


Doris Day mood:  Don’t think that I am always angry or down in the dumps. Sometimes I feel very sunny and happy, so much that I sing while I clean my room or shower. This is what I call my sunny, girl next door “Doris Day mood.” Sometimes if I am a particularly good mood, I wish I had a ukulele and could skip around campus like Doris Day does in “Please Don’t Eat the Daisies.” Doris Day almost personified happiness and joy just with her stage name,  roles and bright, cheery songs.  Though her personal life may not have been so happy, her films put a smile on movie-goers faces.

Bette Davis/Joan Crawford mood: We can all get in vindictive, revenge seeking moods. This is what I call the “Bette Davis or Joan Crawford mood.”  Both of these ladies have bad off-screen reputations (which I think is poppy cock, but I’ll discuss that in another post). I’m referring to the on- screen personas of Crawford and Davis. Who can forget Bette Davis walking down the stairs and shooting her lover at the beginning of “The Letter“?  Remember when Joan Crawford as Crystal Allen gets the last juicy word in “The Women“?  When I’m angry about something, I just imagine what Bette or Joan would do to someone and take on their same attitude.

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Star Collector


Anita Page in the 1920’s. At one point she had more fan mail than Greta Garbo.

Not only am I old-fashioned in my movie tastes, but I am also pretty passe as a movie fan.

I write fan mail.

You may be thinking, “Who does that anymore?” A surprising amount do continue to write to stars like Debbie Reynolds, Tony Curtis and Elizabeth Taylor. No one writes the stars of today, though, like Angelina Jolie, Orlando Bloom or Jennifer Aniston. Why is this? Because they won’t answer…that is if you can even find an address to write to.

I get my fan mail addresses from an autograph database called On the website you can search virtually any movie star, singer or sports player. Each star has their own profile page. On this page there is a list of addresses that you can contact them.

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Let’s talk about a little pet peeve of mine…

Andy Hardy (Mickey Rooney) surrounded by Polly Benedict (Ann Rutherford), Betsy Booth (Judy Garland) and Cynthia Potter (Lana Turner).

How I define a classic movie fan and my pet peeve of the old movie ‘posers’ . I know I am a little fanatical and old movies are my life, but if you are going to claim to like old movies you have to know your stuff.

Another thing that drives me crazy is what consumers and manufacturers consider when it comes to classic movie merchandise (not including books, there is an abundance of wonderful film books). Everywhere you go, you see mugs, purses, T-shirts, magnets, etc with four people on them 1.) Marilyn Monroe 2.) Audrey Hepburn 3.) James Dean 4.) John Wayne. Then I go to Los Angeles with high hopes of Doris Day and Esther Williams merchandise, but I was quickly dismayed. In Hollywood, the movie mecca of the world, they still carried the same crap that they sell in Greenville, South Carolina. (Don’t get me wrong, I like Dean, Wayne and Hepburn but I want some variety.)

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