Today is the birthday of Kirk Douglas who turns 103 years old. We wish him many congratulations.
As president of Paisano Productions and executive producer of the TV series PERRY MASON from 1957 to 1966, GAIL PATRICK (1911-1980) was one of the first female TV producers, and the only female executive producer during the Perry Mason years.
Gail’s husband ,Thomas Cornwell Jackson, was literary agent for author Erle Stanley Gardner . Gail shared Gardner’s love of the law (she had done two years of law school at the University of Alabama).
Gail, her husband and the Perry Mason author formed Paisano Productions and Gail developed Perry Mason and sold it to CBS. Gail’s mansion on La Brea Terrace was sometimes a shooting location for the show.
Gail with her family. She is described as ‘the former movie star.’
Gail, with Erle Stanley Gardner and columnist Norma Lee Browning.
Gail on the set of Perry Mason, with Raymond Burr and Barbara Hale.
Interesting 1950s article about women in business, with the quote, “A woman who undertakes two jobs excels at neither.” (compromising her ‘traditional role’).
Gail Patrick made 60 films between 1932 and 1948. When she stopped acting, she said, “I never formally retired. I just quit and it was a good time as TV started taking over.”
Of her career, Gail said, “My Man Godfrey”, that’s the movie that typed me.”
And that is so true. In ‘A’ features, Gail was generally aloof, unsympathetic, snooty, devious. While in her ‘B’ films, Gail often played the heroine and even on one occasion, the title role in a comedy – UP IN MABEL’S ROOM (1944) – which I’d love to see for the title alone.
Was it partly because she was tall and statuesque and spoke with an upper class accent? Typecasting seemed inevitable for some actors.
Gail was Carole Lombard’s snooty sister in MY MAN GODFREY. She was the only unlikeable girl in STAGE DOOR. And of course she didn’t stand a chance as the second wife in MY FAVORITE WIFE.
(She reportedly helped director Leo McCarey write the judge’s lines in the second courtroom scene in “My Favorite Wife.”)
I’ve caught up with three of Gail’s ‘B’ movies on You Tube, and what a difference it is to see her in roles that were more than one dimensional.
In The Lone Wolf Returns (1935), she’s the romantic lead opposite Melvyn Douglas.
Trading barbs with Ginger Rogers in STAGE DOOR.
Gail is the wife of district attorney Warren William in WIVES UNDER SUSPICION. A young Constance Moore plays Gail’s cousin and William Lundigan is a family friend.
It’s Warren William’s film but Gail is fine in her scenes as the neglected wife.
I haven’t been able to see HER HUSBAND LIES. IMDB has only one review and indicates Gail plays a cabaret singer who marries a racketeer played by Ricardo Cortez.
Gail has a good part in DISBARRED, as a young lawyer hoodwinked by crooked lawyer, Otto Kruger who represents gangsters. A young Robert Preston works for the D.A’ s office.
Another Paramount title , MURDER WITH PICTURES (1936) is also on You Tube . Gail starts off as a mystery woman who comes into the life of breezy newspaper cameraman,Lew Ayres who is covering a murder trial.
I love how this little 69 minute thriller gets a full review in Variety – ……”it has writing flaws, but first rate performances. It provides Lew Ayres with a swell chance to shine……easily his best in months. It will prove entertaining for audiences who like sleuth bafflers!”
Oh, and Joyce Compton ( who plays Ayres’ girlfriend) gets a mention- “Joyce Compton is entirely sufficient!”
Despite appearing in major films and many ‘B’ features, Gail never got that contract with a studio who would work on making her a star. Typecasting won out.
Likeness? Both tall and dark. Gail Patrick and Lynn Bari.
A Universal City tribute to Carl Laemmle , the head of Universal Studios in 1932.
Many familiar faces, presumably all under contract.
Boris Karloff, Genevieve Tobin, John Boles, Tala Birall, James Whale, James Flavin, Bela Lugosi, ? Raymond Massey.
Leo Carillo………. I can only recognise Tom Mix, Lew Ayres,,Noah Beery Jr, Lola Lane at far right.
A very young Mickey Rooney, and Carl Laemmle in the middle.
Any other names? Maybe some local politicians?
Cary Grant portrays Cole Porter in NIGHT AND DAY.
Nice shot of Randolph Scott and Mariette Hartley from RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY.
Randy Stuart and Grant Williams on the set of THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN.
Publicity shot for THE SET UP, with Robert Ryan and Audrey Totter.
Not sure who the cake is for. Van Heflin, Brandon De Wilde, Alan Ladd.
Donald Meek on the dance floor in YOU CANT TAKE IT WITH YOU. Also seen are James Stewart, Jean Arthur, Lionel Barrymore, Edward Arnold,Spring Byington, Ann Miller.
Must be a good story from Turhan Bey. Lana Turner is well amused!
George Bernard Shaw, Marion Davies, Louis B Mayer and Clark Gable at MGM in 1933.
No one told them to smile.
The wedding of Joan Blondell and Dick Powell in 1936.
How could I pass by a bookshop that had two 1930s film annuals in the window! Of course I couldn’t.
YOUNG’S INTERESTING BOOKS launched ten years ago in the south side of Glasgow . It buys and sells second hand and antiquarian books. The shop is small and quirky.
Imagine my surprise when I saw a 1939 Spanish poster for DUST BE MY DESTINY on the wall.
When they go on holiday, this is the kind of fun thing they do in their window display!
Barry Young is also head of the Sherlock Holmes Society In Scotland. In 2016, the society screened a very rare 1916 film, SHERLOCK HOLMES.
One of the best Noir duos. Who are they and what’s their mission?!
If you haven’t seen Steve Hayes’ movie reviews on You Tube, you are missing a real treat. Steve has a warm, bubbly personality with an encyclopaedic knowledge of vintage Hollywood. And an enthusiasm for his subject which is infectious.
With a background in acting and standup comedy, and a gift of mimicry, he backs up each review with anecdotes about the stars, directors and the shooting of each film.
His reviews run up to 10 minutes and he doesn’t miss a beat as he talks about the plot, the cast, the background to the film , whilst great film clips are shown. Steve himself came up with the title, TIRED OLD QUEEN AT THE MOVIES. (TOQ for short.)
A few examples:
PRIDE AND PREJUDICE: “Edna May Oliver has a face like the back of beyond!”
DOUBLE INDEMNITY: “The ugliest wig in the history of movies – we hired Barbara Stanwyck for this film – we got Prince Valiant!”
VERTIGO (Steve’s favourite film):
”Seeing it on the big screen drove me crazy. It’s unbelievably beautiful, with that rich Bernard Hermann score swirling around you. Fabulous!”
On Oscar snubs:
”Thelma Ritter,’Rear Window’. Kim Novak,’Vertigo’.
Patricia Collinge, ‘Shadow of a Doubt’.
Carole Lombard, ‘Nothing Sacred’ . Fredric March, ‘Executive Suite’. “
(Cant disagree with that list.)
Steve moved to New York in 1976 and remembers walking around his neighbourhood and seeing the Thalia Theatre with a double bill of LAURA and ALL ABOUT EVE – “I stayed all day! It never occurred to me there were actual theatres that did nothing but screen the classics.
When I first came to New York in the 1970s, so many of the classic movie stars I’d idolized lived here and you could spot them around town. The first star I ever saw was Ingrid Bergman walking ahead of me on Madison Avenue. I recognised her from the back. I ran up, gushed a bit and she was very gracious.”
As Steve explained to me, “I usually watch whatever movie I’m talking about the week before unless I’ve seen them so often, it doesnt matter.
The challenge for me is to do them off the top of my head from the vast storage unit in my poor brain of what my mother used to refer to as ‘useless Hollywood knowledge!’
I work with a team of 5 incredible colleagues. We shoot two takes for each movie. In case I may have missed something – which I quite often do – like missing something integral to the film. (All done in Steve’s New York apartment which he refers to as ‘Thornfield Manor ‘ from JANE EYRE)
We shoot about 9 episodes at a time, then run one a month.”
Steve’s prized possession is an autographed copy of Robert Osborne’s “Pictorial History of the Academy Awards” . Steve told me – “I’ve had it by my bed since 1969. Robert Osborne signed it for me when a I appeared on the 20th anniversary of Turner Classic Movies and introduced the film THEM with him.”
TCM studio in Atlanta in 2014.
Steve commented, “I watch all kinds of films, lesser known, as well as bonafide classics. Like all films, some are better than others, it’s all a question of personal taste.
There are a lot of films I love that are put down as failures for one reason or another. I make it a point not to criticise the films I talk about on TOQ at the Movies.”
When I asked Steve if he was a collector, his answer was clear and precise!
“My apartment is ALL memorabilia. Film biographies of stars, directors, producers, some critics; autographed photos, posters, signed volumes…….some of my favourite things are ; a signed first edition of the screenplay of ALL ABOUT EVE, signed to me by Joseph L. Mankiewicz ; a first edition of ‘The Name Above the Title’ signed by Frank Capra; a program from the New York premiere of “Gone With The Wind”; a signed copy of ‘Memo From David O. Selznick’, by Kay Brown, his right hand assistant/girl Friday who got him to buy “Gone With The Wind”;
A letter to me from Bette Davis; signed photos to me of personal favourites, Gene Tierney, Barbara Stanwyck, Marsha Hunt and my favourite,Susan Hayward.”
Steve describes his latest stage show – “It’s a one person show in which I play Alfred Hitchcock. I have him talk about his life, his work, load it with anecdotes and try to make the audience feel as if he was sitting in their living room conducting an interview.
It’s not scripted, I improvise the whole thing as I go along.I’ve been an enormous Hitchcock fan since childhood and stored up a lot of knowledge over the years, so I simply try and relax and rely on that.”
”I‘ve been a comedian for many years and try to keep it as informative and at the same time light and funny as I can…It’s challenging and enormous fun. I’m hoping to tour with it.”
Ten years ago, Steve’s first review was of DEMETRIOUS AND THE GLADIATORS (he’s a big fan of Susan Hayward) and ten years later, he chose BACK STREET – he described the ending as ‘ a melodramatic, five hankie climax!’
And I like Steve’s take on another melodrama,IMITATION OF LIFE:
“I only like the plot with Susan Kohner and Juanita Moore. Lana Turner and Sandra Dee are too plastic to be believed.”
It’s a genuine pleasure to join the thousands of subscribers to Steve’s You Tube channel.
Here’s a fan who knows how to talk about films he likes to the rest of us fans , and makes you feel right at home at Thornfield Manor! And don’t miss his Bette Davis impersonation! So do visit Steve on You Tube at
Lots of Steve’s reviews can be viewed .
And as one commentator said, “There’s nothing tired about Steve Hayes. His enthusiasm is catching!”
Steve, many many thanks for taking the time to answer all my questions. If I ever get back to New York, can I come visit!
As always, it’s interesting to see foreign posters for Hollywood films, some with a literal translation, others making changes to titles.
SPELLBOUND (I WILL SAVE YOU.)
ALICE ADAMS (DREAM OF INVENTIVENESS)?
YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU (THE ETERNAL ILLUSION) ?
THE GREAT LIE (THE BIG LIE)
HIGH NOON (12 NOON)
CRISS CROSS (FOR YOU I KILLED)
PANIC IN THE STREETS
TWO FACED WOMAN (THE WOMAN WITH TWO FACES.)
A STAR IS BORN
Looks like more time was spent on the image of James Mason than Judy Garland.
VIOLENT SATURDAY (TRAGIC SATURDAY)
I suppose that Saturday was tragic as well as violent.