Author Archives: Vienna

COMING SOON – in 1938

Warner  Brothers advertises its releases for 1938, with Jane  Bryan and Dick Powell doing the honours.
Jane appears in “Hollywood Hotel” , “A Slight Case of Murder”and “Girls on Probation”. Dick Powell’s only upcoming film is “Hollywood Hotel” .

So, lots to look forward to……”Fool for Scandal”, “Adventures of Robin Hood”, “Jezebel”.

Jane Bryan, at age 20, was doing well at Warners, but within  two years she retired from acting after marrying.
The quizzical name on the Xmas tree is Grad Sears.

Why are all the films parcelled up and marked ready for Mr. Sears?

Turns out Gradwell L.Sears was the General Sales Manager for Warner Brothers, so I guess this advert perhaps appeared in a trade magazine, indicating the films Mr. Sears would be selling round the country.


I haven’t seen HOLLYWOOD HOTEL but I love a quote from it. Dick Powell is an aspiring actor who joins the fictional studio, ”Miracle Pictures” – whose motto is:

“If it’s a good picture, it’s a Miracle.”

”Hollywood Hotel” came about because Louella Parsons had a very successful radio show of the same name from 1934 to 1938.  She would introduce the show ,saying: “This is Louella Parsons broadcasting from the Hollywood Hotel” – which wasn’t true – Louella and her guests were in a radio studio.

(There was a ‘Hollywood Hotel’ built in  1903 on Prospect Boulevard – which later became Hollywood Boulevard). It became a popular locale for the stars.)

Hollywood Hotel

It was interesting to read that big stars who appeared on Louella’s show were paid in soup! Yes, I said soup.
Louella’s show was so popular, studios and stars got plenty of publicity. The show had millions of listeners, coast to coast.

Stars received a case of the sponsor’s soup – the Campbell Soup Company!

(Louella’s salary was over $2000 per show.)

However, a few stars refused to appear- Ginger Rogers, Katharine Hepburn, Garbo.

By 1938 the Screen Actors Guild insisted that the stars would no longer accept soup in payment. Campbell’s Soup said no to the usual $1000  paid for a radio appearance. The Louella show left the air.


A clip of Benny Goodman orchestra from HOLLYWOOD HOTEL.


Health and happiness to everyone in the new year.


It’s that time of the year. Television and cinemas get out their copies of Frank Capra’s “IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE”  and hope and expect audiences see this film as the Xmas event we can happily watch -again!

A post I wrote over four years ago, “BOB ANDERSON:YOUNG GEORGE BAILEY” has had a thousand views in  December. ( thanks to everyone ).

It’s A Wonderful Life” is surely is one of the finest examples of the depth of the talent pool in Hollywood in the classic era.

Even an independent company ( Liberty Films), outside of the bubble of  the big studios , could cast so many well known faces.




Frank Capra


Frank Capra, William Wyler, George Stevens, Samuel Briskin

Liberty Films was the independent film producing company set up by three of Hollywood’s most well known directors and the former head of production at Columbia. They had production offices at RKO and a contract for Capra, Wyler and Stevens to do 9 features for RKO distribution.

.Unfortunately, “It’s a Wonderful Life’ didn’t recoup its high costs and Liberty Films was purchased by Paramount after  producing only one other film, “STATE OF THE UNION.”

It seems incredible  now that Paramount didn’t retain the rights to ‘Wonderful Life’, but the television rights were sold to National TeleFilm Associates -and they too did not renew the rights to the film in 1974.

Republic Pictures claimed  the rights in 1993 – something to do with them owning the short story (‘The Greatest Gift’) on which the film was based, and having the music score –  plus an original negative of the movie.

Republic sold the exclusive TV rights to the  Xmas Classic to NBC in  1994.

And almost full circle – Paramount acquired Republic Pictures in 1998!


And according  to the American Film Institute, the film had mostly positive reviews on its release and got several Oscar nominations.
Ironically it was up against William Wyler’s THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES  which swept the board.

By the way, the FBI thought the film was a Communist trick to discredit bankers!



Here  goes with a picture gallery of  most  of the performers in the film, in no particular order. . If you can name them all, well done!

 Can you spot who played  – Violet – Freddie Othello – Mr. Martini – Nick – Potter’s bodyguard – Ernie – Ruth – Eustace – Annie – Sam – Billy – Mr. Carter – the real estate salesman – Mrs. Martini – Clarence – Pa Bailey…….










An exciting time. The first time the Academy Awards were televised and shown live on 19th March 1953.

The National Broadcasting Company had paid $100,000 for the television and radio rights.
(A live broadcast to Europe was not possible . The BBC showed a recording of the ceremonies two days later.)

With Hollywood three hours behind New York, the show screened from 7.30pm to 9pm in Hollywood at the Pantages Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard;  and at 10.30pm in New York , from the NBC International Theatre.

It meant revenues in N.Y for films and Broadway shows weren’t too affected.
It also meant stars like Shirley Booth could be rushed from the Broadway theatre where she was appearing in time for the Best Actress nominations.



“Ticket holders,please follow the route above to the RKO  Pantages theatre. You must arrive before 7pm……”


Bob Hope took charge, as he did many times in later years.. Bob was the perfect host and seemingly the only relaxed person on stage! He even took time to sing one of the Oscar nominated Best Songs  – “Am I in Love” ( with Marilyn Maxwell)

Bob had first hosted the Oscars in 1940 when GONE WITH THE WIND won 8 Oscars. Bob said,     “What a wonderful thing, this benefit for David Selznick!”

The stage display included a huge Oscar atop a cake surrounded by the Oscars to be awarded.

Co-hosts in New York, Conrad Nagel, Fredric March. Broadcasting from the NBC International Theater .

We didn’t see much of either of the New York hosts – Conrad Nagel had also co-presented back in 1930 and 1932.

Bob looks up at the  screen showing Shirley Booth in New York.


Shirley Booth, Fredric March.

Fredric March presents Shirley Booth with her Best Actress Award for COME BACK LITTLE SHEBA.

(Despite the ballyhoo for the bi-coastal telecast, I counted about 15 minutes at the most from the New York theatre. )

I don’t know what other nominees, other than Shirley Booth, were actually in New York.



Cecil B. DeMille, Gloria Swanson, Bob Hope, Mary Pickford.

  • A nice touch was to have Oscar presenters who were all previous winners, from Mary Pickford,Janet Gaynor, Anne Baxter, Ray Milland, Frank Capra,Greer Garson, Ginger Rogers, Luise  Rainer, Ronald Colman, Joan Fontaine, Olivia De Havilland, Edmund Gwenn.


One of Bob Hope’s jokes ( all of which he delivers so expertly). The TV cameras didn’t show the losing nominees in the audience:

“You’ll see great understanding, great sportsmanship, great acting!”

There were  few shots of the audiences so I don’t know if nominees Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Julie Harris, Susan Hayward, Marlon Brando, Kirk Douglas,Jose Ferrer , Jean Hagen, Jack Palance were there in person.


In 1953, there were separate Oscars for black and white and color cinematography, art direction and costumes.


Despite critic Bosley Crowther calling it, “a routine and pointless affair”, NBC drew an audience of over 30 million!

HIGH NOON  had seven nominations but lost  to “The Greatest Show on Earth” as Best Picture.
I love the comment by Thomas Doherty in the Hollywood Reporter article of March,2022. Having discussed the drama of HIGH NOON, he added:

The Greatest Show on Earth” wasn’t much of a metaphor for anything except the grandiosity of the name above the title.”  (Cecil B. DeMille).


One of Bob Hope’s ongoing jokes was the fact he had never won the Oscar. Early in the evening, he joked: ”There was a rumour last year that I might win an Oscar, but nobody paid attention so I stopped spreading  it.”

He also said, “I like to be here just in case – you never can tell – one year there might be one left over!”

But this year he did get one – an Honorary Oscar for his contribution to the laughter of the world and his service to the motion picture industry.

He quipped, “I know this is a joke. You’ll take it back after a while!”

One thing that seems strange now was the fact that every winner rushed up to the stage, grabbed their Oscar and quickly said “Thank you” before rushing back off the stage.

Were they told just to say, ‘Thank you’, I wonder.

Only Shirley Booth in New York made a short speech, saying how grateful she was.

John Wayne collected two Oscars, one for John Ford (“The Quiet Man”) and one for Gary Cooper.
As I have previously written, Wayne joked that he’ d have to speak to his management team – ….”to find out why I didn’t get High Noon.”

Mary Pickford presented the Best Picture Oscar to Cecil B. DeMille for THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH.


It was also a great touch to have shots of previous Oscar winners holding their awards –Loretta Young, Broderick Crawford, Claire Trevor, Jane Wyman, Edmund Gwenn.


I was very pleased to find the whole television presentation (including ads for RCA T.V.’s and radios) was available to watch on You Tube. Not great quality but a nice bonus and it enabled me to see Tex Ritter in person, singing “Do Not Forsake Me “.

It was a pleasure to see so many stars in their prime, just a shame it was too early for colour.

Bob Hope was the Oscars host on at least 9 occasions, the last being in 1978. His easy style and comedy delivery  were excellent.  Of course he had great writers for his routines, but,boy, could he deliver!

Apparently George Montgomery was the host in 1949, and Fred Astaire did the honours in 1951.

For all Oscar information,






Billy Wilder discusses a scene in “A Foreign Affair”  with Jean Arthur, John Lund.


Hitchcock observes. Ingrid Bergman, Gregory Peck try to ignore the cameras and lights. ”Spellbound”.


Is George Cukor boring Katharine Hepburn,Lew Ayres, Henry Kolker, Doris Nolan, Cary Grant?  “HOLIDAY”.


Great picture of cast of “My Sister Eileen.”

  • From left: Tommy Rall,  Dick York, Kurt Kaszner, Jack Lemmon, Betty Garrett, Bob Fosse, Janet Leigh.


All very serious. Katharine Hepburn,Robert Taylor, George Cukor.  “Undercurrent”.
How do we save this movie.



Looks like Barbara Stanwyck is visiting William Holden on the set of “Stalag 17.”


Robert Montgomery  focuses on Audrey Totter in “The Lady in the Lake.”



Myrna Loy, Cary Grant  smile for the camera . “Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House.”


Got to get that key just at the right angle. Dont move, Ingrid.

Ingrid Bergman, Alfred Hitchcock. “Notorious “.


Another angle.Not sure why Hitch is cupping his hand. Is he sneezing?…whispering?




Nick and Nora Charles in THE THIN MAN  were known for their frequent imbibing of cocktails. Made shortly  after the end of Prohibition , “The Thin Man” made it clear that alcohol, all shapes and sizes, was on the legal market again after thirteen dry years.

William Powell, Myrna Loy



In the 1980s, Dale DeGroff was the bar manager at the Rainbow Room restaurant in New York’s Rockefeller Center. He decided to put together  a list of Classic and forgotten cocktails.

Searching a 1930s catalogue of a glass and silver house,Minners Design ( on Manhattan’s  East Side), DeGroff found a small glass called ‘the little martini’. It was about a third of the size of the typical glass.

The company told DeGroff that molds  would have to be made as the glasses were long out of production.

The Rainbow  Room went ahead and brought in these smaller cocktail glasses and Dale DeGroff coined the name ”The Nick And Nora Glass” and that became the official name – and it is still sold today!

I wonder if today’s buyers of these glasses know why they are so called.



I caught up on You Tube with an early William Powell film, Warners’ PRIVATE DETECTIVE 62.(1933).  Powell’s costar was Margaret Lindsay who came over well as a society lady who loves gambling – and usually wins.
The film has an odd ( and even unnecessary)beginning, with William Powell, in the diplomatic  service, being deported from France and diving off a ship as it comes into New York.

After that he is in full private detective mode, hired to frame the lovely Ms Lindsay who is winning too much money from a gambling club.

The film’s  director is Michael Curtiz, but it’s a fairly routine picture, only just over an hour in length. It wouldn’t  be long before Powell joined MGM and  became the famous ‘Nick Charles’.

The significance of the number 62 escapes me. Powell charms as always.



 First published in the 1920s, the Radio Times chose , quaintly, not to change its name when television arrived.

Initially only showing the BBC programming, it was 1991 before Radio Times included the commercial TV weekly listings.


I  check the films on the various channels each week in R.T.

The anonymous film reviewer for the magazine is somewhat limited in the space he/she has to comment.

Below are some of the brief (very brief) reviews I’ve seen recently. Mainly westerns.

”Warm Western.”



Listed in Radio Times as PERSONAL COLUMN:

“Preposterous thriller.”



“Female werewolf horror devoid of scares or even a transformation.”



“Rudimentary “.




“Cult Western.”




”Western.”   (Honestly, that’s all that was said.)


Budd Boetticher’ verbose Western.

Stop right there!  Randolph Scott is a man of few words.



“Standard Issue Western.”



Below par.    Really?





Actually the mystery reviewer doesn’t seem to like most westerns.
They aren’t really reviews, just a couple of generally meaningless lines in the small space permitted for each film.


All I can say to the Radio Times is, why bother! Give us the details and we’ll make up our own mind.





Fred MacMurray, Madeleine Carroll. CAFE SOCIETY



Bette Davis




Leon Ames, Audrey Totter, Robert Montgomery, Tom Tully, Lloyd Nolan. LADY IN THE LAKE



Joseph Cotten. Teresa Wright, MacDonald Carey. SHADOW OF A DOUBT


Bill ‘ Bojangles’ Robinson


Bette Davis, Errol Flynn. THE SISTERS



Boris Karloff, Charles Laughton. THE STRANGE DOOR. 1951


Lee J Cobb , Evelyn Keyes, Dick  Powell. JOHNNY O’CLOCK



Charles Boyer . ALGIERS




Errol Flynn Title?