Friday, July 1, 2016

Olivia de Haviland On the Air -- July 1, 2016

This post is part of  the Olivia de Havilland Centenary Blogathon hosted by Crystal at In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood and Phyllis at Phyllis Loves Classic Movies. On Friday, 01-July-2016, Miss de Haviland will be 100 years old.  

Commercial radio had begun in the United States in the 1920s.  The first national network, NBC, the National Broadcasting Company, began operating in 1926. The national networks and sponsors developed many types of programs, dramas, comedies and variety shows.  Recordings of radio shows from before the mid-1930s are very rare.  In part because of union contracts, shows on the national networks, NBC, CBS (the Columbia Broadcasting System) and MBS (the Mutual Broadcasting System) were broadcast live.  National shows were performed twice, once for the Eastern and Central time zones and once three hours later for the Pacific time zone.

Hollywood, after a short period of being worried about competition from the radio, embraced it as a mechanism to promote their movies and their stars.   Warner Brothers even started its own Los Angeles radio station, which is still called KFWB.  Warner Brothers star Olivia De Havilland made many appearances on the radio.  

Radio Mirror, October, 1937
Actress Olivia de Haviland famously never had an acting lesson.  In this article, "If You Want to Act," from the October, 1937 Radio Mirror, she says that "Any young actor should look at radio as his great opportunity ... Look at me.  Radio makes me a better actress every time I go on the air.  It gives me the inspiration and excitement I've never found in the movies.  And it's teaching me things about the job of acting the movies can't even touch!"  She speaks of the benefit of playing a story from beginning to end, building to a logical climax, rather than jumping around with lots of interruptions, as they do in movies.  Radio also gave her the opportunity to play with actors who were under contract to studios other than Warner Brothers.
In 1935, Olivia de Havilland's first big hit movie was Captain Blood, where she co-starred with Errol Flynn, who became a regular screen partner.

On 22-February-1937, an anthology show, The Lux Radio Theatre, which did weekly adaptions of popular movies, presented Captain Blood, with Olivia de Havilland, Errol Flynn, Henry Stephenson and Basil Rathbone.  The host was usually director Cecil B De Mille, but this week, he was away working on The Buccaneer.  Actor Herbert Marshall served as the temporary host.

In many cases, the original stars of a movie were not all available.  In 1934 Alexander Korda produced an adaption of Baroness Emma Orczy's novel The Scarlet Pimpernel. Leslie Howard played Sir Percy Blakeney, the Scarlet Pimpernel and Merle Oberon played his wife, Lady Blakeney.  Raymond Massey played the bad guy, Chauvelin.

On 12-December-1938, The Lux Radio Theatre presented The Scarlet Pimpernel.  Leslie Howard reprised his role as Sir Percy. Olivia de Havilland played Lady Blakeney.  Howard and de Havilland worked together again in Gone With the Wind.  I could not catch the name of the guy who played Chauvelin.  Cecil B De Mille was the host.
In 1941, Alfred Hitchcock directed Cary Grant and Olivia de Havilland's sister Joan Fontaine in Suspicion.  de Havilland was nominated for Best Actress for Hold Back the Dawn and Fontaine was nominated for Suspicion.  Fontaine won.  On 04-May-1942, Joan Fontaine appeared in Suspicion on The Lux Radio Theatre,  Brian Aherne played Johnny, Cary Grant's role.

On 18-September-1944, The Lux Radio Theatre repeated Suspicion.  Since network shows had to be broadcast live, they had to create a new production. This time, Olivia de Havilland played her sister's role and William Powell played Johnny.  I wonder if this added to the friction between the sisters.

Olivia de Havilland appeared on other types of shows as well.  On 04-October-1938, she appeared on the Bob Hope Show, a comedy-variety show.

Suspense was a drama anthology known as "radio's outstanding theater of thrills."  On 07-September-1944 Olivia De Havilland appeared in "Voyage Through Darkness" with Reginald Gardiner.  I always like the series opening: "We hope to keep you in ... suspense." 

Search on the internet and you will find many more Old Time Radio shows featuring Olivia de Havilland.

We are lucky that she is still with us.  I hope she has a wonderful 100th birthday.

This post is part of  the Olivia de Havilland Centenary Blogathon hosted by Crystal at In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood and Phyllis at Phyllis Loves Classic Movies. Thank you to Crystal and Phyllis for all the hard work.  Thank you to everyone who visited and I encourage you to read and comment on as many posts as you can.  Bloggers love comments.  

This post is my third blogathon post of 2016 and my 43rd since 2007.  This is my 25th blogathon.    This page has a list of all my blogathon posts. 

Friday, June 24, 2016

Grauman's Chinese -- Roy Rogers -- June 24, 2016

Sid Grauman was a San Francisco showman who came to Los Angeles and built three major houses, the Million Dollar, the Egyptian, and the Chinese. The theater has hosted many film premieres, but is most famous for the hand and footprints (and hoofprints and nose prints and other types of prints) in the forecourt.   
Widely loved singing cowboy Roy Rogers, the King of the Cowboys, left his hand, foot, and revolver prints in the forecourt of Grauman's Chinese on 21-April-1949. His trusty steed Trigger left his hoofprints. Roy's wife Dale Evans wrote his theme song, "Happy Trails." DSCN4149. 
I took this on 18-July-2009.

The 1948 Hollywood Reporter Production Encyclopedia

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Page Peters Drowned -- 22-June-2016

Moving Picture World, 15-July-1916

Young actor Page Peters, who had appeared in a number of movies, including Cecil B DeMille's The Warrens of Virginia and William Desmond Taylor's Davy Crockett, drowned at Hermosa Beach 100 years ago today, on 22-June-1916.  The ad says George Beban would direct Davy Crockett, but the ad was probably printed before the movie was made. 

Moving Picture World, 20-February-1915
Moving Picture World, 06-May-1916

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Nick Charles -- June 19, 2016
Happy Fathers' Day to all my fellow fathers. I miss my dad.  And I miss my father-in-law. I haven't had anyone to buy a card for for a long time. 

I think my favorite movie dad is William Powell's Nick Charles in the Thin Man series, inspired by Dashiell Hammett's novel. Nick and Nora really loved each other. Nick had some points in common with my dad: He was very smart, he could be very sarcastic, and he always enjoyed a martini.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Flag Day, 2016 -- June 14, 2016

Actress Joan Leslie poses with a flag.  I remember her best for High Sierra and Sergeant York.  She died in 2015.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Cole Porter 125 -- June 9, 2016

Great American composer  and lyricist Cole Porter was born 125 years ago today, on 09-June-1891.  I have heard his music all my life. 


Sunday, June 5, 2016

Muhammad Ali, RIP -- June 5, 2016

Muhammad Ali, who may have been The Greatest of All Time, is dead.  He inspired some great documentaries.  When We Were Kings told the story of The Rumble in the Jungle, Ali's 1974 fight in Zaire against George Foreman.  No one expected Ali to win.  Some people expected Ali to die.  I still get the chant "Ali, boma ye!" stuck in my head.
Facing Ali allowed several of his opponents to tell their stories.  I was sad to see the condition of many of the men, who I remembered as young and strong.

I remember a program he did on ABC's Wide World of Sports where Ali sat with Howard Cosell and watched movies of past heavyweight champs.  Ali said he would have beaten each one.  I wonder if he would have beaten Jack Johnson or Joe Louis.  In either case, it would have been a heck of a fight.  I would like to see the show again.

And of course Ali's 1975 fight with Chuck Wepner, the Bayonne Bleeder, inspired the movie Rocky