Nov 25, 2008

Macy's Makes Me Cry

It doesn't take a whole lot to make me cry. Lauren Bacall's autobiography, Judy Garland's singing voice, that scene in The Women where Norma Shearer informs tiny little Virginia Weidler of Norma's marital meltdown - all are time-tested tearjerkers. It was not lightly, then, that I received the first airing of the 2008 Macy's holiday season commercial, which strings together such famed and fabled film faves as Charlie Chaplin, Natalie Wood, Alice Faye, Bob Hope, Orson Welles, Shirley MacLaine and Lucille Ball.

Is it cinema nostalgia or simply heartfelt holiday warmth that makes me cry? In all honesty - I think it's Susan Walker.


Nov 20, 2008

Picture Pane Puzzle - Solved!

In this age of at-your-fingertips knowledge, posting trivia questions has become a bit of a challenge for me - so, I give you a new type of trivia: The Picture Pane Puzzle. It's up to you to determine the mystery film by recognizing the images from it, posted below.

Think you know it?! Use the Comments option below to post your guess!

11/25: Poster Maryann has solved this week's Picture Pane Puzzle. She recognized Gene Kelly's cranium to identify this film as 1964's What A Way to Go! What a way indeed - bravo, Maryann!

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Nov 16, 2008

Filially Fabulous: Stephen Humphrey Bogart

When screen legend Humphrey Bogart succumbed to cancer in the early days of 1957, the last-century boy - he was born December 25, 1899 - left an indelible impression on the world of film, and a viable absence in the lives of his family. His actress wife Lauren Bacall chronicled the heartbreaking loss in her 1978 autobiography, where she stressed the impact of his untimely death on the couple's two young children, son Stephen and daughter Leslie, just 8 and 4, respectively, at the time of their father's passing. The bereaved trio ultimately coped, but Stephen, burdened by public fascination with his iconic father and vying to live outside of the shadow cast by such association, struggled with identity issues and substance abuse problems throughout his young life.

Fortunately, such unrest is impossible to place on the 59-year-old today. The younger Bogart is now a successful author and entrepeneur who utilizes his tony, unique childhood experience as celebrity offspring to lend an air of authenticity to his classic film-related endeavors; chief among them is MODA Entertainment, which he co-founded and developed from 1997 through 2008. His promotion of such retrospective-themed print, radio, and film work takes him to small, accessible venues throughout the country, where he interacts with reporters and fans and fields questions with genuine candor and enthusiasm, as he did when visiting Chicago's famed Hollywood Boulevard Cinema this past weekend.

Amiable and approachable, Bogart greeted fans and inquiries with equal graciousness as he hosted the presentation of the theater's latest addition, the Casablanca-themed "Moroccan Room," where his father's fabled film was the new theater's incendiary screening. He signed autographs, chatted with curious fans, even happily personalized my favorite photograph of his parents while talking film shop in the Boulevard lobby (he kindly indulged us in some incredible backstories about his mother and father).

With so many links to the golden age of cinema but tenuous and undignified ones, Stephen Bogart is delightfully refreshing representative and facilitator of film's preservation, celebration, and translation today. Here's looking at you, kid.

For more information on upcoming Hollywood Blvd events, please visit their website.
Find out more about the array of creative projects MODA Entertainment has spawned here.

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Nov 14, 2008

Judy, Judy, Beauty

  Strolling through the campus rose garden after Latin class this week, I came upon a particular placard that denoted a gorgeous crop of classic film flowers. These beautiful yellow-and-orange hybrid roses are named in honor of Miss Judy Garland, the sparkliest star of the MGM constellation in the 1930's and 40's.

  The idea for the Garland flower was developed and implemented by longtime Judy fan Pat Losiewicz in 1970, the year after Garland's death, but it took nearly a decade for the horticultural homage to become a reality. Frustrated with a lack of response from American rosegrowers, Losiewicz transferred the project to the President of the Great Britain Judy Garland Fan Club, Gwen Potter, who selected the rose from a collection of unnamed hybrids in 1978; the flower was finally available for sale in the United States in 1991.

  The flowers are planted near Judy's gravesite in Ferncliff Cemetery, New York, as well as at the Judy Garland Museum in her hometown of Grand, Rapids, MN, the result of another effort spearheaded by superfan Losiewicz.

The Judy Garland Rose is available for purchase via Heirloom Roses. Please note that clicking this link will take you to an external site.

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Nov 10, 2008

Did You Know?

Infamous print gossipmonger Hedda Hopper, whose dirt-dishing endeavors earned her a ruthless reputation (as well as gifts like a kick in the behind from an enraged Spencer Tracy and a skunk from a disgusted Joan Fontaine), was actually born Elda Furry in 1885. Though she was at various times known as Elda Furry, Elda Curry, Ella Furry, and Elda Millar, her eventual name was comprised of her married surname from husband DeWolf Hopper, whom she wed in 1913, and the name Hedda, which she selected on the advice of a numerologist.

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