|Where the Stars Dwell: Beverly Hills, California (Coronet Magazine, 1953)|
Times have changed: when this article about Beverly Hills first went to press, that famed little hamlet could support as many as ten bookshops. It is now barely able to support one:
"Beverly Hills became famous in 1926 when, in one of the smartest publicity stunts of the century, the movie star Will Rogers was elected honorary mayor. Installed in drizzling rain, Rogers declared that all the budding town needed for progress was a little scandal and a few murders... Today, it has an international reputation for exclusive smartness; its citizens are largely concerned with the production of motion pictures; possibly 200 film notables live in the town, and most of the movie stars who built within its confines came there because they were attracted by the notion of large estates within easy distance of the sea and the beaches."
Beverly Hills Confidential: A Century of Stars, Scandals and Murders
Veronica Lake (Click Magazine, 1944)
This is a profile Veronica Lake (1922 – 1973) who was characterized in this article as "an artist at making enemies.":
"One of the most acute problems in Hollywood is Veronica Lake. Where, and at what precise moment her time-bomb mind will will explode with some deviation from what studio bosses consider normal is an ever-present question. Hence, the grapevine of the movie industry always hums with rumors that unless Miss Lake 'behaves', she will no longer be tolerated, but cast into oblivion."
"Women are always trouble to unimaginative men..."
William Holden (Coronet Magazine, 1956)
The attached profile of actor William Holden (1918 – 1981) appeared in print when his stock was about to peak.
By the summer of 1956, Holden was already a double nominee for a BAFTA ("Picnic"), an Oscar ("Sunset Boulevard") and was the grateful recipient of an Academy Award for Best Actor one year earlier ("Stalag 17"). In 1957 his performance in the "Bridge on the River Kwai" would bring even more pats on the back (although the Best Actor statue would go to Alec Guinness).
This five page interview tells the story of Holden's initial discovery in Hollywood, his devotion to both the Screen Actor's Guild and Paramount Pictures. His Hollywood peers held him in especially high-regard:
"In a poll of Hollywood reporters recently he was designated 'the best adjusted and happiest actor around'".
My Brother Groucho (Coronet Magazine, 1951)
In this six page essay Harpo Marx tells the tale of Groucho (1890 – 1977) as only an older brother could see it. From the Marx family's earliest days in the slums of New York and Groucho's first entertainment job (he was 13), Harpo (1888 – 1964) briefly recounts his brother's wins and losses leading up to the team's first popular show on Broadway ("I'll Say She Is", 1923) and the man's travails on his T.V. game show, "You Bet Your Life".
"Groucho's infatuation with the language has been the backbone of his entire life and has, undoubtedly, played the largest single part in shaping him into one of the greatest wits of our time. Groucho doesn't regard words the way the rest of us do. He looks at a word in the usual fashion. Then he looks at it upside down, backwards, from the middle out to the ends, and from the ends back to the middle...Groucho doesn't look for double meanings. He looks for quadruple meanings. And usually finds them."
Click here to read about the manner in which the Marx Brothers would test their jokes.
The Softer Side of Boris Karloff (Collier's Magazine, 1941)
Adorned with photos of the famous movie-monster-actor mowing his lawn and kissing his wife, this COLLIER'S MAGAZINE article tells the tale of how an English boy named William Henry Pratt became a famous Hollywood actor named Boris Karloff (1887 – 1969). This piece was originally conceived in order to promote the actor's appearance on Broadway in the roll of "Jonathan" in "Arsenic and Old Lace". The writer makes it quite clear to all that the show-biz career did not in any way come easily to Karloff and involved years of truck driving and traveling about performing in summer-stock theaters throughout the whole of North America before he was able to make a name for himself as a bit actor in the silent films of Hollywood.
Click here to read about the vulgar side of Erroll Flynn.
Lena Horne Lands in Hollywood (Collier's Magazine, 1943)
Appearing mid-way through the year 1943 was this COLLIER'S MAGAZINE profile of Lena Horne (1917 – 2010), who impressed Hollywood producers so much that she was given substantial rolls in two movies before the year was out ("Cabin in the Sky" and "Stormy Weather"):
"A local journalist wrote of Miss Horne in terms that had hereto been reserved for Madame Récamier and Theda Bera. He spoke of Bernhardt and Clara Bow. He urged them to rather sharply to move over and make room for their superior. In the very nature of things, such adulation could lead only to lucrative servitude in one of the cinema's concentration camps..."
*Watch the 1943 Movie Clip Featuring Lena Horne*