Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Vintage Pic of the Day

Pampered Bathing Girls

Washington, D.C.
Why can't we have this type of pampering service at the beach anymore? 

The Girl with the Perfect Face

While watching a Letter to Three Wives,  I was immediately intrigued by the sultry, exotic looking doll I saw on the screen..and yes, I have to agree...she did have the perfect face (aside from Audrey of course :D). Her name was Linda Darnell, born Monetta Eloyse Darnell on October 16, 1923 in Dallas, Texas. One of five children, her father was a postal worker, and her mother encouraged her to model, already recognizing her beauty even at the early age of 12.

By 1934, Linda was modeling clothes for an area department store. Sometimes officials would think that she was 15 or 16 because she looked much older than she was. At age 13, she was appearing with local theater companies. Hollywood scouts, on a routine visit to the Dallas-Fort Worth area, were impressed enough to set up a screen test for her, but they soon discovered she was too young.

They told her to check back in a couple of years or so, which is exactly what she did. Linda used that time to further build up her acting chops through more local theater appearances, returning to California in 1939 to debut in A Hotel For Women. She was all of 16 at the time and became the youngest leading lady in Hollywood history. Her next film was that same year which was one of her very best- Daytime Wife where she starred with Tyrone Power. Film number three, made in 1940, marked her signature hit, Star Dust where Linda rose to heights of stardom. More classic films were produced, such as Blood And Sand, and Rise And Shine. In 1945 Linda played Netta Longdon in Hangover Square, which performed solidly at the box-office. She followed that up with an appearance opposite Lillian Gish in Centennial Summer. 

Linda reached the height of her career when she played opposite Cornell Wilde in 1947's Forever AmberA Letter to Three Wives where she survives the famed London fire. Unfortunately, although this film was a huge success Linda didn't feel she had earned the critical acclaim she hoped for. However two years later in the film she achieved both critical acclaim and true stardom. The wonderful script written by the great Joe Mankiewicz began a life long friendship which some think turned into the great love of Linda's life.

Darnell's Fox contract ended in 1952, and she had difficulty finding roles thereafter. She was still only 29, but rapidly descended from a top billing star to a bit-part player, and by the 1960's she was performing in nightclubs for a living, and playing supporting roles in television. Linda's final appearance on the silver screen was in 1965's Black Spurs.  

Linda Darnell's life is frequently described as tragic. It has been suggested that she was pushed into the limelight at such an early age by an overly dominating mother. Her rapid ascent into the hall of fame was one that she was never really prepared for, and the stresses and pitfalls of Hollywood took their toll.

Darnell developed a drinking problem that was to dog her for the rest of her life. She was unable to have children, but adopted a daughter named Lola.  However it is said that the inability to have children may have been a fact that may well have impacted on her relationships. Linda married and divorced three times, her second and third husbands being Phillip Leibmann and Merle Roye Robertson. Robertson sued for divorce in 1962 – citing Linda's continual drunkenness and neglect of her marital duties.

Linda Darnell perhaps suffered no more tragedy than many other actors and actresses – the stress of the Hollywood lifestyle on her relationships and health was nothing unusual. Her loss of fame in later years must have been hard to bear, and her death was indeed tragic. It is said that Darnell suffered all her life from a fear of death by fire a fact that she spoke of in connection with her performance in Anna and the King of Siam  which involved a burning at the stake scene. Whether this fear was a premonition, or a myth perpetrated after her death, cannot be known.  Tragically, Darnell died in 1965 of severe burns suffered in a  fire at her former secretary's house at the age of 42.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Vintage Pictures of the Day

Hello Dahlings! my apologies for the inconsistency in posting the Vintage Pics of the Day these past few days, but I had been at a work related training class and did not have access to the world wide web until today.

I hope you all had a lovely weekend, and that you are all doing well :) How is the weather in your neck of the woods. On my end...well,  we just go through a week of wonderful, much needed rain, and enjoyed a chilly, yet beautiful sunny weekend. We're told not to put our umbrellas away just yet, because more rain is in the works for tomorrow so I am very excited about that. 

By the way, thank you to all of you who have left comments on the previous vintage pictures of the day post. I am happy to see these posts have been well received! I hope you enjoy the next set... May you have a fantastic week!
Tea Time!

Mobile Teapot Refreshment Van

Blackpool, UK
 Oh So Tired!

Tired Shopper (Chicago, IL)
 I wonder what goodies she might have purchased?

Paper Drive

 Paper Drive for the War 
(Read what the poster says)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Vintage Pic of the Day

Let's Swing!

Swing Dancing
How fun does that look?!

Seventeen Years Ago Today...

Today marks the 17th anniversary of the passing of the timeless, classic, beautiful, humanitarian woman whom I admire and love so very's to you dahhling Audrey...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Vintage Pic of the Day

Ice Cream for Me...

Darling little girl delightfully enjoying a dish of ice cream
Hmmm...I wonder what flavor it was?
Look at her lovely little dress
and headband =)

Vintage Pic of the Day 01/18/10

Eat Here!

The Coffee Pot Restaurant
Breman, Indiana
(Now sadly gone)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Vintage Pic of the Day

July 1936

General Store Moundville Arkansas 1936
(Click to Enlarge to see what goodies they sell here)

The Real Betty Boop

Helen Kane. Born August 4, 1904, Ms. Kane was a popular American singer, best known for her "Boop-Boop-a-Doop" trademark and her signature song, "I Wanna Be Loved By You" 
It has been reported that Kane's mother reluctantly paid $3.00 for her daughter's costume as a queen in Kane's first theatrical role at school. This meager expense proved to be a wise investment; Helen went on to perform professionally onstage with the Marx Brothers not too long after she reached her fifteenth birthday.

As she took on the status of a singing sensation there were Helen Kane dolls and Helen Kane look-alike contests, appearances on radio and in nightclubs in addition to her continuing to tour the Orpheum Circuit. By late 1928 and early 1929 she had a huge cult following. With the advent of the Betty Boop cartoons, however, Helen began to feel her celebrity status was being infringed upon and she sued Paramount Studios and Max Fleischer charging "unfair competition and wrongful appropriation." Unfortunately, she lost this $250,000 lawsuit, and although she continued to perform, her popularity was never the same.

The trial dragged on for two years, the testimony getting more and more comical as Helen Kane and Betty Boop films were screened by Judge McGoldrick (no jury was called). Betty Boop voice-overs Mae Questel, Margy Hines and Bonnie Poe were brought in to testify; Helen denied copying her own singing style from black child performer Baby Esther or from a 1914 French song, “Bou-Bou-Ba-Ba-Bou.” The stenographer nearly had a nervous breakdown transcribing Boop-a-Doops and Bou-Bou-Ba-Ba-Bou’s. Amazingly, McGoldrick ruled against Helen in 1934. The judge “held that she had failed to prove that the defendants had appropriated her ‘baby’ style of singing,” according to one paper. “I consider it very unfair,” Helen quite naturally stated, “as all of my friends believe the cartoons a caricature of me.” Watching Helen and Betty side by side today, it’s impossible to fathom Judge McGoldrick’s decision.

That ruling wasn’t Helen’s only trouble: in 1933 she had been fined $46,500 for a bad business loan. She’d invested in a dress firm through one Murray Posner in 1930; when the firm went bankrupt, Helen was left holding the bag.

Indeed, the only good news for Helen was the show “Shady Lady,” which opened in July of 1933. “I am not going to talk any more baby talk and they will not get me to say Boop-Boop-a-Doop,” she insisted. “I am going to be a sort of miniature Mae West.” After Shady Lady closed, Helen went back to the grind of vaudeville, radio and nightclubs. 

In 1934 she went on a strict salt-free diet and exercise regime and dropped 43 pounds. She was unrecognizable: slim, with longer hair and delicate bone structure which had been lost under her baby fat. At 31, she looked like a Hollywood ingénue.

But in 1935, Helen Kane dropped out of show business. “I was tired, worn out, and I quit,” she explained in the 1950’s. “I could have gone on. I bought a home in California, went to Europe—a command performance before the King and the Queen of England—to Mexico, and spent a lot of money. Followed the seasons. I bought houses, swimming pools, invested in business.” But, she added, “I worked too hard until I finally knocked myself out. It was crazy, I was rich but I wasn’t having any fun. Before I was famous I always had a good time.”

Helen wed for the third and final time in 1939. Her husband was master of ceremonies and well-known Broadwayite Dan Healy; the bride was 36, the groom 52. They opened a nightclub on 52nd Street, but it lasted only a year. Theirs was a happy marriage, and Helen decided to settle down “and be Mrs. Healy for awhile.” She faded from public view in the 1940’s. 

Fame came calling again in 1950 when MGM filmed Three Little Words, the story of songwriters Kalmar and Ruby. Starlet Debbie Reynolds was cast as Helen Kane and given the song “I Want to Be Loved By You.” Helen was called in to dub Debbie’s voice, and was suddenly back in the limelight, at the age of 53. Television beckoned, interviewers were calling, and she even played the Palace once again in 1956. “With maturity has come a wonderful sense of humor and a great heart. She’s fat and funny and the face is as beautiful as ever,” wrote one reporter. In the late 1950’s, Helen developed breast cancer and underwent to mastectomies. Her cancer spread to her stomach, and Ms. Kane died September 26, 1966 at the age of 63.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Vintage Pic of the Day

The It Girl

Mantrap 1926  
Percy Marmont, Clara Bow and Ernest Torrence
(Click to Enlarge photo)

Bloggers day of Action

Surely you all know about the devastation that has taken place in this post is dedicated to all those affected by this tragic event in hopes that we as bloggers can spread the word on ways we can send relief to those who were gravely struck in one way or another.  

I am going to contact my local Red Cross and make a donation this afternoon.  Please keep this post going, and spread the word.

Charitable donations can be sent to:
- Red Cross
- Yele Haiti

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Vintage Pic of the Day

Let's Fly Far Far Away...

Circa 1953

Shortest Railway in the World...

I have to say and admit,  I'm a lucky gal being born and raised in a city that is superbly rich with history. The city I am talking about is none other than the city of Los Angeles. While every city in Los Angeles has history, I've always had a love for Downtown L.A because I feel that the core of the city lives there, it's where the city was born and where it branched out to what it is today.

I have been making it my mission to explore and visit as many of Downtown L.A's historic buildings, and landmarks, and will try my very best to share the treasures I find along the way with you. 

Today's stop is Angel's Flight, famously known for being the "Shortest Railway in the World,"  opened in 1901 and quickly became a city landmark. Col. James Ward Eddy was the visionary who convinced City Hall to grant him a 30-year franchise to construct and operate an inclined railway. The travel system consisted of two counterbalanced cars named Olivet and the Sinai which ferried traveler's along the steep grade between Third and Hill Streets and Bunker Hill ( L.A.'s most fashionable neighborhood at that time) The ride lasted one minute and cost a whopping one cent!

Over the years operations were transferred to other powers, tracks were relaid, and the station house redesigned. However, the single-trip fare rose only once, in 1914, to five cents. In 1959 Angels Flight was destined for demolition as part of the Bunker Hill Urban Renewal Project but loyal riders and enthusiastic supporters thwarted those plans, at least temporarily. During the next ten years the community of Bunker Hill changed dramatically as apartment houses were razed and residents dislocated by the redevelopment project. Ever decreasing numbers of commuters and tourists and lack of funding contributed to the inevitable. Even the designation of Historical Cultural Landmark could not save The Angel and she was dismantled in 1969.

circa 1898 before construction 

Circa 1903 First picture of Angels Flight 

Circa 1905 
{Look at how the area is evolving. Notice that 
the Victoria house that was there is no more...}

Circa 1910 A Bustling Downtown L.A 
{Being a Vegetarian was even 'in' back then look at the 
Vegetarian wonders what culinary surprises were served then...}

Circa 1927, 
{the horse and carriages are long gone now replaced by trolleys and

Circa 1939
{Traffic lights are now in sight, and look at the sign that reads
"No unecessary noise" by golly, what could they have meant by that? }

{A group of commuters waiting to be transported up that steep hill. Look at
that  Ford 'woodie' and if you look across the street, you'll see that for .95 cents
you could park your car in the lot all day.  
You can't even get metered parking for that amount these days!}

Circa 1959
Party on the Trolley! the shortest lived party I should say... in efforts
to save Angel's Flight. Hold on tight mister with the glass of bubbly! 

Circa 1960
 Prior to the eminent dismantling of Angel's Flight. The Vegetarian restaurant is no more, 
replaced by what looks like a liquor store. Look at the young man on the corner on
the left side, sporting cuffed jeans and pompadour hair...

Circa 1960 
Inside view of the trolley looking up the slope
On February 24, 1996 Angels Flight was re-dedicated, now half a block from its original site and for 25 cents you could experience the shortest railway in the world. Tragically on  February 1, 2001 a tragic midday accident killed one person and injured seven causing the closure of  Angels Flight since then. According to an NTSC investigation, a faulty cable gear mechanism broke, causing one of the cars to crash into the other. The funicular was scheduled to be reopened in 2006, but now rumor has it that it will possibly reopen sometime this year...