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Kyle Kersten was a true friend of TCM. One of the first and most active participants of the Message Boards, “Kyle in Hollywood” (aka, hlywdkjk) demonstrated a depth of knowledge and largesse of spirit that made him one of the most popular and respected voices in these forums. This thread is a living memorial to his life and love of movies, which remain with us still.

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Golden age: Roll call


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#1201 TopBilled

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Posted 30 December 2015 - 12:04 PM

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Audrey Totter was an MGM contract player who made a name for herself in some of the studio's films during the mid- to late-1940s. Usually, she was assigned to parts in noir-- and notable works included THE LADY IN THE LAKE, directed by costar Robert Montgomery; and THE HIGH WALL, a psychologically-tinged suspense drama that paired the actress with Robert Taylor. Another stand-out role occurred on loan out to RKO, where she played the wife of boxer Robert Ryan in Robert Wise's THE SET-UP. By the early 50s, she had left MGM and was freelancing at Columbia and Fox. She turned up in the war drama MISSION OVER KOREA with other former MGM stars like John Hodiak and Maureen O'Sullivan. By the middle part of the decade, with her film career in decline, she began taking roles on television. She found supporting parts in series during the late 50s and early 60s. In the 1970s, she experienced a slight resurgence with a continuing role on the hit drama Medical Center. 

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Audrey Totter present and accounted for..!


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"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


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Posted 29 December 2015 - 12:33 PM

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Originally producer David Selznick wanted to cast Warner Brothers contract player Jeffrey Lynn as Ashley in GONE WITH THE WIND. He certainly was younger than Leslie Howard and probably more of what Margaret Mitchell had envisioned. But at that point, Lynn was not a big name star, though later in 1939 he would gain notice for his role in WB's THE ROARING TWENTIES. The studio put him in a succession of crime films and romance dramas in the early 40s, and while his movie career did not reach spectacular heights, the good-looking actor was seen as a dependable lead in modestly budgeted programmers. When he left Warners, he wound up at Universal where he played opposite leading ladies like Deanna Durbin and Yvonne de Carlo. But perhaps his greatest role did not occur until the end of the 40s, when he starred in RKO's noir STRANGE BARGAIN as a husband who finds himself involved in his boss' death with no discernible way out. A 'sequel' was made almost forty years later as an episode of TV's Murder, She Wrote. In the follow-up story, Jeffrey Lynn was reunited with Martha Scott and Harry Morgan, his costars from the earlier picture.

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Jeffrey Lynn present and accounted for..!


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Posted 28 December 2015 - 12:54 PM

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Twinkle Watts was a miniature Sonja Henie who made a series of movies at Republic Studios in the mid-40s. Interestingly, her parents ran the studio commissary, and when she made a name for herself as a juvenile ice skater, Herbert Yates figured she could help attract the kiddie crowd. Soon he started featuring her in supporting roles in his pictures-- usually westerns with Don Barry and Allan Lane, though she did occasionally appear in non-western roles. She was Lane's daughter in the post-war melodrama A GUY COULD CHANGE. If you get the chance to see her first film, THE MAN FROM THE RIO GRANDE (currently available on the Paramount Vault YouTube page), she has a spectacular skating scene.

Screen%2Bshot%2B2015-12-28%2Bat%2B10.46.

Twinkle Watts present and accounted for..!


"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


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Posted 27 December 2015 - 09:31 AM

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Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour appeared in many films together, usually comedies that did well with audiences. A batch of them were road comedies with fellow Paramount star Bing Crosby. This long-running association began in the late 30s with the studio's all-star production of THE BIG BROADCAST OF 1938. In the early 40s, they had their first costarring vehicle together-- 1941's CAUGHT IN THE DRAFT, a military satire produced six months before the U.S. entered WWII. As the war years got underway, Hope and Lamour made other comedies and did USO work to entertain the troops. Lamour's screen career tapered off in the mid-50s, but she occasionally turned up on Hope's television program. One September 1966 broadcast of his weekly series reunited the comedian with Lamour and the rest of his leading ladies from the movies. In the 70s and 80s, Lamour could be counted upon for guest appearances on Hope's variety specials and on talk shows and interview segments that discussed their longtime collaboration and friendship.

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Dorothy Lamour and Bob Hope present and accounted for..!


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Posted 26 December 2015 - 04:46 PM

A lot of solid options for you to highlight.  My wish would be the gal that often wore a sarong;  Dorothy Lamour (with the focus NOT being on the Road pictures since too many know her just for those films and she did other fine work).

Yes. The road movies have to be mentioned, but they will probably get one sentence. :)


"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


#1206 jamesjazzguitar

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Posted 26 December 2015 - 04:29 PM

 

Can you guess the ones I'll be spotlighting?

jarrodpic6.jpg

In the week ahead:

 

Saturday December 26th: Mickey Rooney's dad and his frequent leading lady.

 

Sunday December 27th: Popular Paramount stars of the 1940s (one often wore a sarong).

 

Monday December 28th: Republic's talented child star on ice.

 

Tuesday December 29th: A Warner Brothers lead who later made a strange bargain.

 

Wednesday December 30th: MGM starlet of the late 40s, often cast in noir.

 

Thursday December 31st: A Fox lead in the mid-50s, cast in westerns and biblical epics.

 

Friday January 1st: Two character actresses paired in MGM comedies during the early 30s.

 

***

 

 

A lot of solid options for you to highlight.  My wish would be the gal that often wore a sarong;  Dorothy Lamour (with the focus NOT being on the Road pictures since too many know her just for those films and she did other fine work).


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Posted 26 December 2015 - 03:33 PM

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Joe Yule was an established vaudeville comedian who did not start appearing in motion pictures until 1939. This occurred after his son Mickey Rooney had found enormous success at MGM. And since Yule only worked at MGM from 1939 to 1946, it is probably correct to say his son's clout at the studio helped him get his foot in the door and keep him there. Yule usually had small parts, but he kept busy-- appearing in almost 40 features plus a few short films at the studio during this time. When MGM sold its film rights for the Bringing Up Father comic strip to Monogram, Joe Yule went to Monogram to play Father. It was a hit, and a bunch of sequels were made, which were slightly retitled and known as 'Jiggs and Maggie' comedies. Yule's leading lady in these pictures was Renie Riano, a British stage actress who had come to Hollywood in the late 30s. Altogether, Yule and Riano costarred in five movies; and there probably would have been more of these crowd pleasers, if Joe Yule had not passed away at age 58 in 1950.

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Joe Yule and Renie Riano present and accounted for..!


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Posted 25 December 2015 - 02:09 PM

Can you guess the ones I'll be spotlighting?

jarrodpic6.jpg

In the week ahead:

 

Saturday December 26th: Mickey Rooney's dad and his frequent leading lady.

 

Sunday December 27th: Popular Paramount stars of the 1940s (one often wore a sarong).

 

Monday December 28th: Republic's talented child star on ice.

 

Tuesday December 29th: A Warner Brothers lead who later made a strange bargain.

 

Wednesday December 30th: MGM starlet of the late 40s, often cast in noir.

 

Thursday December 31st: A Fox lead in the mid-50s, cast in westerns and biblical epics.

 

Friday January 1st: Two character actresses paired in MGM comedies during the early 30s.

 

***


"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


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Posted 25 December 2015 - 09:04 AM

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For years Lionel Barrymore had played the part of Ebenezer Scrooge in annual radio broadcasts of Dickens' A CHRISTMAS CAROL. But the year his studio decided to produce a film version, he fell and injured his hip. Unable to play the miserly tightwad on screen-- Barrymore's friend Reginald Owen took over, with Barrymore's blessing. Some might say Owen and this MGM version are ultimately too cheerful, but its status as a classic is undeniable. Owen was 51 when he played Scrooge, and he was familiar to stage and screen audiences for the many roles he had been performing in America since the early 20s. His screen career continued until the year before his death in the 1970s. 

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While Owen became a household name as Ebenezer Scrooge, another British character actor became a household name for his portrayal of Kris Kringle. Edmund Gwenn had played a variety of parts on screen in his native England and in Hollywood before he was cast in the role of a lifetime in 20th Century Fox's THE MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET. As an elderly gentleman whose sanity is brought into question when his gig as a department store santa seems to be something he takes seriously, Gwenn won the heart of a believing little girl (Natalie Wood) and movie watchers everywhere. Gwenn became so identified with this film that Fox was still referring to it when they advertised his later assignments in MR. 880 (cast against type as a counterfeiter) and SOMETHING FOR THE BIRDS (as a stuffy old admiral).

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Ebenezer and Kris Reginald Owen and Edmund Gwenn present and accounted for..!


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Posted 24 December 2015 - 08:50 AM

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In less than ten years, Thelma Todd went from budding Hollywood hopeful to iconic film star. She arrived in the movie capital in 1926, fresh off her win as Miss Massachusetts. She was signed by Paramount and put in silent films that showcased her beauty. And by the time sound films took over, she had opportunities to show off her skills as a comedienne. She worked with most of the top screen comics of her day-- Charley Chase; Harry Langdon; Buster Keaton; Jimmy Durante; Wheeler & Woolsey; Laurel & Hardy; ZaSu Pitts; and Patsy Kelly to name a few. When she left Paramount and went to work for producer Hal Roach, she continued making features but also appeared in a series of successful short films with Pitts then Kelly. Her death in 1935 was shrouded in mystery, but her legacy is as clear now as it ever was.

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Thelma Todd present and accounted for..!


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Posted 23 December 2015 - 11:28 AM

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As Barbara Stanwyck found out the hard way in NO MAN OF HER OWN, it was better to have no man than to have Lyle Bettger as your man. Bettger practically walked away with the picture. In Mitchell Leisen's tense noir melodrama, he played Stanwyck's ex-boyfriend and the father of her illegitimate son who comes to town to blackmail her. Around this time, Bettger also turned up as a criminal in Paramount's UNION STATION and as an ex-convict in DEAR BRAT. At 35 and breaking into the movies, the actor was likely too old to be promoted as a lead, but still handsome enough to play roles where he could cause trouble for the leading couple. So immediately, he was typecast as the suave villain. And for the next five years, Paramount used that persona to great effect, frequently assigning Bettger to crime dramas and westerns as the quintessential baddie. By the later part of the 50s, he was transitioning to television, where again his stock in trade would be shady ne'er-do-well type roles. Whenever casting directors needed a shyster, he was often the one they called.

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Lyle Bettger present and accounted for..! 


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Posted 22 December 2015 - 01:21 PM

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May Robson's fans are in all corners of the globe, and that's probably because she lived in all corners of the globe. From a British family but born in Australia, where she spent part of her youth, she developed a restless spirit at an early age. When she married, her first husband had a restless spirit too, and they wound up on a ranch in Texas. But that didn't work out, so May eventually settled in New York. When she began as an actress, she was a single mother, and though she was not yet 30, she quickly fell into character roles. She became very successful and had her own touring company, which led her across the United States. In the silent film days, she tried her hand at the motion picture business but at first it didn't take. She was soon back on stage. But a decade later, near the advent of sound, she was once again on screen. When talkies took over, she found her niche playing crusty but lovable old gals, and she was occasionally top-billed. At 73, she was nominated for an Oscar as best actress in Frank Capra's LADY FOR A DAY. She followed this role up with many other hits over the next nine years. By the time she passed away at age 82, she had appeared in over 30 classic motion pictures. 

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May Robson present and accounted for..!


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Posted 21 December 2015 - 12:16 PM

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Grant Withers began his motion picture career at the end of the silent era. Because of his rugged good looks, he was signed by Warner Brothers and cast as a lead in several early talkies for the studio. Two of those films paired him with a very young Loretta Young. When he and the underaged actress eloped (she was only 17), they faced widespread media coverage and within a year the marriage was annulled. Withers continued to appear in motion pictures through the 1930s but by the end of the decade had slipped to supporting roles. In the following decade, he became a widely sought character actor, often appearing in films with his friend John Wayne. Withers was under contract during this period with Republic Pictures. And from 1937 to 1957, he made 60 films for the studio. By the late 50s, he was working mostly in television, usually in crime dramas and westerns. He died in 1959 with around 200 movie and TV credits.

Screen%2Bshot%2B2015-12-21%2Bat%2B10.17.

Grant Withers present and accounted for..!


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Posted 20 December 2015 - 08:07 AM

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Dana Wynter was from a German family but raised mostly in England. Her career began in the British film industry in the early 50s, but by the middle of the decade she had left Europe for America. She found work in television anthologies produced in New York and was spotted by a talent scout for 20th Century Fox. In 1955, she appeared in her first picture for the studio, THE VIEW FROM POMPEY'S HEAD. But it was a film away from her home studio that she would be most remembered for: the original version of THE INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS. She continued to make a series of pictures for Fox, across various genres until 1960. Then she transitioned back to television, though she occasionally still appeared in movies (two produced in Ireland). In later years, she divided her time between a home in California and a home in Ireland. She had a role on an Irish television series before retiring from the screen.

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Dana Wynter present and accounted for..!


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Posted 19 December 2015 - 09:28 AM

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Rosalind Russell and Brian Aherne first appeared together in Universal's romantic comedy HIRED WIFE in 1940. It was a big hit with audiences, and obvious to everyone the two worked well as a team. A short time later when Roz left MGM and signed with Columbia, it was not surprising that she asked her new studio to hire Aherne to play her leading man again, in other comedies. The first version of MY SISTER EILEEN and Irving Cummings' WHAT A WOMAN! were also successful with movie goers. The duo developed a lasting friendship, and in the mid-60s they would reunite on screen once more. That time it was do ROSIE!, based on Ruth Gordon's play, which brought them back to Universal.

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Brian Aherne & Rosalind Russell present and accounted for..!


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Posted 18 December 2015 - 02:18 PM

Can you guess the ones I'll be spotlighting?

jarrodpic6.jpg

In the week ahead:

 

Saturday December 19th: A wisecracking leading lady and her frequent British leading man.

 

Sunday December 20th: Change of season with an actress whose last name fits the occasion.

 

Monday December 21st: Loretta Young's first husband, a leading man in the 30s.

 

Tuesday December 22nd: A strong-willed character actress who was a lady for a day.

 

Wednesday December 23rd: Could have been a lead, but instead played villains in the 50s.

 

Thursday December 24th: A Hal Roach beauty of the 30s who supported big name comics.

 

Friday December 25th: A golden age Scrooge and a golden age Kris Kringle.

 

***


"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


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Posted 18 December 2015 - 09:53 AM

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In the early 1930s, Gene Autry was the star of a country-and-western radio show in Chicago when he hired fellow musician Smiley Burnette to play accordion and various other instruments alongside him. The duo was very popular and when Hollywood decided to present singing cowboys in sound films, these two were signed up. At Republic studios, Autry & Burnette made over 60 films. During the war, while Autry served in the military, his sidekick left Republic and moved over to Columbia. At his new studio, Burnette added musical touches and comic relief in over 50 films starring Charles Starrett. After the war, Autry returned to Hollywood but he also left Republic and moved over to Columbia. When Starrett's career wound down, the studio reassigned Smiley Burnette to work with his old partner, Gene Autry. Some things were just meant to be.

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Gene Autry & Smiley Burnette present and accounted for..!


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Posted 17 December 2015 - 09:12 AM

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Gene Krupa enlivened musical numbers in classic films during the 1940 and 1950s. Since the mid-1930s, the Chicago-born drum player and bandleader had been a household name. If you've seen him performing his hit 'Drum Boogie' in BALL OF FIRE with Barbara Stanwyck, you know how audiences responded to his uniquely energetic style. In the late 40s, Krupa and his band were top-billed in Columbia Pictures' romance drama GLAMOUR GIRL. There were other movie appearances, and in 1959 the ultimate compliment was paid when Columbia made Krupa the subject of a biopic starring Sal Mineo. Krupa continued to perform in public until the early 1970s shortly before his death.

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Gene Krupa present and accounted for..!


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Posted 16 December 2015 - 08:49 AM

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Gene Tierney is best remembered as Laura Hunt in Otto Preminger's classic film noir. But it was not the first motion picture she made during her lengthy run as a starlet at 20th Century Fox in the 1940s. In fact, her initial role had been in the western sequel THE RETURN OF FRANK JAMES, opposite Henry Fonda. There was another western and assignments in other genres before she hit her stride in noir. More crime dramas followed, like WHIRLPOOL and WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS, both also directed by Preminger. In 1962, after a seven-year absence from the big screen, Tierney would return in another Preminger picture, ADVISE AND CONSENT, where she once again costarred with Henry Fonda. 

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Gene Tierney present and accounted for..!


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Posted 15 December 2015 - 12:13 PM

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Gene Reynolds was a child star who got his start in Hal Roach short comedies in the 1930s and soon found roles in features. Notably, he played the younger version of Tyrone Power's character in Fox's disaster epic IN OLD CHICAGO; he was a young violinist in Sam Goldwyn's THEY SHALL HAVE MUSIC; and he had an important part at MGM in BOYS TOWN and its sequel MEN OF BOYS TOWN. Like so many others, he transitioned to television in the 1950s, first as an actor, then as a writer and director. He really hit his stride in the 1970s, when he was responsible for writing, producing and directing episodes of weekly series like M*A*S*H and Lou Grant. Before he retired in 1999, he had received numerous awards and served four years as the president of the Directors Guild. Who says child stars can't succeed in Hollywood..?

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Gene Reynolds present and accounted for..!


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