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LindaAlexander

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  1. I found this thread this afternoon & must say I've not done a single thing--except dinner--since. I'm enthralled . . . what wonderful photos! I especially love the Bob & Missy photos. It always makes me sad, though, to see him, particularly candids. He was never ever w/o a cigarette. Story goes he had to be forced to give it up long enough to get his teeth cleaned. And when he was in his doctor's ofc after he knew he was dying,.the dr asked when he would stop smoking. He replied, "When are going to give me a reason?" What wasn't known then still could hurt. . . . Happy new year ~ Linda Alexander
  2. Wonderful selection of photos! I'm quite impressed. Love the candid of Barbara Stanwyck & son, Dion. He passed away in the last few years at an assisted living-type apartment home in Los Angeles . . . a sad character. ~ Linda J. Alexander author, "Reluctant Witness: Robert Taylor, Hollywood, & Communism"
  3. Hello: Oh, believe me, Taylor's HUAC period is the focus of my book. And I believe that after folks read the REAL story, they'll realized Taylor was scapegoated on purpose in that. He did nothing that was "shameful" in those hearings . . . & even if one would believe he did, they'd have to call the likes of John Wayne, Ronald Reagan, George Montgomery, Ward Bond, & Gary Cooper the same. Taylor did NOT name names of Communists -- a simple review of his testmony proves that. He responded to a question asking who disrupted SAG mtgs. He specifically said he didn't know if those same people were members of the CPUSA. -- Linda Alexander FRIENDLY WITNESS: ROBERT TAYLOR, HOLLYWOOD, & COMMUNISM due out holiday season, 2007
  4. Robert Taylor in almost everything is the most lifeless, uninterested, one dimensional movie star in Hollywood history. There was an actor who only cared about the money and gave the bare minimum for it. While I can certainly understand that we all have our favorites -- & least favorites -- I'm not sure how you come by such a drastic comment as to say Taylor was an actor "who only care about the money." That's rather unfair, & not in the least bit true. -- Linda Alexander
  5. She was married to Robert Taylor . . . yes. nd she tired I heard or read of his overly domiante mother . . . wasn't a good scene on either count -- last straw came when Taylor had an affair w/an Italian actress during the filming of QUO VADIS. Their split really had little to do w/his mother who was, BTW, overly dominate, but so was Stanwyck. and also the last straw came when he named Howard DeSilva to that witch hunt in the early 50's. . . . It was the mid '40s & Taylor didn't "name" DaSilva as a Communist. He called him "disruptive" in SAG mtgs. Stanwyck was, BTW, under attack by some of the other side's people & she was w/him all the way in political beliefs. He was, in fact, protecting her at times. Could be he just didn't like Italians. . . Obviously he liked Italians TOO much, considering the marital split after his affair w/an Italian woman who spoke very little English during their liaison. however, MGM removed his name from one of their buildings BUT never did they or anyone else go after Ronald Reagan ( a maginal actor) or John Wayne, Just not fair, . . This is very true, couldn't agree w/you more. -- Linda Alexander
  6. Hello: While I understand why some consider Taylor "wooden" in some performances . . . he was hardly dumb. One only has to review any of his written material, or watch him in an interview, to know otherwise. He was well-educated & extraordinarly well-spoken & really an amazing writer. As for his acting -- it's interesting to look at a career over the years aligned w/the actor's life. Taylor really had 2 careers: his younger "pretty boy" days & then from about the '50s on, when the studio was about done-for & he was finally taking the reins on his own career . . . Louis B. Mayer was out & Dore Schary in. Taylor's acting & roles changed dramatically. I firmly believe Mayer had a defined persona in mind for Taylor & wouldn't let him out of that. After his days were done & Taylor was still acting, that persona became harder, rougher, a cynical man's man. -- Linda Alexander
  7. Hi: For what it's worth, his name was actually Spangler Arlington Brugh. His family & close friends called him "Arly." Many others -- Barbara even, on occasion, called him "Buddy." He called her, sometimes, Queen. Others "fondly" called her Babs. -- Linda Alexander
  8. Hello: I have seen Gary Cooper's testimony on tape (most, if not all of it, anyway - Robert Taylor was NOT the only one taped, and not the only good looking one taped. That?s true. Please note ? I did NOT say Taylor was the only one taped. I said he was the only one whose appearance was publicized ahead of time, w/a scheduled appearance indicated. Good-looking or not, they were all filmed. It was a well-directed production. Literally. That is VERY different from what Robert Taylor did - at least in my mind. Gary Cooper did not participate in the intentional ruination of anyone's career. Taylor did. No, Taylor did NOT ?participate in the intentional ruination of anyone?s career.? That?s a very strong accusation & one that should not be leveled w/o a clear look into the facts. Robert Taylor did NOT name names of any Communists. Again, he was asked if there were any disruptive influences during Screen Actors Guild meetings. He replied that, yes, there were some people who seemed intent on disrupting the proceedings. He added, ?Whether or not they are Communists I don?t know.? That is verbatim & VERY clear . . . he didn?t know if anyone was, or wasn?t, a Communist. When he was then LED into giving names of those disruptive people, he did so. Repeat ? the question asked was not whether or not the named people were Communists. The reality is that the Committee already knew who was, & was not, a Communist. Card-carrying CPUSA members had their cards & party numbers put into evidence. That wasn?t something done by Robert Taylor or any of the other actors. It was quite likely an attempt by the Committee to have someone of Taylor?s visibility & popularity put a face on the issue, so they could continue w/their attempted career/personal massacre of certain industry folks. It was an intentional move on the part of the HUAC. If one reviews various testimonies in context & comparison against others, it becomes clear Taylor was led into a line of questioning that none of the other visible people, particularly actors, were led. There were those who did name names, specifically ? Walt Disney, for example. It?s necessary to look at all this in context of what else was going on. Taylor was literally threatened w/having his Navy placement taken from him by the Office of War Information & LBMayer if he didn?t do the movie, SONG OF RUSSIA. This despite the fact he was already inducted into the Navy at the time he was ordered to do the film. He was forced into 2 deferments before being allowed to finally do his Navy service . . . all the while he was actually, on the books, already in the Navy. Coercion was going on behind the scenes, & there was much that has never been publicized. Stanwyck was being threatened by reputedly communist-party individuals. Taylor was the subject of an extortion attempt. His very career was held over his head. He did not want to appear in front of the HUAC. He was initially classified as a ?reluctant witness.? Robert Taylor wrote the Committee a scathing letter after his private testimony was leaked prior to his public testimony in October. To quote a few lines: ?These investigations, the way they are being run in Washington at the moment, remind me more of a three-ring circus than of a sincere effort to rid the country of a real threat. There?s nothing any of us are going to tell them in Washington that the FBI didn?t know five years ago. Maybe it?s easier, to call twenty friendly names from Hollywood than to have a look at the FBI files! Maybe it?s better publicity for the home-state electorate too!? Yet he did appear in October. Why? Because, as already said, there were many points of his career, & his wife?s, being threatened. Also note that at the end of Taylor?s testimony he was asked seemingly odd questions by none other than Richard Nixon as to if he understood what he could be doing to his career by being there. No other testimony of any actor seems to have had such questions asked . . . Nixon: ?Mr. Taylor, as a result of your appearance before the Subcommittee on Un-American Activities in Hollywood, a few months ago, you were subject to considerable criticism and ridicule from certain left-wing quarters were you not?? Nixon: ?And as the result of your testimony and your appearance before this committee today and the stand you have taken on this issue you will be the subject of additional ridicule and criticism from those quarters; will you not?? Nixon: ?You realize, however, that your success as an actor, your livelihood as an actor, depends to a great extent upon the type of publicity you receive?? Nixon: ?And that ridicule and abuse heaped upon you has a much more serious effect than it would have upon a person who does not depend upon public acceptance of what he does? Yet you feel that under the circumstances it is your duty as an American citizen to state your views on this matter?? Nixon: ?As far as you are concerned, even though it might mean that you would suffer possibly at the box office, possibly in reputation or in other ways for you to appear before this committee, you feel you are justified in making the appearance and you would do so again if you were requested to do so??. . . . What the heck was going on THERE? As he responded to these suspicious, leading questions, Taylor acted as if he were fully aware of the tenuous place he was in . . . because surely he was aware. He acted as if he were a fully cooperative & willing responder &, insofar as no one held a gun to his head, he was. But what would any of us do? Do we really know what we?d do, what we?d say if our livelihood were threatened based on what we said? Is the position Taylor was put in by the HUAC &, honestly, by MGM, all that much different than the position the liberals were put in by the same committee? People are so ready to vilify the likes of Robert Taylor when what they should be doing is looking at the system that screwed ALL of them. Thx -- Linda Alexander
  9. And that's the beauty of freedom, isn't it? No matter how much this issue is debated, few people on either side will be brought to the other's belief. I'm not sure I can understand what was going thru any one of the minds of these folks as they sat there. I've read thru much of the "other side's" opinions, even exchanging many thought-provoking messages w/the son of Alvah Bessie who, BTW, never resorted to anything beyond pointing out what his father stood for, & even going so far as to try to understand what Taylor stood for. This is the healthy way to go about reviewing historical fact & opinion. Life is a matter of perception. It always has been, & always will be. Insofar as the comment, "No member of the CPUSA, let alone those who had only mildly leftist or liberal leanings and were unfairly condemned and blacklisted by HUAC, ever 'made a mockery' of the Constitution by abridging the rights of US citizens the way the current crew in the White House and those running Congress are, especially with their gutting of the Constitutional guarantee of habeas corpus," it really has little bearing. Taylor -- nor anyone involved in the 1940s issues -- had any awareness of what the White House would be doing in the year 2006. I may fully agree w/you there . . . but it just doesn't apply to the discussion. And no, Taylor had no "Mel Gibson-style hatemongering against Da Silva." To understand this period -- BOTH sides -- it's advisable to do some serious research & soul-searching into the America of the day, then & now. That the HUAC handled the whole thing in a hysterical, likely even unethical way isn't too much in question, from many viewpoints. To say that those who were called to sit there in front of the lights -- & Taylor was the only one filmed doing this & whose appearance was publicized ahead of time (consider the MGM PR machine hard at work on THAT one, maybe even sacrificing Taylor for the stake of the greater studio??) -- were the bad guys, we have no choice but to lump him in w/Ronald Reagan, Gary Cooper, even the "all American" John Wayne. Why has he taken the fall for all of them all these years? Taylor was not the only one who spoke up for his beliefs. He was just the one on camera doing it. Again . . . maybe MGM had a hand in that one?
  10. Hello: I'm a new TCM message board poster. I've just sold a book on the life of Robert Taylor to a California publisher & expect it on the shelves before next year's holiday season. I'm paying particular attention to his HUAC period. I posted a thread elsewhere in this forum -- Any Robert Taylor Fans? -- & have given note as to his participation in that period. He did not call anyone a communist. Many don't realize that the actual Communist Party membership cards were produced during the hearings, which for all purposes showed those up who WERE members, ie, were communists, to be exactly that. Taylor was asked if anyone caused a ruckus during Screen Actor Guild meetings. He said there were a few people. He was asked for the names of those people, & he did name, at that point, Howard Da Silva & Karen Morley. It's all a very divisive issue. The term "blacklist" was a double-edged sword. Card-carrying communists working in Hollywood prior to the committee mtgs blacklisted non-communists from working certain projects. All depends on what one believes in, really. Robert Taylor was a "Mom & Apple Pie" type American, in the same mold as Ronald Reagan, John Wayne, Ward Bond, etc, etc, & yet he was the only one who's appearance was on film & announced ahead of time, creating a publicity nightmare. No one's ever satisfactorily explained why he was put in the position he was put in, & he was the only one. This ultimately, in many ways, blacklisted HIM into eternity. . . . There's so much more to this story than has yet been brought into the open. Thx -- Linda Alexander
  11. Great photo -- unfortunately only one of very few where he wasn't holding a cigarette!
  12. leobertucelli: His name was removed from a building on the Lorimar studio lots because of his involvement in the HUAC mtgs. The effort was spearheaded by writers & producers who at that point inhabited the building. They felt he wasn't worthy of the honor . . . not for a building that now was the professional home of those who made their living doing what the previous generation folks had done -- & were "blacklisted" for doing. Obviously their politics did NOT mirror the politics of Taylor & his bunch. Some of these folks were offspring of the "blacklisted" or of folks who, in their eyes, had been given short shrift. The ironic part of it all -- the building was renamed the George Cukor Building. Not long before he died in 1983, Cukor said of Taylor: "Robert Taylor was my favorite actor. He was a gentleman. That's rare in Hollywood." Here's a link to an article written by William F. Buckley, Jr., not long after it happened: http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1282/is_n4_v42/ai_8552915 I've recently exchanged e-mails w/the writer at the head of the campaign. He still won't share information, won't go into any of the "whys," except to say that Taylor's name was removed from the building because, "his name was on the building."
  13. Your story is basically true. Taylor's mother, Ruth, was ill most of her life, off & on, in an odd way. It was a heart ailment & early on in life, before "Arlington" was born, she was in bed more than she was out of it. Short of breath, palpitations, fainting spells, etc. Doctors were stymied & couldn't diagnose her. Andrew, her husband, decided to quite his lucrative grain business & enroll in school to become an osteopath. He did exactly that &, yes, "healed" his wife enough that she was able to lead a normal life. She still easily became ill, & spent a lot of time in bed & in the hospital, but she went on to Hollywood w/her son, where he set her up well & she became part of "Hollywood Mothers" social circle. Truth is, illness or no illness, she was a strong woman. She outlived not only her husband, but her son, as well, & while they were each alive, had them wrapped around her finger. ; > Blessings -- Linda
  14. Hello: What you've heard about Taylor's involvement in anti-communist political activities are real, but not always truthfully related. There has been a spin added over the years. He was an anti-communist conservative & politically active. So was Ronald Reagan, John Wayne, Gary Cooper, SO many others. But did they get the same shadow spun over their appearance &, thus, their legacy, that Taylor did? No. Taylor was set up. He was intentionally put in front of those cameras -- w/advance notice made that he'd be there, something not done for any of the others -- because his beliefs were well know; but more, because he was so darned good-looking, the camera loved him, & he would impress "Jane & John Doe" of America w/his sparkling physical appearance & his heartfelt beliefs. That's what the folks running the show -- & it was a show -- wanted. They asked Taylor leading questions, which he answered in his bluntly honest way. That's how he was. However, never once did he say, "So and so is a communist." The 1st question asked of him: "Have you ever noticed any elements within the Screen Actors Guild that you would consider to be following the Communist Party Line? Taylor: "Well, yes, sir; I must confess that I have. I am a member of the board of directors of the Screen Actors Guild. . . . It seems to me at these meetings . . . there is always a certain group of actors and actresses whose every action would indicate to me that if they are not Communists they are working awfully hard to be Communists. . . . [a break was taken] Mr. Taylor, these people in the Screen Actors Guild who, in your opinion follow the Communist Party line, are they a disrupting influence within the organization? It seems so to me. . . . Do you recall the names of any of the actors in the guild who participated in such an activity? Well, yes sir; I can name a few who seem to sort of idsrupt things once in awhile. WHETHER OR NOT THEY ARE COMMUNISTS, I DON'T KNOW. [my caps] Would you name them for the committee, please? One chap we have currently, I think, is Mr. Howard Da Silva. He always seems to have something to say at the wrong time. Miss Karen Morley also usually appears at the guild meetings. . . . . and it all goes on. It must also be recognized that the gentlemen running the hearings, particularly Stripling, had already paraded out documented proof of anyone known to be a card-carrying communist, literally showing party registration, so anything any witness would say couldn't be construed as "naming names" because they'd already essentially named themselves by having physical proof of enlistment in the group. One other important point. Communism was very real. It was infiltrating the industry & our country. It's easy to forget the hardships perpetrated on the Russian people by the tenets of Communism, and the nasty things done to them, things they wanted to become a part of American life. And the Americans who ascribed to that ideology wanted to do so by invoking the US Constitution, which stood for something totally different. Communism negated the Constitution & made a mockery of it, so anyone who truly believed in what it meant to be an American, in that day & age, would NOT have just sat there & allowed those beliefs to be endangered. I think it's important to see all this w/actual facts & within the atmosphere of which it played out. Anyone who's going to see Taylor as that bad guy, in that atmosphere, also needs to see the "All-American" John Wayne & Ronald Reagan, Gary Cooper, George Montgomery, & quite a few others in that same light. Blessings -- Linda
  15. Fred: Thx for the info. It's one of the few Taylor films I've not yet seen, & probably one of the more instrumental insofar as his career is concerned. I have signed up TCM notifications of their films . . . so as not to miss it if it comes around any time soon. -- Linda
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