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What Current Big Stars Will Be Forgotten?


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Jeanine Basinger probably meant IN THE STUDIO OLD DAYS. She wrote Silent Stars in which she passed on the erroneous information that Marion Davies starred in the movie serial Beatrice Fairfax (she most certainly never appeared in a serial), and also wrote The Star Machine and another one about marriage in the movies.

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3 hours ago, drednm said:

Jeanine Basinger probably meant IN THE STUDIO OLD DAYS. She wrote Silent Stars in which she passed on the erroneous information that Marion Davies starred in the movie serial Beatrice Fairfax (she most certainly never appeared in a serial), and also wrote The Star Machine and another one about marriage in the movies.

So you are saying Basinger is not exactly a reliable source..?

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20 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

So you are saying Basinger is not exactly a reliable source..?

I caught just the one error she had forwarded from Fred Lawrence Guiles' 1972 biography of Marion Davies.

The serial has been housed at Library of Congress for many decades. While Guiles may not have had access to it, Basinger certainly did. It's no on DVD and stars Grace Darling and Harry Fox. Filmed in Ithaca, and it's quite good. Hearst financed it, but Davies never had anything to do with it. It was released in 1916, before Davies had made a film.

 

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3 minutes ago, drednm said:

I caught just the one error she had forwarded from Fred Lawrence Guiles' 1972 biography of Marion Davies.

The serial has been housed at Library of Congress for many decades. While Guiles may not have had access to it, Basinger certainly did. It's no on DVD and stars Grace Darling and Harry Fox. Filmed in Ithaca, and it's quite good. Hearst financed it, but Davies never had anything to do with it. It was released in 1916, before Davies had made a film.

Interesting. Always helps to get additional background information!

Were there a lot of films Hearst financed that Marion had no direct involvement with..?

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41 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

Interesting. Always helps to get additional background information!

Were there a lot of films Hearst financed that Marion had no direct involvement with..?

Hearst is hugely underrated as a movie producer. His rep as a media mogul totally overshadows his work in movies. Thru Cosmopolitan, he produced 95 films (according to IMDb) though most of his "hands on" approach was limited to Davies' films. He rarely took a screen credit for this work. Davies herself was credited with producing 16 films (and was indeed actively involved in her film projects. Cosmopolitan's other big silent star was Alma Rubens.

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6 minutes ago, drednm said:

Hearst is hugely underrated as a movie producer. His rep as a media mogul totally overshadows his work in movies. Thru Cosmopolitan, he produced 95 films (according to IMDb) though most of his "hands on" approach was limited to Davies' films. He rarely took a screen credit for this work. Davies herself was credited with producing 16 films (and was indeed actively involved in her film projects. Cosmopolitan's other big silent star was Alma Rubens.

Thanks. So Cosmopolitan was an independent production company. But its movies were done on studio sets, predominately MGM and WB. Or is there more to it?

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36 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

Thanks. So Cosmopolitan was an independent production company. But its movies were done on studio sets, predominately MGM and WB. Or is there more to it?

Cosmopolitan was its own studio in New York City until it burned to the ground in 1923. After that Hearst rented studio space until they moved to the West Coast. Through most of the early 20s Hearst/Cosmopolitan released its films thru Paramount until 1925 (I think) when Hearst signed on with the newly merged MGM which combined stars and resources from the old Metro and Goldwyn and brought in Louis B. Mayer as a producer and executive. MGM released all of Davies' films til 1934. Hearst still rented studio space and did a lot of location shooting until MGM studio space was available. Hearst and MGM had a unique deal in that (according to the Hearst biography by David Nasaw) Hearst picked up 40% of the production costs and Davies' salary ($10,000 per week) and MGM picked up the other 60% but got mammoth publicity for ALL its films thru Hearst's media empire of newspapers and magazines. Hearst also picked up the costs of any "extras" he wanted in a Davies film. Davies was also an officer of Cosmopolitan as a film producer and pulled down a salary there too.  It was a golden deal for Hearst and for MGM. Davies also reigned as one of the highest paid stars in movies at Hollywood's biggest and most prestigious studio.

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35 minutes ago, drednm said:

Cosmopolitan was its own studio in New York City until it burned to the ground in 1923. After that Hearst rented studio space until they moved to the West Coast. Through most of the early 20s Hearst/Cosmopolitan released its films thru Paramount until 1925 (I think) when Hearst signed on with the newly merged MGM which combined stars and resources from the old Metro and Goldwyn and brought in Louis B. Mayer as a producer and executive. MGM released all of Davies' films til 1934. Hearst still rented studio space and did a lot of location shooting until MGM studio space was available. Hearst and MGM had a unique deal in that (according to the Hearst biography by David Nasaw) Hearst picked up 40% of the production costs and Davies' salary ($10,000 per week) and MGM picked up the other 60% but got mammoth publicity for ALL its films thru Hearst's media empire of newspapers and magazines. Hearst also picked up the costs of any "extras" he wanted in a Davies film. Davies was also an officer of Cosmopolitan as a film producer and pulled down a salary there too.  It was a golden deal for Hearst and for MGM. Davies also reigned as one of the highest paid stars in movies at Hollywood's biggest and most prestigious studio.

Thanks for going over all that in detail. I am guessing it's covered to some extent in your book, which readers might want to check out. I'd forgotten she had films released through Paramount in the 1920s. As we know, she moved over to Warners from 1934-1937.

Was there ever any attempt to put her on TV? Or was she basically retired after her last film? And what about radio? A lot of stars publicized their films by doing condensed versions on radio programs. But we never hear about her being on radio. I know she had a slight speech impediment, so maybe that's why she shied away from radio and live TV..?

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Davies did several radio shows that survive. When she and Hearst bailed from Warners he tried to set up another sweetheart deal at another studio but nothing ever materialized. After 20 years of making movies she announced her retirement. She remained a social force in Hollywood until WW II basically changed everything. After Hearst's death she produced a story idea of hers as a TV show. A pilot was shot (it survives) called Meet the Family and it starred Arthur and Patricia Lake (and their 2 kids) as themselves in a take-off of "Ozzie and Harriet." It also featured Hans Conried and Marcia Mae Jones. Patricia Van Cleve Lake is now presumed to have been Marion's daughter. The kids, Arthur Lake Jr. and Marion Lake, survive. The show is not bad at all but was not picked up by any network. Davies did not appear.

She attended the wedding of JFK in 1953 and was an honored guest at his inauguration in Washington on January 20, 1961. I believe that was her last public appearance. She died from cancer September 22, 1961.

Davies' last filmed appearance was in 1960 when she made a brief appearance on "Hedda Hopper's Hollywood," a TV show. This footage mostly survives. As Hopper wanders around a Beverly Hills swimming pool she talks briefly about Davies. We then see a stunningly beautiful Davies who says (with a little effort) "It's so nice to have you here. Welcome to my home." The camera then pans across a room and shows two of the lifeisize oil paintings of Davies by Federico Beltran Masses. One is of Davies as Patrick in LITTLE OLD NEW YORK; the other is of her as Fely in LIGHTS OF OLD BROADWAY. By the time this was filmed, she had had surgery on her jaw for cancer and she'd suffered a slight stroke. But at 63, she's very beautiful.

Hopper had played her adopted mother in Zander the Great in 1925 and they remained close friends.

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10 minutes ago, drednm said:

Davies did several radio shows that survive. When she and Hearst bailed from Warners he tried to set up another sweetheart deal at another studio but nothing ever materialized. After 20 years of making movies she announced her retirement. She remained a social force in Hollywood until WW II basically changed everything. After Hearst's death she produced a story idea of hers as a TV show. A pilot was shot (it survives) called Meet the Family and it starred Arthur and Patricia Lake (and their 2 kids) as themselves in a take-off of "Ozzie and Harriet." It also featured Hans Conried and Marcia Mae Jones. Patricia Van Cleve Lake is now presumed to have been Marion's daughter. The kids, Arthur Lake Jr. and Marion Lake, survive. The show is not bad at all but was not picked up by any network. Davies did not appear.

She attended the wedding of JFK in 1953 and was an honored guest at his inauguration in Washington on January 20, 1961. I believe that was her last public appearance. She died from cancer September 22, 1961.

Davies' last filmed appearance was in 1960 when she made a brief appearance on "Hedda Hopper's Hollywood," a TV show. This footage mostly survives. As Hopper wanders around a Beverly Hills swimming pool she talks briefly about Davies. We then see a stunningly beautiful Davies who says (with a little effort) "It's so nice to have you here. Welcome to my home." The camera then pans across a room and shows two of the lifeisize oil paintings of Davies by Federico Beltran Masses. One is of Davies as Patrick in LITTLE OLD NEW YORK; the other is of her as Fely in LIGHTS OF OLD BROADWAY. By the time this was filmed, she had had surgery on her jaw for cancer and she'd suffered a slight stroke. But at 63, she's very beautiful.

Hopper had played her adopted mother in Zander the Great in 1925 and they remained close friends.

Great information. Thanks for filling in the gaps. Is this all in your book?

So Arthur Lake Jr and Marion Lake were in fact her grandchildren. Have you ever tried speaking with them about Marion Davies? 

And where did you see Meet the Family? Is it at UCLA, or some other archive?

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9 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

Great information. Thanks for filling in the gaps. Is this all in your book?

So Arthur Lake Jr and Marion Lake were in fact her grandchildren. Have you ever tried speaking with them about Marion Davies? 

And where did you see Meet the Family? Is it at UCLA, or some other archive?

All the TV stuff is on YT. No I've never contacted them. No my book only deals with the silent films.

I am, however, working on another book....

 

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On 9/25/2018 at 4:01 PM, TopBilled said:

Some confession time (I'm Catholic so of course confession's part of the regular routine)--

Sometimes, being very aware of how things and people become forgotten, I specifically go on to YouTube, find some poverty row film in the public domain. A film where I am sure to know NONE of the actors. And I watch it. It's worth giving an hour of my time to, because then I look up the leads and study their careers. 

I may even write about them and about the movie on this site so they can be found later when someone's doing a search. In these small ways we can contribute to keeping part of motion picture history alive.

It doesn't all have to be about the Bette Davises, Marilyn Monroes and Clint Eastwoods. Time is the great leveler. All the so-called great stars we know now-- will in a hundred years be on some sort of equal ground with the poverty row stars I've discovered. They will all be obscure. And hopefully people will come along later and rediscover Bette, Marilyn and Clint.

None of these people are going to be known like Jesus two thousand years from now. But then again, maybe they will be if technology allows it and the information remains accessible.

Amen.

You are so right, TB. One can find treasures anywhere that are undiscovered. And even if not a bonafide treasure, still it is fun to see films one has never even heard of possibly.

 

Good show!

P.S. Do you go to Confession if you watch a Pre-Code film, with people like Anita Page in lingerie?

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1 hour ago, CaveGirl said:

You are so right, TB. One can find treasures anywhere that are undiscovered. And even if not a bonafide treasure, still it is fun to see films one has never even heard of possibly.

Good show!

P.S. Do you go to Confession if you watch a Pre-Code film, with people like Anita Page in lingerie?

I try not to watch too many precodes because then I will be going to confession too much. Anita Page films are strictly out of the question.

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1 hour ago, TopBilled said:

I try not to watch too many precodes because then I will be going to confession too much. Anita Page films are strictly out of the question.

Wasn't there a joke( or perhaps a scene in some movie) about some adolescent kid in confession telling the priest about "impure relations" with a girl and the priest asking was it this girl or that to which the boy says "no" each time, and when he leaves the booth a friend asks him how it went, the kid tells him  "He gave me four Hail Mary's and five good leads!"  :D 

Not (thankfully) being Catholic, I know not the minute details of the confession thing.  ;)

Sepiatone

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On 9/28/2018 at 3:22 AM, cigarjoe said:

This has validity. An actor who was known as just a TV actor playing a second banana character Rowdy Yates, made a cheapo Western in Spain with an Italian director. The film was A Fistful of Dollars (1964). Now, you may ask,  how does that fit the above paradigm?

That film 1964 wasn't released here in the U.S. until January 18 1967, his next film For a Few Dollars More (1965) came out four months later in May on the 10th. 1967, and the third film The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) came out seven months after that on the 29th of  December 1967. 

That is three films (in the U.S.) in one year, the star, Clint Eastwood.

Excellent example, Joe. Clint had a solid movie star image after those three films.

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  • 1 year later...

All Stars will be forgotten eventually. Just look at today ; Humphrey Bogart and Cary Grant were major stars in their day, but are mostly forgotten today by everyone except film enthusiasts. 

 

Few, if any celebrities, will be remembered throughout time, and the ones that do must have had a significant impact during their lives(I. E. Marilyn Monroe or Elvis Presley) 

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