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She was as skinny as a pencil. I read somewhere that she maintained that slender figure until she died because she only ate steak. Three times a day. Don't know if it's true, but if it is, all that protein didn't seem to do her any harm.

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That was probably on her ranch in Northridge. She, Joel McCrea and Randolph Scott all followed Will Rogers' advice and bought land, lots of land, in the San Fernando Valley prior to World War II.


Helped make them millionaires later in life.


She also had a business partnership with Zeppo Marx, a nearby neighbor, and they bred racehorses as I recall.

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ELIZABETH ALLEN (1929 - 2006)



Hmmm...I see you got all the requisite "E"s and "I"s in, THIS time, eh Joe?!!! ;)


(...sorry, couldn't resist)

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Great promotional shot of Alan Ladd, Mongo. It seems that anytime there was the opportunity for it, Ladd films would have him strip off his shirt to show off his torso.


Ladd was in a lot of programers and his Paramount features (owned by Unversal) are difficult to find now. That's why Ladd is a largely forgotten star today, along with knowledge of the fact that he was once such a huge box office star. Even with the mediocrity of so many of his films (most of them action), they still made money.


Ladd was always very insecure and self-conscious about his short height for a leading man. (As a young man, his nickname had been "Tiny," which couldn't have done much for his ego).


Here's an anecdote from Steve Hayes' Googies - Coffeeshop to the Stars about a joke played on Ladd on the set of a 1953 production, Botany Bay.


The joke came about this way: We'd been shooting for several weeks and rumors were flying around that the crew was "planning something." The rest of us tried to find out what it was but no one was talking. Then one day during lunch, while Ladd was taking a nap, I noticed the crew had gathered near his trailer. . . .


Helped by Ladd's stand-in, Jimmy Cornell, the grip quietly secured the leg-irons that Ladd wore for several scenes aboard the ship to a 2x4 block of wood that the star often used in scenes to increase his height. Jimmy then locked the leg-irons to Ladd's ankles and ducked out of the trailer. Word of the joke leaked to everyone on the set and we were all "casually" sitting around the sound stage when Ladd woke up. We heard him curse as he found himself chained to the block and we were all waiting eagerly to see what would happen next.


Ladd fooled everyone. Shortly he emerged as if nothing were amiss, nonchalantly dragging the 2x4 down the trailer steps as if he didn't notice it. He then grinned, waved to everyone and in his inimitable deep gravelly voice said, "I'd like to thank the thoughtful **** who did this. Now I'll never have to worry about finding something to stand on!" And as everyone around him cracked up, he calmly made his way to the set.


We all applauded. And after Ladd was out of earshot Jimmy Cornell turned to us and said, "And that, boys and girls, is how you become a class act!"

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>Whatever floats your boat, Dargo.


Thanks for apparently accepting my overwhelming compulsion for wordplay, Joe...but I don't own a boat.


(...they're just big ol' holes in the water that ya throw...well, YOU know!) ;)

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Mongo, your Orson Welles photo made me think of a colourful anecdote from Errol Flynn's autobiography that involved the Boy Wonder and the night that a number of Hollywood legends met each other for the first time.


The anecdote must be prefaced by a reminder that Big Boy Williams, one of the participants, was a big, rough tough cowboy character actor who had been the star of some "B" westerns and occasionally played side kick (along with Alan Hale) to Flynn in some of his big "A" productions. No one in their right mind would want to get on Big Boy's bad side.


Flynn wrote:


One of Big Boy's inexplicable hates -and I don't know the basis- was Orson Welles.


Welles had always wanted to meet John Barrymore. One night, not long after Welles arrived in Hollywood, they met.


Welles wore a beard in those days. Perhaps that is what inspired this dislike of him in Big Boy - to the point where he went into a store with me one day, purchased a great big ham, plastered a beard on it, and sent it to Welles - his way of showing disapproval.


This night several of us were gathered around a table at Mike Romanoff's (night club). Mike's place had just opened. A lot of us came to his support, for he was a very popular figure, a self-proclaimed bum in those days, but a character and a lot of fun. Jack Barrymore, Pat O'Brien, Big Boy and myself were at this table.


For all his enormous size and strength, Big Boy was a hypersensitive fellow, and if he was slighted in any way, tears would come to his eyes and drop into his drinkin' whiskey, as he called it. Jack thought Williams was amusing and liked him enormously . . . me too.


Orson made one of his dramatic entrances. He stood at the door, filling it, his beard outthrust like a challenge.


Pat O'Brien glanced over. "Hi - there's Orson Welles."


Big Boy swung around, glaring.


Barrymore, absent-mindedly, for it was late in his life now and he was drinking heavily, looked puzzled. "Orson Welles?" he inquired. "Where's that?" He was under the impression that Orson Welles was some kind of watering hole or spa, like Tunbridge Welles, or Baden-Baden, some place where you take the waters.


Pat knew Orson. I didn't. Neither did Jack, neither did Big Boy.


I could feel Big Boy stiffen. Those tremendous muscles went tense against my arm. He took a big breath, filled with dislike.


Pat called, "Orson . . ."


Orson approached our table. "Hello, Pat." They shook hands across the boards.


Orson was the boy genius of the day. He had everybody's attention. Everybody in Romanoff's looked up to see him at our table, impressed with his size, his bearing and his sudden Promethian reputation. I personally had a tremendous respect for him as a showman, aside from his being a hell of an actor.


Big Boy kept staring at the Easterner rancorously.


Finally, in his low growl of a voice, Big Boy said, with emphasis, "You stupid lookin' b-----d!"


Welles' bushy eyebrows lifted.


Big Boy enlarged upon his theme. "In all my **** life I have never seen a more hammy, stupid lookin' piece of blubber than you!"


I, from one side, gave him a jolt in the ribs. Pat O'Brien, on the other, must have done the same, because Big Boy grunted as if an Indian arrow had got him.


Then a fraqmentary silence.


Big Boy said, "I would like to try that beard" - as if it were phony. And one big paw came up and pulled it.


The beard didn't come off.


Affronted, Welles took a measuring look at Big Boy, probably one of the most powerful men you could ever find. He growled in that familiar voice, "Sir, obviously we had better go outside and settle this."


That tickled Big Boy. "You silly b-----d! You go outside with me?"


Even Barrymore for once was silent, though he naturally enjoyed it. Anything like this pleased the Great Profile.


I thought a helluva lot of Orson's guts at that moment, for he was obviously no match for Big Boy. I hissed into Williams' ear, "Listen, you clunk, shut your trap! Leave the guy alone!"


Big Boy looked at me like a little boy, appealingly, but rebuffed. He decided to take the matter no further.


I got up and said, "Sir, it has been a great pleasure to meet you."


Welles, in ruffled Shakespearean style, decided that there was no point in making any more of it. That night he had all the guts there was in Hollywood.




Big Boy Williams

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Tom, that was a great story. His name should have been Bad Boy Williams and someone I would hasten to know.

Orson should have sat on him.


Tracy, Elizabeth Allen is not related to Montgomery and Agnes Moorehead played her mom on "Bewitched".

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