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Larry's Classic Star Reminiscences


vecchiolarry
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Jack,

 

There must be archives of films showing all these people working and I think it would behove TCM, who must own them now, to show Helen Rose working and Lillian Burns teaching Gloria De Haven and Debbie Reynolds how to speak, walk and deport.

There was always someone filming something and a good documentary maker could gather up all this material and show us who was who and what they looked like. Douglas Shearer, fo instance, was at MGM longer than Norma, his sister, but no movie buff probably knows what he looked like.

TCM should mine their resources and put out a docu on the working men and women and the stock company of some of the studios.

 

Larry

 

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Chris,

 

Another picture that my brother, Mark, and I weren't cut out of was "The Ten Commandments". They play that one every Easter here in Canada.

We are in the departure scenes of the Israelites. Mark and I are trying to get a donkey moving off it's ****.... Hey, how's that for a witticism - donkey off it's ****!!! Danny Kaye move over.....

 

If you want to see "The Vagabond King", you're in for a long boring, dreary night. This movie was not even going to be released because it was so bad. But, Mark and I are in the first 20 minutes of it, so good luck.

 

Larry

 

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Hello Everyone,

 

Today, Canada is issuing a postage stamp to honour Fay Wray, who was born in Cardston, Alberta in 1907.

Eventually, there will be stamps issued to honour Mary Pickford, John Candy and Lorne Greene.

 

Larry

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  • 2 weeks later...

Larry in between my Dell laptop wearing out after just 4 years and then once I got my new laptop, TCM's technical issues (which prevented me from posting until their staff fixed my login today), so the bottom line is I am glad your surgery was successful, and I hope your back is feeling better!

 

It is great that the Pola Negri documentary is coming to MOMA in September, I will check their website and definitely make a point of seeing it.

 

And I did not know you were in movies as a child! And with Ava Gardner, too! I just finished reading the new biography about her life. It is a must-read. Wow, what a life she led, exuberant and sad all at the same time.

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Hi Richard,

 

I am so glad to hear from you! I?ve wondered what?s become of you; so many old friends here are now absent.

 

Haven?t heard any more about the Pola Negri documentary & MOMA. It played in LA and at Cannes, but those Polish dipstiks have never kept me informed about how any of it went?.. Oh well, I?ll be in Russia when it plays NYC.

If it does play there and you see it, I know you?ll let me know how it went??.

 

I only knew Ava on the set of ?Show Boat?. She taught me how to play poker and how to swear. She was a scamp? I was 9?..

Frank Sinatra put the kibosh on me hanging around her though. He?d clip me on the head and sneer, ?Scam, kid? or ?Beat it??? Ava would put her arm around me and give me a little cheek to cheek or a kiss and say (purr actually, I can still hear her), ?Run along, baby, Ava loves you???.

 

As you can imagine, nobody can say a bad word or a wrong one to me about Ava Gardner?

 

I hope you are well, Richard, and everything going better for you, technology-wise.

 

Regards,

Larry

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Sorry to read your mention of your childhood impression of Sinatra. It reminds me that even though the guy was the greatest interpreter of American song in the 20th century, he wasn't a particularly "evolved" human being, at least at that stage of his tempestuous life with Miss Gardner. I'm glad to hear that Ava Gardner was a good egg, however. Maybe she liked you because you didn't really want anything from her.

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Hi Larry,

 

Wow, 26 pages of some great stories. Too bad you can't write a book about Nell and her contemporaries it would be a great read.

 

I'll play movie fan and ask two questions.

Did you ever meet Myrna Loy - (one of my all time favorites) and did you ever have the occasion to come across Groucho Marx? Or any of the brothers for that matter.

 

Keep writing the reminiscences and I'll keep reading.

Great stuff!

 

-Brian

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Hello Brian,

 

Well, I see you're from Canada too. We had Prince Edward and his wife, Sophie, her in Calgary to visit just yesterday. Of course, he's not the Prince Edward that your island is named after but they are related down the centuries.....

 

No, I did not know Myrna Loy. She lived in New York City after WWII and never lived in LA again. I hear she was a great girl though and had a wonderful sense of humour. She was a good friend of Joan Crawford.

 

I've seen all the Marx Bros. - especially Zeppo and Harpo - but they didn't look like they did in the movies and they weren't crazy and zany either. They looked ordinary. I didn't know any of them though.

 

Regards,

Larry

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Larry,

 

Thanks for the quick answers!

The Marx Bros. were my introduction to the world of "classic" movies.

The CBC used to run old movies late night back in the early seventies, and my first viewing of "A Night at the Opera" was the beginning of my love for classic movies.

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Hi,

 

Our local TV station is playing "The Farmer's Daughter" with Loretta Young. I have never seen this movie before, even though I knew Miss Young and her whole family very well and she won an Oscar for it. It's pretty good.

Only about 5 months ago, I finally viewed "The Bishop's Wife" at last.

 

This triggered a memory from the dark ages for me:

When I was about 6 or 7, I stayed overnight at her house and we all played 'hide & seek'. I hid under a big, ugly green satin dress in her closet and no one could find me. Later, I learned that this gown was what she wore when she won her Academy Award.

Soon, Loretta's mother, Gladys came in and discovered that I was hiding in this dress. She peer in and said, "Come on out, honey, before Gretchen finds out where you've been hiding. Nobody touchs this dress; it's like 'The Shroud of Turin'!!"......

 

Many years later, in 1998, when I last saw her in Palm Springs, I told her about my adventure. She roared with laughter and said that the dress deteriorated so badly by 1965 that she had had to burn it. And, she told me that only she and me had ever been in that dress.

I gasped and said, "My Gawd, Aunt Gretch, you burned 'The Shroud of Hollywood'!!".... We had a good big laugh.

 

That's how I remember her now. She died in 2000.

 

Larry

 

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A friend's mother waited on Loretta Young years ago at the Toll House Inn restaurant, in Whitman, MA. She recalls she came in with her little dog and sat down at her station. The restaurant was built around some apple trees and people sat beneath their branches while dining. Just as my friend's mother was about to serve Loretta Young her french onion soup, an apple dropped, landing right in the soup bowl, splashing a little on her. Loretta was good about it, but everyone was mortified. The apples never fell before, it figures they'd start when you have someone like Loretta Young dining there for the first time.

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Hi,

 

Actually, my grandmother once dressed me up as "Aunt Jemima" with black face (burnt cork), head scarf and raggy dress for Hallowe'en. I was 8, I think.

But, that ended my transvestite career!

Much later, as an adult (21) I went as a baby, complete with bonnet, diaper and rattle and caught pneumonia. One wonders if I've ever grown up!!!

 

I did not know John Ireland. I saw him at the Oscars in '63; he gave Joan Crawford a great big smooch and she lambasted him for ruining her lipstick. He hightailed it out of her dressing room lickety split, I can tell you.

Other than that - nada... Sorry

 

Larry

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Hi Matt,

 

She would have probably seen the humour in that apple in her soup... She was a good egg, really!

 

Years ago in a NYC restaurant, a waiter spilled maranara sauce all over Ilka Chase and to paraphase, she simply said, "It kind of matches the outfit but I wish someone would spill ice water on me as this stuff is HOT!!!"......

 

Larry

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi,

 

For those of you who are interested --

Several of you have expressed interest in Nell, my grandmother. I have expanded on her for several of you in private E-Mails but now she has her photograph in "Majesty" magazine for all to see.

Although not identified, she is in the bottom picture on page 37, with Prince Philip taken in 1951.

Frank Sinatra, Ava Gardner, Comtesse de Seraincourt (my Aunt Marguerite), Prince Philip and Nell are all at a dinner party at the Dorchester Hotel in London.

Marguerite is the lady who lived in Chateau Villette in Paris, that was used in "The Da Vinci Code" (Ian McKellan's house). She died 2 years later. She would have been about 65 in 1951 and Nell was 61. I think this was Nell's birthday party, if I'm not mistaken. I was further down the table, sitting beside a Russian Grand Duchess (Militza).......

 

So, if you want a look at Nell try and find this magazine.

 

Larry

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Hello Everyone,

 

 

Today, Canada is issuing a postage stamp to honour Fay Wray, who was born in Cardston, Alberta in 1907.

 

Eventually, there will be stamps issued to honour Mary Pickford, John Candy and Lorne Greene.

 

 

Larry

 

 

 

That's cool,Larry! I realised a while back that my two most favorite actresses-Mary Pickford and Norma Shearer-were born in Canada.

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Good morning, Larry and everyone,

 

I cannot wait to get the issue of Majesty. The Tower Records in town carries it and I have put it on my shopping list for this weekend.

I have two questions for you. First, did you ever travel aboard the SS United States? She is docked in Philadelphia and only presents a faded shell of her former self. I have seen some photos from her glory days and although rumors abound that she is to be restored a la the RMS Queen Mary, nothing is happening.

Second, did you ever meet A. C. Lyles? He is such a gentleman, not to mention sartorially splendid, and I always enjoy seeing him in interviews.

 

Thanks! - Susan

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Hi,

 

Susan -

I was on the USS United States once in early January 1955 coming back to NYC from Southampton, England. On board with me was Merle Oberon, whom I insisted needed an Oscar campaign for "Desiree". When we reached NYC though Rosalind Russell put the kybosh on that though telling her not to run in Supporting as she was a star. Thus my campaign died.

The ship was a biggy and fast, getting us into NYC in 4 days.

Yes, I did know A.C. Lyles very well. He is still alive and makes appearances occasionally around town, mostly restaurants.

 

Cinemabuff -

Ther is explanations on this thread and others about my celebrity meetings but briefly - I lived in LA off and on in the 50's and many of the silent stars were friends of my grandmother. I visited a couple of movie studios too and generally made a nusance of myself getting to know many more.

 

Larry

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Hello Larry and Everyone,

 

I secured my copy of Majesty over the weekend and was delighted to see the

picture of your grandmother Nell, Aunt Marguerite, Prince Philip and Frank and Ava. It must have been, to quote Noel Coward, ?a marvelous party?!

 

As an aside, I was also intrigued to read the article on the royal jewels. A friend of mine, who lives in Somerset, UK, sent me the catalogs from the recent auction of HRH Princess Margaret?s collections. It was fascinating reading, but also terribly sad to see such personal items put up on the block, especially ones with handwritten messages from ?Grannie Mary R?. Certainly you must have met Princess Margaret, any stories you can tell?

 

Thank you so much for sharing these vignettes of your life with us, Larry. I look forward with pleasure to each installment.

 

-Susan

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Hi Susan,

 

Glad you got a copy of the magazine. I don't think it's widely circulated in the US, as most people are not interested in royalty there. In Canada, it is sold more as we are associated more with The Queen.

No, I never did meet Princess Margaret. When I lived in Edmonton, she visited the city and I did see her **** end getting into a car, but that's it.

There was a mauve Faberge clock that was auctioned off in her possessions that my mother wanted. She authorized an agent to go to $10,000.00 but the thing went way over that, so she missed out.

 

Nell was a good friend to Louis Mountbatten but most of the rest of them are or were too stuffy for her. As you can see, she was a party girl and laughing and joking (risque even) were her thing! Merle Oberon was more a friend of Prince Philip's. She would have been there too and that's how PP got in the party.....

 

Larry

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Hi Larry,

 

I am a complete Anglophile. Ted was my first serious boyfriend and although we broke off romantically some time ago we have maintained a friendship of over 25 years, he sends me these little royal tidbits from time to time. I know that clock, it is gorgeous, unfortunately it was probably snapped up by Joan Rivers to copy and hawk on TV (she says with disgust).

 

Hope you are enjoying good weather, it is pouring buckets here in Philadelphia, a perfect day to get out my Duke and Duchess of Windsor auction catalogs and Princess Margaret?s make some tea and compose a letter to my friend across the pond.

 

Thanks again!

 

-Susan

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Nell was a good friend to Louis Mountbatten but most of the rest of them are or were too stuffy for her.

 

 

 

 

That's cool Larry! Did your grandmother know or ever meet Barbara Cartland? I know that I shouldn't admit it,LOL,but I love her books,and she seemed like one interesting (in a rather wacky way) lady. I ask because she also was good friends with Louis Mountbatten.

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