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Troubled Actress Gail Russell Gail Russell was a dark-eyed beauty who starred with some of the most popular leading men in Hollywood in the 1940s and 1950s, including John Wayne, Joel McCrae and Alan Ladd. Born in Chicago on September 21, 1924, Russell was a shy child and often hid beneath her parents' piano when they entertained. The family moved to Los Angeles when she was 14. Even though art was Russell’s passion, her mother convinced her to audition at Paramount Studios. Gail was offered a standard seven-year contract at $50 a week. Upon graduating from high school, she signed with Paramount. Russell suffered terribly from stage fright. She made her first film appearance at 19 in Henry Aldrich Gets Glamour. The following year she appeared in Lady in the Dark. Although Russell’s role was minor, the film was nominated for three Oscars, which boosted her career. Russell's raven hair and enigmatic beauty was particularly suited to the ghost story plot of The Uninvited, her second film of 1944. During filming, Russell’s stage fright was so great that one of her co-stars suggested alcohol as a means to calm her nerves. Russell completed the film, but lost 20 pounds and later suffered a nervous breakdown. This film was also nominated for an Oscar, drawing even more attention to the young starlet. Russell played Emily Kimbrough in the 1944 comedy Our Hearts Were Young and Gay. The following year she starred as a schoolteacher opposite Alan Ladd in Salty O'Rouke, another Oscar-nominated film, then with Joel McCrae in the supernatural tale The Unseen. In 1946 she starred in Our Hearts Were Growing Up, a sequel with Diana Lynn. Before the year was over she completed yet another movie, The Bachelor’s Daughters, with Adolphe Menjou. Still, Russell continued to experience stage fright, liberally using alcohol to deal with it. In 1947, Russell performed one of her most famous roles as the innocent Quaker love of John Wayne in The Angel and the Badman. Rumors circulated that Russell and Wayne were having an affair, though they both denied anything more than friendship. In 1949, Russell once again starred as John Wayne's love interest in Wake of the Red Witch. When she learned that her husband had cast Russell in this role, John Wayne’s wife, actress Esperanza (Chata) Bauer, exploded in an alcoholic, jealous rage. When Wayne returned home late from the cast party, Bauer aimed a gun at her husband and pulled the trigger. The bullet barely missed Wayne’s head. Months later, Russell married her long-time boyfriend, television actor Guy Madison. In 1953, Russell was called to testify in John Wayne’s divorce trial and once again, Russell and Wayne both denied the affair. Two weeks later Russell was arrested for drunk driving, which fueled more rumors about an affair and caused serious damage to her marriage. Her alcoholic reputation so troubled Paramount executives they refused to renew her contract. Then Russell and Madison divorced, adding to her despair. In 1955, Russell left the scene of the crime after rear-ending another vehicle while intoxicated. In 1957 she drove her new convertible through the glass windows of Jan's Restaurant in Beverly Hills, pinning the janitor beneath her vehicle. Russell was picked up by Universal Studios and continued to star with some of the most famous names in Hollywood, including Randolph Scott. However, in August of 1957, when she failed to appear in court, officers were sent to her home and found her drunk and unconscious. The hearing was held at General Hospital where she was bedridden with severe effects from alcoholism. She joined Alcoholics Anonymous and stayed with this organization for a year, to no avail. In 1961, Russell starred in her last movie, The Silent Call. When filming was completed, she locked herself in her Los Angeles studio apartment, sketching and drinking. On August 27, 1961 Russell died from an alcohol-induced heart attack. She was just 36.
Tags: actress  Gail  Russell 
Added: 18th December 2010
Views: 4892
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Posted By: Lava1964
Stayin Alive - Jo Stafford Jo Elizabeth Stafford was an American singer of traditional pop music and jazz standards whose career ran from the late 1930s to the early 1960s. Stafford was greatly admired for the purity of her voice and was considered one of the most versatile vocalists of the era. Throughout the 1950s, Stafford and Paul Weston would entertain guests at parties by putting on a skit in which they assumed the identities Jonathan and Darlene Edwards, a bad lounge act. Stafford, as Darlene, would sing off-key in a high pitched voice; Weston, as Jonathan, played an untuned piano off key and with bizarre rhythms.
Tags: Jo  Elizabeth  Stafford,  Paul  Weston,  parody,  comedy,  bad  lounge  act,  off  key   
Added: 3rd January 2011
Views: 2138
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Posted By: Music Maiden
Laurel and Hardy - The Music Box The comedy team of Laurel & Hardy made dozens of short comedies in both the silent and sound eras of film. (Their voices so perfectly matched their characters that the transition to sound movies was no problem at all.) Many L&H fans declare the Oscar-winning 1932 featurette The Music Box to be their best short film. The plot is simple: L&H go into the cartage business and have to deliver a piano to an address located atop a large flight of stairs. The normal accidents, complications and catastrophes arise. The menacing concrete staircase still exists as a public walkway and is something of a tourist attraction. (It's located on Vendrome Street in Los Angeles.) A historic plaque was added to the stairs in 1993. A tall sign identifying 'Music Box Stairs' points L&H fans to the location.
Tags: Laurel  Hardy  film  Music  Box  stairs 
Added: 21st February 2011
Views: 3194
Rating:
Posted By: Lava1964
Hedy Lamar - Brains and Beauty Hedy Lamar combined brains and beauty. Her flight to America would make an excellent movie! Hedy was born in Austria in 1916. At age 17 - in the 1933 Czech film Ecstasy - she appeared in a steamy love scene, and swam nude in a 10 minute onscreen sequence. Ecstasy was banned in America for being indecent. At 19, her parents gave her into an arranged marriage with an Austrian arms dealer. She attended hundreds of parties as his trophy wife, mingling many times with Hitler and Mussolini, and lived in the Salzberg castle where The Sound of Music was later filmed. Hedy's husband was a control freak, and she fled him in dramatic fashions. In her first attempt, with her husband chasing her, she hid in a brothel. In desperation, with her husband stalking the halls of the brothel, she actually serviced a customer during her attempt to hide. In a later, successful escape, Hedy hired a maid who looked like her. She drugged the maid, donned her uniform, exited by the service entrance, and made her way to London. In some versions of this story, she escaped during a party, taking most of her jewels with her. Hedy later boarded a ship for America, and Louis B. Mayer signed her to a studio contract while en route to America, and still aboard ship. She must have been brilliant. While in America, Hedy co-invented a system of switching frequencies which is still used by the U.S. military to control some missiles. It's principles are also used in wireless internet technology, and in many cellphones. She got the idea while playing piano duets with her co-inventor: composer George Antheil. She would follow Antheil on the piano as he - switching from key to key and rhythm to rhythm - attempted both to throw her off, and to create interesting interplay.
Tags: actress  Hedy  Lamar 
Added: 25th August 2011
Views: 2736
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Posted By: Lava1964
Johnnie Ray 1927-1990 Johnnie Ray is almost forgotten today, but he was a huge singing star in the early 1950s. At the peak of his career, Ray's income was $35,000 a week. Born in Oregon in 1927, Ray had top 40 hits until 1957. Despite being skinny, pigeon-toed, half-deaf and effeminate, this highly emotional performer was the most popular male singer of the pre-Elvis Presely era. Indeed, when Elvis first started out, he was often introduced on stage as "the new Johnnie Ray". Known as "the Prince of Wails" for his distinctive singing style, Ray is mostly remembered for his lip-quivering early 1950s hits such as Cry; Please, Mr Sun; and The Little White Cloud That Cried. His live performances, in which he sometimes played the piano, were wildly unpredictable. It was not uncommon for Ray to break into tears or flop to the stage floor while belting out a tune. His 1954 recording of Such A Night was the first chart hit to be banned by the BBC for its "suggestive" lyrics. Several American radio stations followed suit. Nevertheless, it still ended up topping the British charts. Ray had an interesting personal life: He became deaf in his right ear at age 13 after an accident at a Boy Scout camp and prominently wore a large hearing aid for the rest of his life. He was twice arrested in Detroit for soliciting sex from men. The first arrest was in 1951 just before he became famous. (He quietly pled guilty and paid a fine.) The second arrest was in 1959, but he was acquitted by an all-female jury. He is rumored to have had a long affair with newspaper writer Dorothy Kilgallen (of What's My Line? fame) that began after his first of two mystery guest appearances on the show. Ray was a heavy drinker who was hospitalized for alcoholism in 1960. He died in 1990, at age 63, from liver disease.
Tags: Johnnie  Ray  singer 
Added: 17th January 2012
Views: 5144
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Posted By: Lava1964
Lauren Bacall and Harry Truman The photograph from February 1945, taken at the National Press Club in Washington, was considered almost scandalous in its day: Lauren Bacall, a sultry 20-year-old Hollywood newcomer, sits on a piano being played by Vice-President Harry Truman.
Tags: piano  Harry  Truman  Lauren  Bacall 
Added: 6th April 2012
Views: 5365
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Posted By: Lava1964
Laurel and Hardy - The Music Box (1932) This is the full (27-minute) version of Laurel and Hardy's classic 1932 comedy The Music Box in beautiful black and white (as it should be!). The premise is simple: L&H are hired to deliver a piano to an address which requires them to haul it up a monumental flight of stairs. This film won an Academy Award for best short subject. It was filmed on location in a residential area of Los Angeles. The staircase still exists today, although it's dificult to find because the grassy hill now has buldings on it. There's a plaque at the site to tell fans that it actually is the real flight of stairs from the film. Unfortunately, any L&H fans who want to visit the site must risk their lives to do so. According to one report, the neighborhood is now apparently overrun by crime and street gangs.
Tags: Muisc  Box  Laurel  and  Hardy  comedy  Oscar 
Added: 6th November 2012
Views: 1957
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Posted By: Lava1964
Nixon and Jack Benny Perform Together Tags: Jack  Benny  Richard  Nixon  Tricky  violin  piano  duet 
Added: 7th November 2013
Views: 2745
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Posted By: pfc
Collyer Brothers - Famous NYC Recluses On March 21, 1947, New York City police received an anonymous telephone call reporting a dead body at the Collyer home in what was once a fashionable section of Harlem. The brownstone house was shared by Homer and Langley Collyer, two brothers who gained a measure of celebrity for living like hermits in New York City. The sons of a physician, the Collyer brothers were once prominent and productive citizens. Homer, the older sibling, was an admiralty lawyer. Langley was a concert pianist. Both were Sunday school instructors. Upon the deaths of their parents, though, the brothers shut off themselves from the outside world. They stopped paying taxes and lived without utilities for nearly 30 years. Homer went blind due to hemorrhages and later became paralyzed. Langley became Homer's caregiver. He cooked food on a portable kerosene stove and carried water in buckets from a public park four blocks away. Langley also became a notorious pack rat and scrounger. Venturing out of his house only in the dead of night, he'd shop for whatever food he needed for the day and pick up discarded items of all sorts. He retained newspapers for years so that Homer could catch up on his reading once he regained his sight. He occasionally befriended newspaper reporters who wrote stories about the reclusive Collyer brothers. Langley often fed Homer 100 oranges per week in the hope it would help him regain his eyesight. Fearful of burglars, Langley turned the Collyer house into a maze of pathways and crawl spaces amid the numerous junk and refuse that collected in the house. He built booby-traps to ensnare potential intruders. Based on the anonymous phone tip in March 1947, police broke into the Collyer home and found Homer, clad in a tattered robe, dead in a chair from malnutrition. Nearly a month went by before Langley was found amid the 140 tons of items that had been piled haphazardly throughout the house. Langley's body was found by sanitation workers under a mountain of debris only about 10 feet from where Homer's body had been found. Police theorized that Langley had accidentally tripped one of his own booby-traps and died of suffocation. Helpless and with no one to care for him, Homer slowly died of starvation about two weeks later. Among the wide variety of items found in the Collyer house were 14 pianos, most of a Model T Ford, tons of newspapers, thousands of law books, sexy pin-up posters circa 1910, dressmakers' dummies, unopened mail, 34 passbooks for various bank accounts, and unused tickets to a church function from 1905.
Tags: Collyer  brothers  pack  rats  hermits  NYC 
Added: 7th October 2014
Views: 1798
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Posted By: Lava1964
The Movie Big Piano Scene at FAO Schwarz I'm sure we all thought of this scene when we heard FAO Schwarz preparing to close their New York City store at Fifth Avenue.
Tags: The  Movie  Big  Piano  Scene  at  FAO  Schwarz  New  York  City  store  at  Fifth  Avenue  Tom  Hanks  Elizabeth  Perkins  Robert  Loggia  John  Heard  Penny  Marshall  foot-operated  electronic  keyboard,  performing  Heart  and  Soul  and  "Chopsticks 
Added: 16th May 2015
Views: 1145
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Posted By: Freckles

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