The Belousoffs: The Luckiest or Unluckiest Couple? Just ask Howard Hughes and Bugsy Siegel.

The Belousoff's lived at 808 N. Linden Drive in Beverly Hills, and twice within just a few months, they would be feet away from shocking, violent events reported around the world.

Dorothy Ponedel’s memoir is one of our last chances to hear from a Classic Hollywood insider

Make-up artist Dorothy "Dottie" Ponedel actually wrote her memoir decades ago after becoming housebound with multiple sclerosis. In it she reminisced about being an in-demand actress and dancer in silent films, and later, as a make-up artist to the stars, including Marlene Dietrich, Joan Blondell, Adrienne Ames, Carole Lombard, Paulette Goddard, and Judy Garland. For … Continue reading Dorothy Ponedel’s memoir is one of our last chances to hear from a Classic Hollywood insider

Take me out to the ball game — the 1935 Screen Stars ‘Comedians vs Leading Men’ Baseball Game

In honor of baseball season, I have to share this toothy photo of my grandmother Mitzi Cummings with Wallace Ford and Jack LaRue having a fabulous time at Wrigley Field for the 1935 Screen Stars Comedians vs Leading Men Baseball Game, a charity fundraiser for what was then Mount Sinai Hospital. Mitzi wrote about all … Continue reading Take me out to the ball game — the 1935 Screen Stars ‘Comedians vs Leading Men’ Baseball Game

The Young Americans

Over the last few weeks I've been undertaking an epic clean out of about two dozen boxes, and wow, is it still paying dividends! I've been sharing my finds on my Facebook page, including my grandmother Mitzi Cummings' wedding dress and satin slip, as well as oodles of embroidered linens from my great-grandmother Ida Mayer … Continue reading The Young Americans

‘Nobody’s Stooge: Ted Healy’: Living gumshoe Bill Cassara investigates the life and mysterious death of the founder of The Three Stooges

Living in far flung Australia as I do, I'm extremely grateful when authors send me a copy of their book. The whole experience is a special treat. Somehow, there's nothing quite like tearing into a package from overseas and pulling out a beautiful publication with that 'new book smell'! Then there are the lovely inscriptions, … Continue reading ‘Nobody’s Stooge: Ted Healy’: Living gumshoe Bill Cassara investigates the life and mysterious death of the founder of The Three Stooges

10 Highlights from 2017: Mysteries Solved, Serendipitous Discoveries, and Back Stories Revealed!

Here's a chronological wrap up of some of the highlights of this year, including two mysteries solved, some moments of true serendipity, and a deeper understanding of the stories behind some of the rare photos and letters in our family's archive: 1. JUNE 6 AND JUNE 12 - A MYSTERY SOLVED So who was the … Continue reading 10 Highlights from 2017: Mysteries Solved, Serendipitous Discoveries, and Back Stories Revealed!

That time my grandmother Mitzi won 50 bucks in an M-G-M ‘picture titling’ contest

I love this letter from my grandmother Mitzi Cummings to my grandfather Sol Baer Fielding from 1939, the year they were courting. At the time, she was still working in the M-G-M script department in Culver City and he was working for McCann Erickson in Denver. The relationship didn't start out as a long distance … Continue reading That time my grandmother Mitzi won 50 bucks in an M-G-M ‘picture titling’ contest

In a bold move, my great-grandmother refused Mae West’s donation until she visited her charity

I've shared this photo of Mae West with my great-grandmother Ida Mayer Cummings before, but I only today came across this newspaper article from September 13th, 1940 revealing that she made a $500 contribution to the Los Angeles Jewish Home for the Aging in her mother's memory. I had always assumed the photo of Mae … Continue reading In a bold move, my great-grandmother refused Mae West’s donation until she visited her charity

Great-grandmother Ida Mayer Cummings honored as a Los Angeles Times Woman of the Year on this day 60 years ago

The award was started by Dorothy Chandler, but later canceled by her son as "unnecessary" The Los Angeles Times Women of the Year Silver Cup was an award presented to almost 300 women between 1950 and 1977 to honor achievements in science, religion, the arts, education, government, civic service, sports, and business. In 1957, after … Continue reading Great-grandmother Ida Mayer Cummings honored as a Los Angeles Times Woman of the Year on this day 60 years ago

What on earth was Mary Pickford’s “scheme” with Louis B. Mayer?

I'm still on my Mary Pickford letter bender and found this one in our collection from exactly 67 years ago. Evidently, she and my great-uncle Louis B. Mayer had a "scheme" to raise "a substantial sum of money" for the Los Angeles Jewish Home for the Aged. It's so hush hush that Mary won't even … Continue reading What on earth was Mary Pickford’s “scheme” with Louis B. Mayer?