I thought I heard a whisper…

The ritual of the cake made it clear there was certainly affection and understanding between them. But had that come with time? Was it a place of comfort after many disappointments and disagreements? I will never know. This photo of my grandmother Mitzi is undeniably stunning. I may be biased, but it ticks every box … Continue reading I thought I heard a whisper…

Charles Bickford: Acquitted of attempted murder at nine, nearly killed by a lion, and three times Oscar nominee

"It's appropriate that I should have come in on the wings of a blizzard. I've been blowing up a storm ever since." Charlie Bickford This fantastic publicity photo of actor Charles Bickford isn’t dated, but I am fairly sure that it's pre-1935 when he was still contracted to MGM and causing hell for my great … Continue reading Charles Bickford: Acquitted of attempted murder at nine, nearly killed by a lion, and three times Oscar nominee

The Legendary Ghosts of 625 Beach Road, Hearst’s Gargoyle and Citizen Kane

If only the best in ghost experiences will do, you can't do much better than 625 Palisades Beach Road, a house that has hosted several eras of legends and is located on a small strip of oceanfront road under the bluffs of Santa Monica, where some of Hollywood biggest heavyweights, and often their toughest competitors, chose … Continue reading The Legendary Ghosts of 625 Beach Road, Hearst’s Gargoyle and Citizen Kane

Marian Marsh – chocolate exec’s doll faced daughter

"The new Trilby, Svengali'a victim, is Marian Marsh, a newcomer to featured screen roles. A few months ago she was an extra girl in Hollywood," New York Times review, April 26, 1931. Oh, how I love this photo. Unlike the highly posed publicity shots featuring Mitzi with a movie star like Harlow in her beautiful … Continue reading Marian Marsh – chocolate exec’s doll faced daughter

Jean “Baby” Harlow. Dead at 26.

"It doesn't matter what degree of talent she possesses ... nobody ever starved possessing what she's got." Variety Magazine's review of Jean Harlow in the 1930's Howard Hughes' film Hell's Angels. This is a tough one because the more I stared at this photo and then researched it, the more convinced I became that it … Continue reading Jean “Baby” Harlow. Dead at 26.

Rabbi Magnin and the Moguls

“He was the right rabbi in the right temple in the right city at the right moment in time. If he had not presided over our B’nai B’rith, God and Louis B. Mayer - whose overpowering presences tended to overlap - would have had to create him. Or maybe they did." Budd Schulberg, screenwriter and … Continue reading Rabbi Magnin and the Moguls

Friends? Lovers? Enemies? Yes.

"...these people lived lives - were friends, were lovers, were enemies. They bickered, they shouted, the cried, they laughed. They went home, flopped down, dropped hats, kicked off shoes and sighed. " Updated 30 July, 2012: Here is another sensational 1920's photograph from our family's collection. Like the one of Ruth Harriet immediately below it, … Continue reading Friends? Lovers? Enemies? Yes.

Hot-desking with Louis B Mayer

UPDATE: 2 June, 2012 - When I initially added this post I didn't know who the other man is sharing uncle Louis' desk in his office at MGM. Thanks to my aunt who emailed me recently, I now know this is William Powell, a major star who was nominated for the Academy Award for Best … Continue reading Hot-desking with Louis B Mayer

The General Told Me So

"Kid, when I tap my glass, you swallow an oyster. Got it?" When I was nine my grandparents brought me along to a formal dinner at the home of General Bradley and his wife Kitty. My grandmother had been friends with Kitty and Omar Bradley separately and introduced the two of them. It was a … Continue reading The General Told Me So

The Power of the Ladies – the Ladies Auxiliary

The Ida Mayer Cummings Ladies Auxilliary meets - tea, talk and dollars

Bob Hope once said about my great-grandmother, Ida Mayer Cummings, that she was the only woman he knew who could reach down the phone and grab a man by the lapels. Where her brother Louis B Mayer was a force in filmmaking, Ida was a force in fundraising for the Jewish Home for the Aged in Los Angeles. Ironically, my grandmother and grandfather spent their last days there. But I look at this photo and see the fun, laughter and scheming to ensure money flowed from Hollywood and beyond to ensure comfort for the elderly.