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A Cecil B. centennial

Posted by vp19 on 2014.06.30 at 23:10
Current mood: happyhappy

At the bottom of this photo of Carole Lombard from the May 1929 issue of Motion Picture magazine is a reference to Cecil B. De Mille; at the time this was printed, the 20-year-old starlet had been hired by De Mille as the female lead in his latest movie, “Dynamite.” By the time this hit newsstands, the famed director had fired the relatively inexperienced actress after but a few days of production.

If Carole held a grudge, she never let on, and when she made her first appearance on “Lux Radio Theater” (a series De Mille hosted) in 1938, there was no rancor.

De Mille was among the pioneering directors in the industry — perhaps the pioneering director — and his first notable achievement will be honored tomorrow in Hollywood.

A century ago, De Mille and his business partner Jesse Lasky created the first American feature film, “The Squaw Man.” Movies had been shot in southern California for several years, but none of this length. There was plenty of space for exterior shots in this western, but for interior scenes, De Mille and Lasky found a barn at Selma and Vine streets. That barn has since been restored and moved to 2100 North Highland Avenue, several blocks north of Hollywood Boulevard, and now is home to the Hollywood Heritage Museum.

From 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, July 1, the museum and Hollywood Chamber of Commerce will co-host a centennial celebration. Here’s more about it:

It should be plenty of fun.

As I write this, my alma mater, the University of Maryland, is embarking on life in a new conference — the Big Ten — as it’s past midnight in the eastern time zone and is now July 1. The move from the Atlantic Coast Conference not only will help the university in sports (the Big Ten is the oldest and wealthiest of athletic conferences), but in academics through the conference’s research consortium for interlibrary loans, student travel and the like. Below are the Big Ten mascots and cheerleaders (Testudo, Maryland’s terrapin mascot, is second from left), jumping for joy in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, a few miles from the College Park campus:

What makes this particularly sweet for me is that I was among the first, if not the first, to propose such a move…and I did it way back on Feb. 1, 2010, when it not only was out-of-the-box thinking, but the box was nowhere in sight. I’m a former sports editor of the campus student paper, the Diamondback, and here’s what I wrote some 53 months ago:http://www.diamondbackonline.com/opinion/editorials/article_af2a5589-43a5-5f08-a6a9-287ad68c4d43.html. The move was announced in November 2012, and I’m delighted to see it come to fruition.

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A double dose of Lombard laughs in Seattle this summer

Posted by vp19 on 2014.06.29 at 21:46
Current mood: amusedamused

Two Carole Lombard comedy favorites, both teaming her with Fred MacMurray, are among a six-pack of fun films to be shown this summer at the Seattle Art Museum under the title “For Laughing Out Loud.”

“Hands Across The Table” will be shown July 10, with “True Confession” set for July 24. Other films in the series include “Theodora Goes Wild” July 17, “His Girl Friday” July 30 (note that’s on a Wednesday, whereas the other movies are on Thursdays), “Too Many Husbands” on Aug. 7 and “Born Yesterday” Aug. 14. All films will run at 7:30 p.m., and there aren’t very many better ways of sharing a summer evening than by watching a sophisticated comedy from classic Hollywood.

The entire package is available for $42 for museum members, $45 for adult non-members. A limited number of $8 day-of-event tickets may be available at 7:25 p.m. for $8, cash or check only.

The Seattle Art Museum is at 1300 First Avenue. For tickets, visit https://tickets.seattleartmuseum.org/public/auto_choose_ga.asp?area=31, or for more information, phone 206-654-3100.

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The MGM Blogathon: ‘The Gay Bride’ (1934), plus Carole the Metro guest

Posted by vp19 on 2014.06.28 at 09:39
Current mood: contemplativecontemplative

For someone who starred in all of one film for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Carole Lombard (shown in a portrait for said film) had quite a bit to do with the magic factory in Culver City. But before we explore that part of the topic, let’s examine that one film as part of this weekend’s MGM Blogathon from Silver Scenes (http://silverscenesblog.blogspot.com/):

The film was called “The Gay Bride,” and one wonders what a movie made today bearing that title might entail. (A story of human rights? A comedy about undercover lesbianism?) Whatever, the title didn’t have the same meaning in 1934 that it would have today; in fact, the project originally didn’t bear that title at all.

The film, adapted from a Charles Francis Coe short story in the Saturday Evening Post, initially was to be called “Repeal,” after the end of Prohibition in late 1933:

But as 1934 rolled on into its second half and the end of the pre-Code era, such a title lost a lot of its fizz, and so MGM instead focused on the lead character — a woman who marries mobster after mobster, collecting their insurance after each is rubbed out. The copy for a herald describes it as “Mary, Mary…mercenary! Her coat of arms was a chisel and a wedding ring.”

By 1934, Lombard (who earlier in her career had been loath to loanouts, going so far as to reject a project at Warners that became the James Cagney-Loretta Young hit “Taxi!”) enjoyed temporarily leaving her home base of Paramount — especially since Columbia not only gave her better material, but knew how to use her better than Paramount did. If Columbia, which but a few years earlier was barely a step up from Poverty Row, had such power, imagine what MGM could do? And might it even lead to mighty Metro buying her contract from struggling Paramount?

There were just two things Carole didn’t notice as she began the project with director Jack Conway and leading man Chester Morris (who’d held similar honors in the 1932 Paramount vehicle “Sinners In The Sun”). First, MGM really wasn’t welcoming Lombard as a potential new star in its stable; Jean Harlow gave it sufficient blonde star power, and despite her success in “Twentieth Century” earlier in the year, Carole still wasn’t primarily identified with comedy, much less the sophisticated kind.

Second, MGM was slumming a bit with “The Gay Bride,” the sort of tough comedy Warners could have done in its sleep in pre-Code days. (It’s easy to imagine Joan Blondell or Glenda Farrell in the Lombard role, probably in a grittier milieu.) Yes, Metro’s high production values were on display, but that was true for all its features.

So as production continued, Lombard (shown with Zasu Pitts) likely came to learn, if she hadn’t already, that she was working on a programmer and little more. In addition to Pitts, the reliable Nat Pendleton provided comedic support, but at times Carole probably felt as uncomfortable as her character was in this still:

Nevertheless, the New York Times review of Dec. 19, 1934 was for the most part approving (http://www.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9A01E4D61E3CE23ABC4152DFB467838F629EDE). Despite that, “The Gay Bride” did middling business, and one doubts MGM brass gave it much of a push since its lead wasn’t one of its stars. (However, according to Film Daily in early 1935, Loew’s State in New Orleans handed out “Chiseler’s Club Cards” to patrons in honor of Carole’s gold-digging character.)

Lombard later would call “The Gay Bride” her worst film, although time has been kinder to its reputation; for the most part, it’s easier to watch than her 1938 Warners misfire, “Fools For Scandal.”

Carole never made another movie for Metro…yet she hardly was a stranger on the studio lot. The reason was obvious — her attachment to Clark Gable, the top leading man at MGM, if not the industry. Whether it be keeping him company on the set during an uncharacteristically cool June night…

…sharing a laugh at a post-premiere party…

…or attending the studio picnic given by Louis B. Mayer…

…Lombard, with Gable, was a frequent visitor to MGM. (It also helped that first husband William Powell, a friend of Clark’s, was an MGM star as well.)

So why didn’t Metro sign Carole — who’d shown her box-office prowess in the second half of the ’30s — to a contract? One guesses Mayer was reluctant to add the girlfriend (and subsequent wife) of MGM’s biggest star to its roster…especially in the midst of making “Gone With The Wind” (a David O. Selznick production distributed by Metro). As a team, Gable and Lombard might have too much clout for his liking.

But it didn’t keep Carole from dropping by the lot…

And when Lombard met her ultimate fate in January 1942, MGM saluted her with a memorial ad in the trade press.

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Actresses in support of each other

Posted by vp19 on 2014.06.27 at 17:23
Current mood: enthralledenthralled

That’s Carole Lombard with Frances Drake and Josephine Hutchinson at the famous party Carole gave at the Venice pier in June 1935 (http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/621812.html). Lombard was on friendly terms with most of her fellow actresses, going so far as to help boost their careers with studio management. It really wasn’t anything unusual for the business — that practice was true in many cases, even for those who ostensibly competed for the same parts. (A far cry from the rivalries and catfights popularly associated with actresses.)

Consider Joan Blondell and Glenda Farrell at early ’30s Warners, who looked similar and had comparable skills; however, that never led to rivalry, as they instead became close friends and regularly teamed in pictures. Joan even wrote about it for a fan magazine:

This topic leads in to a fun time I had last night at Larry Edmunds Bookshop on Hollywood Boulevard. The guest was Diane McBain, who had some success as a Warners contract player (in both films and on TV) in the early ’60s, then later had a part in an Elvis Presley movie (“Spinout,” and yes, Presley kissed her) and a guest part on “Batman,” among many other roles.

She’s written about her Hollywood experiences — which included working in films with Richard Burton, Claudette Colbert, Robert Stack and Joan Crawford — in a new book, “Famous Enough: A Hollywood Memoir.” (It’s such a new release that I couldn’t find a Google image for it.) After a brief compilation of film and TV clips, McBain gladly answered questions from the audience.

As was the case with Blondell three decades earlier, Warners gave McBain plenty of work, making her a semi-regular on its TV series “Surfside 6,” starring Troy Donahue, when she wasn’t making films. One of those episodes featured an up-and-coming starlet named Francine York, portraying a Eurasian. (This was when Francine had dark hair; she’s currently a blonde.) York and McBain became friends on the set, and last night, she came to Larry Edmunds to provide support (and purchase a copy, as did I).

Francine, a Facebook friend of mine who also appeared in an Elvis movie (“Tickle Me”) and guested on “Batman,” graciously gave permission to run this image of her and McBain from her FB page — and yes, you will see the book’s cover. (Francine also is working on a book about her entertainment experiences.)


York wasn’t the only actress of note on hand; so was Tippi Hedren of “The Birds” and “Marnie” fame. She and Francine posed for this picture:


I gave Francine and Diane business cards for Carole & Co. (both are admirers of Lombard), but somehow neglected to do likewise with Tippi, though she and Carole both have something in common — they were Hitchcock blondes of a sort. (To be fair, their experiences with Hitch were, shall we say, considerably different.)

All in all, it was a delightful experience with three wonderful actresses and friends through the years — one of those things that’s only available in Hollywood, yet another reason I’m glad I made this move — and although another Facebook friend of mine wasn’t there, she also made an impression.

At the bottom of the podium in front of where I was seating was a copy of a book from former radio vocalist and MGM contract player Monica Lewis, “Hollywood Through My Eyes.” So I bought it, and am looking to enjoying these recollections from Diane and Monica in upcoming days. (And Francine, once your book is out, I promise to buy it, too.)

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An update from Michelle

Posted by vp19 on 2014.06.26 at 15:33
Current mood: pleasedpleased

The other day, we wrote that it appears renowned British author Michelle Morgan’s on-again, off-again book project on Carole Lombard is back on again. Since then, Michelle has messaged me and provided some information on the book’s probable parameters:

“Well, the Carole Lombard book (provisionally titled ‘Carole Lombard: Twentieth Century Star’) will be a full biography of her life and career. I will start with before she was born (I have lots of information to share about her father’s accident for instance) and then her whole life will be covered, up to her death and beyond.

“I have acquired many newspaper and magazine interviews; business papers; contracts; letters and much more. All of this will be used for my research, and will go towards writing what I hope will be a very worthwhile look at her life. I’m not sure what format it will be yet. That will be up to the publisher.

“My Thelma Todd book is a biography with a photo section in the middle, and the Carole book may be the same way, but that will be up to the publisher ultimately. I hope to bring you good news soon regards a publisher. I don’t have anything firm yet to share, but I promise you will know as soon as I have official news.

“Thanks again for everything!!!”

Thanks really belong to you, Michelle, for your perseverance regarding this book. If, as the saying goes, good things come to those who wait, I have no doubt the finished project will be great…and that applies for both the Todd and Lombard books, given your track record. If you need any additional assistance, please let me know.

The Lombard LiveJournal header is Paramount p1202-452, featuring a smile so infectious I felt obliged to use it on my Carole & Co. business cards.

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The movie star…an endangered species?

Posted by vp19 on 2014.06.25 at 07:25
Current mood: worriedworried

Even by themselves, Carole Lombard and Clark Gable radiated star power. Put them together, as shown here at the 1936 premiere of “Romeo & Juliet,” and you had a celebrity supernova.

But the days of Gable and Lombard have long passed — and a century after Mary Pickford and Charlie Chaplin became the first legitimate, sustaining cinema stars, so might the very concept of movie stardom, too. At least that’s the argument presented in a recent piece by one of the entertainment community’s best-known writers.

In the June 10 issue of Variety, Peter Bart says franchises and brands drive the film industry these days, not stars (http://variety.com/2014/voices/news/movies-stars-are-an-endangered-species-as-actors-struggle-to-stay-relevant-1201217741/). Its very title, “Movie Stars Have Become an Endangered Species,” says it all, as if the very nature of film stardom is about to go the way of the quagga or passenger pigeon.

Bart encapsulates it in his lead: “Summer blockbusters make studios happy, but they make stars nervous. That’s because a lizard is the real star of ‘Godzilla,’ not an actor. And in franchises like ‘Captain America,’ ‘Spider-Man’ or ‘X-Men,’ the superhero is the brand, while the casts seem interchangeable.”

That’s true. No actor playing a superhero today will become as identified with the role as Sean Connery (or even Roger Moore) was as James Bond, much less William Powell as Nick Charles.

And note I used the word actor, not actress — not only are few if any films about superheroines made in Hollywood (the teenage male audience that jams the multiplexes for such movies find girls “icky,” particularly powerful ones), but relatively few actresses command any clout at the box office. When they do, such success tends to be fleeting. That’s why so many of them have found refuge in television.

The result? Just as the gap between haves and have-nots is increasing, so is the cinema landscape. The summer blockbusters and the heavily marketed ilk are beginning to branch out into other parts of the year, leaving little room for “arthouse” and prestige films for awards season (but they’ll always be around, if only for corporate prestige). Medium-budget movies, what used to be Hollywood’s bread and butter, are becoming extinct, too.

Still, we can look on the bright side. Let’s see a brand get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, as was the case of Kate Winslet:

Oh, wait:

carole lombard 02

Finding the stars of her famous friends

Posted by vp19 on 2014.06.24 at 21:21
Current mood: accomplishedaccomplished

Earlier this year, we noted Carole Lombard’s star of the Hollywood Walk of Fame is at 6930 Hollywood Boulevard, in front of a Baja Fresh restaurant. But where are the stars for those who played key roles in her life as leading men, directors, supporting players, friends…even husbands?

Fortunately, a new issue of the Official Hollywood Walk of Fame brochure has just been issued, so we’ll provide some answers. (Many of these people have multiple stars; I’m listing only one for each.)

First, husbands (both of whom also were Carole leading men):

* William Powell — 1636 Vine St.
* Clark Gable — 1608 Vine St.

Other leading men of note, in semi-chronological order:

* Edmund Lowe –6363 Hollywood Blvd.
* Buck Jones — 6834 Hollywood Blvd.
* Warner Baxter — 6284 Hollywood Blvd.
* Charles “Buddy” Rogers — 6135 Hollywood Blvd.
* Frank Morgan — 6700 Hollywood Blvd.
* Gary Cooper — 6243 Hollywood Blvd.
* Paul Lukas — 6821 Hollywood Blvd.
* Pat O’Brien — 1531 Vine St.
* Jack Oakie — 6752 Hollywood Blvd.
* Randolph Scott — 6243 Hollywood Blvd.
* Fredric March — 1620 Vine St.
* George Raft — 1500 Vine St.
* Bing Crosby — 6751 Hollywood Blvd.
* John Barrymore — 6667 Hollywood Blvd.
* Fred MacMurray — 6421 Hollywood Blvd.
* James Stewart — 1708 Vine St.
* Cary Grant — 1610 Vine St.
* Brian Aherne — 1752 Vine St.
* Charles Laughton — 7021 Hollywood Blvd.
* Robert Montgomery — 6440 Hollywood Blvd.
* Jack Benny — 1505 Vine St.
* Robert Stack — 7001 Hollywood Blvd.

Creative people (directors, writers, etc.) or moguls who figured in Lombard’s life:

* Allan Dwan — 6263 Hollywood Blvd.
* Mack Sennett — 6710 Hollywood Blvd.
* Adolph Zukor — 1617 Vine St.
* Preston Sturges — 1601 Vine St.
* Wesley Ruggles — 6424 Hollywood Blvd.
* Howard Hawks — 1708 Vine St.
* Mitchell Leisen — 6241 Hollywood Blvd.
* Gregory La Cava — 6906 Hollywood Blvd.
* William Wellman — 6125 Hollywood Blvd.
* John Cromwell — 6555 Hollywood Blvd.
* George Stevens — 1709 Vine St.
* Orson Welles — 1600 Vine St.
* Alfred Hitchcock — 7013 Hollywood Blvd.
* Ernst Lubitsch — 7042 Hollywood Blvd.

Finally, some of Carole’s female cohorts as actresses, friends, etc.:

* Mary Pickford — 6280 Hollywood Blvd.
* Marion Davies — 6326 Hollywood Blvd.
* Miriam Hopkins — 1716 Vine St.
* Claudette Colbert — 6812 Hollywood Blvd.
* Kay Francis — 6766 Hollywood Blvd.
* Marlene Dietrich — 6400 Hollywood Blvd.
* Ethel Merman — 7044 Hollywood Blvd.
* Marie Prevost — 6201 Hollywood Blvd.
* Jean Harlow — 6910 Hollywood Blvd.
* Ginger Rogers — 6772 Hollywood Blvd.
* Dorothy Lamour — 6332 Hollywood Blvd.
* Una Merkel — 6262 Hollywood Blvd.
* Myrna Loy — 6685 Hollywood Blvd.
* Barbara Stanwyck — 1751 Vine St.
* Marie Wilson — 6601 Hollywood Blvd.
* Lucille Ball –6436 Hollywood Blvd.
* Anne Shirley — 7018 Hollywood Blvd.

A happy star search the next time you’re in Hollywood!

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Close to ‘booking’ good news from Michelle

Posted by vp19 on 2014.06.23 at 22:12
Current mood: ecstaticecstatic

Carole Lombard — with and without Clark Gable — has been the subject of several books over the years. Now, another book about her, one long awaited from one of the top entertainment authors in the business, could soon be in production.

Here’s what Michelle Morgan wrote on her Facebook page today:

“Looking towards future book projects, I have just sent the proposal for my Carole Lombard book to my agent…Now on with the writing for Thelma!”

As in Thelma Todd, the vivacious actress best known for her comedies whose death at age 30 in December 1935 remains one of filmland’s biggest unsolved mysteries. Once that book is out of the way, Morgan will get to the Lombard book, one she’s already done much research for (and probably will do much more).

I’m not quite sure what form this book will take; it may be a straight bio or a tome that primarily relies on photographs with complementary copy. (She was working a Lombard book a few years ago, but a decision to change publishers put the project on the backburner for a while. Last December, she said she’d written about 20,000 words on the Lombard book.) One thing I am certain, however, is that the finished project will be one worth reading, such is her track record.

Morgan’s Monroe book examines the ’50s icon in a much more human perspective than many biographers do, with plenty of background on what shaped her. I have faith she’ll do likewise with Lombard, assuming her proposal gets the green light — and know the wait will be worth it. Which will be “big news” for Carole fans everywhere.

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Of a vineyard and a Greenfield

Posted by vp19 on 2014.06.22 at 20:50
Current mood: nostalgicnostalgic

For a second straight day, the subject of this entry is the 1940 Carole Lombard drama “They Knew What They Wanted” (she’s shown with William Gargan above in an image from that film, set in California wine country). This time, we’re examining a collectible on sale at eBay.

It’s a herald from the fall of 1940 issued by the Garden Theater in Greenfield, Mass.:

Greenfield is in the northern part of west-central Massachusetts, not far from Springfield, and is the Franklin County seat. Built in 1929, the Garden was refurbished (and multiplexed) in the mid-’80s. It remains open with six theaters and a combined capacity of more than 1,800 seats.

The herald measures 4″ x 8 1/2″, and can be bought straight up for $16.50, or you can make an offer. Learn more by visiting http://www.ebay.com/itm/7309-Franklin-Auto-Greenfield-MA-1940-movie-card-Dick-Powell-Carole-Lombard/281363546381?_trksid=p2045573.c100033.m2042&_trkparms=aid%3D111001%26algo%3DREC.SEED%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D22946%26meid%3D7812471330835049838%26pid%3D100033%26prg%3D9894%26rk%3D1%26rkt%3D4%26sd%3D281363546381.

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Films ‘They Knew What They Wanted,’ but can’t get on DVD

Posted by vp19 on 2014.06.21 at 18:22
Current mood: frustratedfrustrated

It’s no secret that Carole Lombard’s 1940 drama “They Knew What They Wanted,” teaming her with Charles Laughton for the second time, has never been made available on an authorized DVD in America, probably a result of rights issues with the Sidney Howard estate (Howard wrote the play, which won a Pulitzer Prize in 1925).

But misery loves company, and it’s hardly the only movie that’s in DVD limbo. New York Post film critic Lou Lumenick recently wrote about it (http://nypost.com/2014/06/18/64-clips-of-movies-you-cant-find-on-dvd/), including brief clips of the MIA movies.

Some of the other classic-era titles that are absent from DVD — many featuring actors or directors Carole worked with — include:

* “The Crowd” (1928), King Vidor’s pioneering slice-of-life tale.

* “The Greene Murder Case” (1929), one of three early turns for William Powell as Philo Vance.

* “Once In A Lifetime” (1932), an adaptation of the Kaufman and Hart comedic play about screenwriters during Hollywood’s chaotic transition to sound.

* “Letty Lynton” (1932), which hasn’t been seen by virtually anybody since MGM withdrew it from circulation in 1935, much to the dismay of Joan Crawford fans.

* “Call Her Savage” (1932), one of Clara Bow’s final features for Fox.

* “Man’s Castle” (1933), a Loretta Young-Spencer Tracy Depression-era gem directed by Frank Borzage.

* “The Story Of Temple Drake” (1933), a steamy pre-Code adaptation of William Faulkner’s “Sanctuary,” starring Miriam Hopkins.

* “The Moon’a Our Home” (1936), starring former married couple Margaret Sullavan and Henry Fonda…which Lombard and James Stewart took the lead role for a 1940 “Lux Radio Theater” adaptation.

* “Boy Meets Girl” (1938), another comedic tale of screenwriters, starring James Cagney and Pat O’Brien, with supporting turns from Marie Wilson and Ronald Reagan.

* “The Sea Wolf” (1941), a Jack London tale starring Edward G. Robinson and John Garfield.

* “To Each His Own” (1946), for which Olivia de Havilland won a Best Actress Academy Award, directed by Mitchell Leisen. (Other films of his that are DVD MIA include “I Wanted Wings” and “Lady In The Dark.”)

* “Beau James” (1957), an atypical Bob Hope role as 1920s New York mayor Jimmy Walker.

* “Raintree County” (1957), a Civil War romantic epic starring Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift, which apparently needs considerable restorqtion.

* And… “Dynamite” (1929), a Cecil B. De Mille film where Lombard had the female lead for a few days before being fired.

Carole shows off a ruffled dress in our latest Lombard LiveJournal header, p1202-435.

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My first day as an Angeleno

Posted by vp19 on 2014.06.20 at 15:57
Current mood: busybusy

Earlier today, I became a resident of Los Angeles, though unlike Carole Lombard, I have no plans to raise poultry. I signed a lease for the apartment I had paid for a few weeks earlier — though for now, I’m staying at a hotel a few blocks away since my furniture won’t arrive for another few days.

It will give me time to take care of some of the odds and ends that accompany a move…getting a California residency card (in lieu of a driver’s license, since I’ve been unable to drive the past few years), getting a Los Angeles library card, registering to vote, etc. It will result in a considerable change in lifestyle — but I’m looking forward to it.

I first celebrated signing the lease by walking a few blocks to get a hamburger from the Original Tommy’s at Beverly and Rampart:

This site, open 24 hours a day, has been serving up burgers (most of them topped with chili) since 1946. It’s sort of the LA equivalent of Pat’s and Geno’s cheesesteaks in South Philadelphia or Ben’s Chili Bowl on U Street in Washington. In May, when I first looked at the nearby apartment, I had a burger — but ordered it plain because I was wearing a shirt and tie and had a few more apartments to see. I promised them that if I landed the apartment, I would return for a full-fledged Tommy’s burger; today, I lived up to that promise.

The second part of the celebration will come tonight, when I’ll head to Anaheim to watch the Angels face my friend Carole Sampeck’s beloved Texas Rangers. Tonight’s giveaway is a cowboy hat with the Angels logo…and no, it has nothing to do with the other team that plays in Arlington, Texas.

Gene Autry, who has five stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, was the first owner of the American League Angels. Autry, longtime owner of KMPC radio, had lost radio rights for the National League Dodgers to KFI after the 1960 season, but the AL had announced it would expand for 1961…and Autry attended the owners’ meeting merely hoping to get a broadcast contract. He wound up with the team.

The Angels won a few division titles under Autry’s reign and he was a favorite of players, but they were always snakebit in the postseason. Gene died in October 1998, four years before the Angels finally reached the promised land and won the World Series. (Autry also founded a museum dedicated to the history of the American West that has won plaudits for its thorough approach.)

carole lombard 04

And so the move begins

Posted by vp19 on 2014.06.19 at 01:47
Current mood: giddygiddy

Before this day is over, I will complete my first step in becoming a resident of the city Carole Lombard called home for more than 27 years. First by train, then by plane (two flights, to be precise), I will leave Virginia for Los Angeles. By the next time I return east to clear out my old apartment, I will have settled in a new one in the City of the Angels.

To say I’m thrilled would be a massive understatement. This is something I’ve wanted to do for years, but now the time is right to uproot my East Coast heritage and begin living on Pacific time.

Day or night, Los Angeles casts its seductive spell. Yes, there’s plenty to see for classic film buffs — and I plan to use the myriad of resources — but I also know LA is far more than this. It’s a multi-faceted city, America’s economic link to the new wealth that is the Pacific Rim, and its hard-working citizens belie the “Tinseltown” stereotype.

I’m also arriving less than a week after the Kings won their second Stanley Cup in three years…and just after another fine LA athlete sort of extended his own greeting. Ace Dodger lefthander Clayton Kershaw fired his first no-hitter in beating Colorado 8-0, striking out a career-high 15 without allowing a walk (one batter reached base on a throwing error). Vin Scully has called numerous no-hitters (and a few perfect games) during his 65 years in the broadcast booth, but missed Josh Beckett’s no-no in Philadelphia last month (at 85, Scully rarely goes on the road aside from games at San Diego, San Francisco and Phoenix), but he was behind the mike for this one. For some reason, I can’t embed this, but go tohttp://www.dodgers.com and you should be able to find Scully’s highlights, as well as the final out and subsequent celebration at Dodger Stadium.

This evokes memories of what may be Scully’s best-remembered regular-season call, Sandy Koufax’s perfect game against Chicago in the midst of a pennant race in September 1965. The game wasn’t televised in LA, but Scully’s radio play-by-play is justifiably legendary. You can hear the ninth inning in a variety of audio formats athttps://archive.org/details/VinScullyCallsThe9thInningOfSandyKoufaxsPerfectGame.

Posted August 27, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized

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