Our trip today starts at a time of true beginnings: The Colonial Williamsburg Drummer’s Call Fife and Drum Unit


The U.S. Army Third Infantry “Old Guard” Fife and Drum Corps. is the only remaining unit of its kind in the entire Armed Forces and dates back to an 18th century tradition





Fred Astaire


                        Born: May 10, 1899 —– Omaha, Nebraska

                        Died: June 22,1987 —– Los Angeles, California


     Fred Astaire was an American film and Broadway stage dancer, choreographer, singer, and actor.  His stage and film career totaled 76 years during which  time he made 31 musical films.  He was named the fifth Greatest Male Star of All Time by the American Film Institute.  He was mostly associated with his sister Adele, and with Ginger Rogers with whom he made 10 films.

Gene Kelly said that  ” the history of dance on films begins with Astaire “. Many other dancers and choregraphers ie;  Rudolf Nureyev, Sammy Davis Jr., Michael Jackson, Gregory Hines, Mikhail Baryshnikov, George Balanchine, and Jerome Robbins also acknowledged his importance and influence.

    Fred had no formal dancing lesson, but would mimic his older sister’s steps. It was after their father lost his job that the  family moved to New York .  It was here that Fred and sister Adele developed their act with singing and speaking lessons. 

Their first act was called….. ‘ Juvenile Artists Presenting on Electric Musical Toe Dancing Novelty ’  ( That is way too much for my brain )   Fred appeared in top hat and tails for  part of the act and in a lobster suit for the remainder   Fred and Adele played the Orpheum Circuit and across the United States until Adele grew 3 inches taller than Fred and things just didn’t look right.  The Act was restarted about 2 years later during which time they added tap dancing to their skills.  They broke into  Broadway with the 1917 revue  “  Over The Top “



Adele & Fred Astaire



1917 thru 1933 they pursued their stage careers from Broadway to London. In the 1920′s they appeared in shows  such as…..1924 “  Lady Be Good ” …..  1927′s  ‘Funny Face’ and 1931″s  ‘ The Band Wagon ‘.   By that time, Fred Astaire’s  dancing was beginning to shine  brighter than his sister, but she still set the tone of their act with her sparkle and humor

     After the close of  ” Funny Face”  they went to Hollywood for a screen test, but alas, they were not considered suitable.

In 1932. Adele and Fred split when she married……. Fred  went out on his own and was able to garner huge success on Broadway.  With a new partner he was able  to take a more romantic approach. and  was able to create a beautiful dance routine for the  1934 movie  ” The Gay Divorcee  “.







ADELE  ASTAIRE  ( Lady Charles Cavendish )

Born:  September 10,  1896 ….. Omaha, Nebraska

Died:  January 25, 1981 …..  Tucson, Arizona

Adele was born into a Austrian Roman Catholic of Jewish descent family. In 1905 she and Fred had a successful vaudeville act that they were able to develop into a celebrated adult career. Adele was the bigger star and was a special favorite of Great Britain’s royalty. In May of 1932, after finishing working on Broadway in The Bandwagon , she retired from the stage to marry  Lord Charles Arthur Francis Cavendish, the second son of the 9th Duke of Devonshire, and moved to Ireland. They lived at Lismore Castle  where she had 3 children, a daughter in 1933 and twin sons in 1935 who each dies soon after birth.


Lord and Lady Cavendish


Lord Cavendish passed away in 1944, after 12 years of marriage.  In early 1947, Adele married her 2nd husband  Col. Kingman Douglass, an American investment banker and Air Force Officer who was an assistant director of  the CIA. He died in 1971.

She tried her hand again at dancing, but felt intimidated by her brother’s reputation


Unlike Fred, Adele was extremely gregarious and took delight in shocking friends and strangers alike. Adele died of a stroke in Arizona at the age of 84.  At the suggestion of Roddy McDowall, Adele had donated her papers to the Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center.




     Now we will return to Fred Astaire …..

Fred did not do very well to start with in Hollywood. His screen test  at RKO left much to be desired; he couldn’t act, was going bald, but he could dance.  David O. Selznick, who had signed Astaire and commissioned the test stated, ” I am uncertain about the man, but I feel, in spite of his enormous ears and bad chin line, that his charm is so tremendous , that it comes through even in this wretched test.”  First RKO lent him to MGM in 1933 for his Hollywood debut dancing with Joan Crawford in the musical  ‘ Dancing Lady’.  Upon his return,  RKO got him 5th billing along side Ginger Rogers in the 1933 Dolores del Rio movie, ” Flying Down to Rio “.  Variety magazine stated that  the reason the movie was such a smashing success was Astaire’s presence.  He is very likable on the screen, the mike is kind to his voice, and as a dancer he is in a class by himself.

     Fred and Ginger Rogers were such a terrific pair that initially Fred did not want to be a part of another dance team. He was persuaded by public appeal to make  a pairing with Ginger Rogers. Their dancing helped to make dancing an important part of the Hollywood film musical. Astaire and Rogers made 10 films together…….. ( 1934 : The Gay Divorcee ) …….. ( 1935 : Roberta….. Top Hat ) …….. ( 1936 : Follow The Fleet ….. Swing Time ) …….. ( 1937 : Shall We Dance ) …….. ( 1938 : Carefree )     Six of their movies became the biggest moneymakers for RKO.  Their partnership made them both stars, and as Katherine Hepburn said  “  He gives her class, and she gives him sex appeal “.


     Astaire is credited with two important innovations in early film musicals …..  1) He insisted that the camera ( being almost stationary ) film a dance routine in a single shot and  2) all song and dance routines flow into the plotlines of the film.

Ginger Rogers was considered by some to be Astaire’s greatest dance partner, not because she was superior to others, but because, as a intuitive actress, she was cagey enough to realize that acting did not stop when the dancing began ….. the reason that many women fantasized about dancing with Astaire was that Rogers gave the impression that dancing with him  was the most thrilling experience imaginable.



GINGER  ROGERS     (  Virginia Katherine  McMath )

Born : July 16, 1911 ….. Independence, Missouri

Died : April 25, 1995 ….. Rancho Mirage, California



Ginger Rogers was an American actress, dancer, and singer who appeared in films, on stage and on radio and television throughout much of the 20th century. During her long career she made  73 films and is noted most for her role as Fred Astaire’s romantic interest and dancing partner in 10 Hollywood musicals. She also had other successes which we will talk about later.

When Ginger was a young girl her parents divorced and she stayed with her grandparents.  As a teenager Ginger thought about becoming a school teacher, but with her mother’s interest in Hollywood and the theatre, Ginger’s interest increased.  As she would wait for her mother in the wings of the Majestic Theatre, she began to sing and dance with the performers on stage,


At the age of 17 she married Jack Culpepper, a singer, dancer, comedian and they formed a short lived vaudeville act known as  ” Ginger and Pepper “.  The marriage only lasted a few months and so she went back to touring with her mother.  When the tour arrived in New York, Ginger stayed and was able to get singing jobs on the radio. Her Broadway debut was a musical named  ” Top Speed ” which opened on Christmas Day 1929.  Shortly after opening, Rogers was chosen to star on Broadway in  ” Girl Crazy ” by George and Ira Gershwin.  The musical was wildly considered to have made stars out of both Ginger and Ethel Merman. ( Fred Astaire had been hired to help the dancers with their choreography )  ” Girl Crazy “  made Ginger an overnight star at the age of 19. In 1930, she was signed to a 7 year contract by Paramount.



Rogers was most famous for her partnership with Fred Astaire.  From 1933 to 1939 they made 9 musicals together at RKO.  They were :  ( 1933 ) ” Flying Down To Rio ” …..  ( 1934 ) “The Gay Divorcee ” ….. ( 1935 ) ” Roberta ” ….. ( 1935 ) ” Top Hat ” ….. ( 1936 ) ” Follow The Fleet ” ….. ( 1936 ) ” Swing Time ” ….. ( 1937 ) ” Shall We Dance ” ….. ( 1938 ) ” Carefree ” …..  (1939 ) ” The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle ” …..  and much later in ( 1949 ) ” The Barkleys of Broadway ” which was produced at MGM.


Many people consider Ginger Rogers to have been Astaire’s finest dance partner, mostly because of her ability to combine dancing skills, beauty, and exception abilities as a dramatic actress and comedian.

More of Ginger at a future time…..

NOW     back to Fred ………



In 1939 Astaire left RKO to work on his own and look for new film opportunities. His first post Ginger partner was Eleanor Powell where in ‘ Broadway Melody ‘ they performed an extended dance routine to Cole Porter’s  ” Begin The Beguine “. He played along side of Bing Crosby in ’ Holiday Inn ‘ in 1942 and ‘ Blue Skies ‘ in 1946.

He made 2 pictures with Rita Hayworth, the first , ” You’ll Never Get Rich ” in 1941 which sent Hayworth to stardom. She was the daughter of vaudeville dancers the Cansinos,  Rita , with her background in Latin-American dance,  gave Astaire the chance to integrate Latin dance into his own style.  His 2nd movie with Rita was 1942  ” You Were Never Lovelier “   which featured a duet to Kern’s  ” I’m Old Fashioned “. He followed with many other dancers including Gene Kelly.

In 1946 he  announced his retirement and concentrated on his horse racing interests and the Fred Astaire Dance Studios.  ( he sold this in 1966 )


It wasn’t long before Fred returned to the big screen to replace Gene Kelly in ” Easter Parade ” opposite Judy Garland. He went on to make more musicals throughout the 1950′s. His legacy at this point was 30 musicals in 25 years.  He announced again  he would retire from dancing to concentrate on dramatic acting. Astaire did not totally stop dancing as he made a series of 4 highly rated Emmy Award winning musical specials for TV  in 1958,  1959,  1960,  and  1968 .  These featured Barrie Chase with whom  he enjoyed an ‘ Indian Summer ‘  of creativity.

Fred played Julian Osborne in the 1959 movie ‘ On The Beach ‘  and was nominated for a Golden Globe Best Supporting actor award.  Astaire’s last major musical film was the 1968 film  “Finian’s  Rainbow”  where he plays an Irish rogue who believes if he buries a crock of gold in the shadow of Fort Knox it will multiply.

Astaire continued to act into the 1970′s….. he appeared on television as the father of Robert Wagner’s character, Alexander Mundy in  ‘ It Takes a Thief ‘  and in films such as  ‘ The Towering Inferno ‘  for which he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.   Thru out the 1970′s , he provided voice for animations ….. danced in films with Gene Kelly ….. and worked with Helen Hayes on a TV movie.  His final film role was  ‘Ghost Story’  where he worked with Melvyn Douglas and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.







Influence on filmed dance and popular music ……….


Astaire was a virtuoso dancer, able to convey light-heartedness or deep emotion when it was needed.  His technical control and sense of rhythm was astonishing. Astaire’s dance routines were prized for their elegance, grace, originality and precision. Dance sequences were built around 2 or 3 main ideas, his own steps or the music itself suggesting mood or action. Many were built around a gimmick such as dancing on the walls as in  ” Royal Wedding ”  or dancing with his shadow in ” Swing Time “. His perfectionism was legendary, but his relentless insistence on rehearsals and retakes could be a burden.

Astaire viewed himself, first and foremost, as an entertainer. His dancing was the admiration of many 20th Century dance legends such as; Gene Kelly, George Balanchine,( he said that Astaire was the most interesting, most inventive, most elegant dancer of our time )  the Nicholas Brothers, Mikhail Baryshnikov, ( he said that Astaire was a genius, a classical dancer like I never saw in my life )  Margot Fonteyn, Bob Fosse, Gregory Hines, Rudolf Nureyev, Michael Jackson, and Bill Robinson.

Astaire was very modest concerning his singing, but he introduced some of the most celebrated songs from the Great American Songbook. To name just a few……….( 1932 ) ” Night and Day ”  from ‘ Gay Divorcee ‘ ………. (1935) ” Top Hat, White Tie and Tails ” from ‘ Top Hat ‘………. ( 1936 ) ” The Way You Look Tonight ”  from  ‘ Swing Time ‘ ………. ( 1937 )  ” A Foggy Day ”  from ‘ A Damsel in Distress ‘ ………. ( 1943 ) ” One For My Baby ”  from ‘ The Sky’s The Limit ‘ ………. and ( 1955 ) ” Something’s Gotta Give ” from  ‘ Daddy Longlegs ‘.

Astaire also co-introduced a number of song classics via duets with his dancing partners, such as………. ( 1924 ) ” Fascinating Rhythm ”  from  ‘ Lady Be Good ‘………. ( 1936 )  ” A Fine Romance ”  from ‘ Swing Time ‘ ………. and  ( 1953 ) ” That’s Entertainment ”  from ‘ The Band Wagon ‘.

Fred Astaire possessed a light voice, but he was admired for his lyricism, diction and phrasing………. the grace and elegance in his dancing seemed to be reflected in his singing.  Some people described him as  ” The World’s greatest musical performer “.Irving Berlin considered Astaire the equal of any male singer of his songs  Jerome Kern considered him the supreme male singer of his songs.








Politically, Astaire was a conservative and  was in the habit of not making his views known.  He was a church goer,  a supporter of American military action, and was dismissive of the more open sexiness of movies in the 1970′s

He and Cary Grant were called 2 of  ” The best dressed actors in American movies “. Astaire remained a male fashion icon even into his later years, using his trade mark top hat, white tie and tails ( which he never really liked ) He actually preferred  a breezy casual style of tailored sports jackets, colored shirts, cravats and slacks.  He was even known to use an old tie to hold up his slacks.

Astaire married for the first time in 1933 to Phyllis Potter a 25 year old Boston-born New York socialite and former wife of Eliphalet Nott Potter III .  After 21 years of a blissful marriage, Phyllis died of lung cancer and Fred was totally devastated.  Fred and Phyllis had 2 children of their own, Fred Jr. and Ava plus Peter her son by her first marriage.

Astaire was a life long golf and Thoroughbred horse racing enthusiast.  In 1946 his horse, Triplicate won the prestigious Hollywood Gold Cup and San Juan Capistrano Handicap. He remained active into his 80′s. ( at age 78 he broke his left wrist while riding his grandson’s skateboard ).

Fred remarried in 1980 to Robyn Smith who was a jockey for Alfred G. Vanderbilt II.

Astaire died from pneumonia in 1987 and was buried in the Oakwood Memorial Park Cemetery in Chatsworth, California. His last request was to thank his fans for all their years of support.










John Russell


               Born: January 3, 1921…… Los Angeles, California

               Died: January 19, 1991 ….. Los Angeles, California


     John Russell was an American actor, most noted for playing Marshal Dan Troop in the western TV series,  ‘ Lawman ‘.  (1958 – 1962 )  and for  playing the lead role in the TV drama,  ‘ Soldiers of Fortune ‘.


Soldiers of Fortune
John Russell as Tim Kelly
Chick Chandler as Toubo Smith
(ATGB) J. Badal Collection

Soldiers of Fortune
John Russell as Tim Kelly
Chick Chandler as Toubo Smith
(ATGB) J. Badal Collection


    John was born in California and even as a young man fit the Hollywood image of  ‘ tall, dark, and handsome.  He attended the University of California and was a student athlete. Following the outbreak of World War II, he joined the Marines where his division was sent to Guadalcanal.   He served as a second lieutenant, assistant intelligence officer.  While there he contracted malaria and returned home with a medical discharge.


John Russell
The Lawman


Russell’s first film was the 1939  ‘ Mr. Smith Goes to Washington ‘.  Other films include 1948 ‘ Yellow Sky ‘ and 1952 ‘ Oklahoma Annie ‘.

     In  1955 he starred in the television drama  ‘ Soldiers of Fortune ‘.  The  30 minute adventure show placed he and his sidekick Chick Chandler  ( Toubo Smith )   in dangerous jungle settings.  The show was popular with young boys and girls, but did not draw enough adult viewers and was canceled in 1957.


     In 1958 he starred in  ‘ Lawman ‘ with Peter Brown .  The show ran for 4 years.

John Russell and Peter Brown
The Lawman


Russell appeared in other movies, such as the villain in  ‘Yellowstone Kelly ‘, and  ‘ Rio Bravo ‘ with John Wayne, Dean Martin, Ricky Nelson, and Walter Brennan.

     In 1969 he appeared in  ‘ It Takes a Thief ‘  (  5 episodes in 1969 ) .  In the 1980′s he was in more than 20 films including 3 directed by his friend  Clint  Eastwood……  one of which was as Marshal Stockburn, the chief villain in the 1985 film  ‘ Pale Rider ‘.


John Russell


John Russell died from emphysema in 1991 and was interred in the Los Angeles National Cemetery, a former U.S. Vetrans Administration cemetery.

John Russell




                                         JOHN  DOUCETTE

                          Born: January 21, 1921 —– Brockton, Massachusetts

                         Died: August 16, 1994 —– Banning, California


John Doucette

John Doucette was a film character actor with a rich deep voice, equally adept at Western bad guys and Shakespeare. He was a husky, balding man remembered for playing mob muscle and western bad guys.  According to IMDB, he appeared in over 260 movies and television programs between 1943 and 1987.


Perils of the Jungle
Clyde Beatty, with John Doucette
(ATGB) J. Badal Collection




     Doucette’s dramatic roles included 1949 ; ‘ The Fountainhead ‘ ….. 1970 ; ‘ Patton ‘ .  He also had parts in  ‘High Noon’ ….. ‘The Robe’ ….. ‘Sierra’ ….. and ‘Cleopatra’.  Baby Boomers remember him most in the movies, ‘True Grit’ ….. ‘The Sons of Katie Elder’ …. ‘The Big Heat’ …..and ‘Big Jake”.

John Doucette
The Sons of Katie Elder

John Doucette and Patrick Wayne
Big Jake 1971


Glen Ford and John Doucette
in the
Big Heat 1952

Boomers probably saw him first on television as a bad guy in several episodes of  ‘The Lone Ranger’.  Bad guy was a natural role considering his rough looks, commanding presence and skill with a gun. He was considered by many to be one of the fastest draws in Hollywood.  He appeared on a variety of television shows including; ‘ The Roy Rogers Show ‘ ….. ‘ The Adventures of Kit Carson ‘ ….. ‘ The Cisco Kid ‘ ….. ‘ Sky King ‘ ….. ‘ Broken Arrow ‘ …..  ‘ The People’s Choice ‘ ….. ‘ Bonanza ‘ ….. ‘ The Wild Wild West ‘ ….. ‘ Have Gun — Will Travel ‘ ….. ‘ The Rat Patrol ‘ ….. ‘ Walt Disney Presents ‘ ….. and  ‘ Adventures of Superman ‘ .  ( those are just a few ! )



The Roy Rogers Show

John Doucette  in Bonanza

Even now as we watch movies and television shows from the past, we seem to see John Douchette everywhere.


John Doucette as Maj. Leman
Hogan’s Heroes

John Doucette

John Doucette died in 1994 and is buried in a mausoleum at Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California.  He blessed the world with five (5) daughters and three (3) sons.

John Doucette
























JOAN RIVERS ….. The mouth that roared …..


          YOU  WILL  BE  MISSED  BY  MANY ……….

JOAN  RIVERS….. aka; Joan Alexandra Molinsky / Rosenberg

           Born: June 8, 1933 ….. Brooklyn, New York

           Died: September 4, 2014 ….. Manhattan, New York


     CAN  WE  TALK ?????

          Yes we can and yes she did !!!  Her satirical humor would sometimes get her into trouble as she talked about everything.  She poked fun at celebrities and at herself. She was self-deprecating, talked about every day life, sex, current events, fashion, and just about anything her mind would, could, and did go to.  There were people who loved her and those who didn’t, but there was only one, Joan Rivers.



Joan Rivers

Joan first became really known in 1965 as a guest on the   ” Tonight  Show ” hosted by Johnny Carson.  The show established her comic style of poking fun at celebrities and at herself.

     Joan was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York ….. the youngest daughter of Russian Jewish immigrants.  She attended the Adelphi Academy until the time her parents moved to Larchmont, New York.  She went to Connecticut College 1950 – 1952 and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Barnard College in 1954 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature and anthropology.  Before entering show business she worked as a tour guide at Rockefeller Center, a writer/proofreader for an advertising agency and a fashion consultant.

Joan Rivers


During the late 1950′s  -  1960′s  she appeared at numerous comedy clubs in the New York City area.  In the 1970′s – 1980′s  she was appearing on various television and variety shows and opening for numerous singers on the Las Vegas Strip. In 1983 she was the first female comedian to ever perform at Carnegie Hall.  During the 1980′s she also tried her hand at hosting talk shows, both daytime and night time.  (  The Joan Rivers Show, which ran for five (5) years won her a Daytime Emmy in 1990 for Outstanding Talk Show Host ) 


Joan and Melissa Rivers

In 1994, Joan and her daughter Melissa first hosted the E! Entertainment Television pre-awards show for the Golden Globe Awards and in 1995 they hosted the annual E! Entertainment Television pre-award show for the Academy Awards.

     In the early 2000′s, Joan was seen everywhere. She was  regularly on the Shopping Channel and QVC promoting her own line of jewelry.  She performed in the Royal Variety Show 2007 at the Liverpool Empire Theatre, England, with Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip present.  In 2009 she was roasted in a Comedy Central special, and started a new reality series  ” How’d You Get So Rich “.  Starting in September 2010, she co-hosted  ” E!  Fashion Police ” which started out in a 30 minute slot but by March 2012 was expanded to a hour show.


Fashion Police

  On August 26, 2014 Joan co-hosted a taping of  ” Fashion Police ” with George Kotsiopoulos, Giuliana Rancic, and Kelly Osbourne about the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards and the 2014 MTV Movie Awards.  ( This was to be her last television appearance )





          During her 55 year career as a comedian, her tough talking style of satirical humor was both praised and criticized as being truthful, yet too personal, too gossipy, and very often abrasive. Nonetheless, with her ability to  ” tell it like it is “  she became a pioneer of contemporary comedy and accepted the criticism as part of her using social satire as a form of humor. Joan loved to talk about things that affected our generation that nobody else talked about.



Joan Rivers

  In her personal life Joan was a member of Temple Emanu-El in New York and would state publicly that she loved Israel. She even criticized celebrities who supported Hamas in the 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict.

     Her first marriage was to James Sanger in 1955 which only lasted six (6) mionths. Her second marriage in 1965 was to Edgar Rosenberg who died in 1987.  Their only child is Melissa Warburg Rosenberg ( now Melissa Rivers ) and her son Cooper Endicott is Joan’s only grandchild.

Joan Rivers
Edgar Rosenberg

  Joan Rivers was a philanthropist and HIV / AIDS activist. She donated to Jewish charities, animal welfare, and suicide prevention causes. She was a supporter of   ‘ God’s Love We Deliver ‘ a non- profit which delivers meals to HIV / AIDS patients in New York City and Guide Dogs fo the Blind.


Joan Rivers
7000 Hollywood Blvd.

  On August 28,2014 Rivers experienced serious complications and stopped breathing during a procedure on her vocal cords.  On September 4, 2014 it was announced that she had died.

     In her personal life, Joan showed very few of those character traits that viewers saw on screen.  Ralph Schoenstein, a good friend, stated ….. ” She has no airs. She doesn’t stand on ceremony. The woman has absolutely no pretense. She will tell you everything immediately.  Joan isn’t cool ….. she’s completely open. It’s all grist. It’s her old thing — ‘ CAN  WE  TALK ? ‘ “

Joan  Rivers






















         Where are the scouts, Flint and Cooper ?



Robert Horton


    ROBERT  HORTON … ( Meade Howard Horton, Jr. )

     Born: July 29, 1924 ….. Los Angeles, California

     Resides: Encino, California

     Robert Horton was / is an American television actor who was best known as the frontier scout Flint McCullough  in the western TV series,  Wagon  Train. He was in the role from 1957 to 1962 when he left to pursue a career in musical theatre.

     The rugged and handsome Horton made dozens of appearances in movies and television shows between 1951 and 1989.


Robert Horton
Ward Bond


       Over the years, Horton appeared on numerous shows;   ‘ Alfred Hitchcock Presents ‘ …..  ‘ The DuPont Show with June Allyson ‘ ….. ‘ Here’s Hollywood ‘ ….. ‘ The Barbara Stanwyck Show ‘ ….. and  ‘ The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show ‘ .

     He is also remembered for his off-beat role as a cowboy amnesiac in the TV series;   ‘ A Man called Shenandoah ‘.  He starred in ‘ The Dangerous Days of Kiowa Jones ‘ which was the first western specifically made for television and simultaneous distribution to cinemas in Europe.


      He went on to perform for many years in theatres and nightclubs all over America and Australia as a singer.

     Horton is an accomplished pilot and aircarft owner.  He is usually accompanied by his co-pilot  ” Jamie “  his French Poodle.

     He has received several lifetime awards including the prestigious Golden Boot and recently the  Cowboy Spirit Award at the National Festival of the West.


Robert Horton

     According to his publicist, he will no longer be making any personal appearances as he has grown tired of the traveling

     Horton and his wife reside in Encino, California.





Robert Fuller
Cooper Smith
Scout on Wagon Train


          ROBERT  FULLER     (  Buddy  Lee )

          Born: July 29, 1933 —– Troy, New York

          Lives; Near Gainesville, Texas


     Fuller is an American television actor and current horse rancher who during his five (5) decades of television is best known in his starring roles as Jess Harper and Cooper Smith in the western TV series  ‘ Laramie ‘  and  ‘ Wagon Train ‘.  He is also known for his lead role as Dr. Kelly Brackett in the 1970′s  medical drama  ‘ Emergency ‘.

     He was born Buddy Lee, but when his mother married a naval academy officer and moved to Florida, he changed his name to Robert Simpson Jr.

     In his earlier life he spent time acting and dancing as his parents owned a dancing school.  In 1952 when his family traveled to California he found his first job as a stunt man. When he established his acting career, he chamged his name to Robert Fuller. His first small role was in the 1952 film ’ Above and Beyond ‘  and he had a minor part in ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’  starring Marilyn Monroe.  His career came to a sudden stop when he was drafted into the army.  He returned to the states in 1955 and considered giving up acting, but his best friend suggested he go to acting classes.


Robert Fuller


     He was able to land a small role in the 1956 film  ‘Friendly Persuasion ’ where he worked with his furure  ‘Laramie’  co-star, John Smith and another close friend Doug McClure.


     Fuller became an immensely popular character actor, guest-starring in numerous television series including;  ‘ The Big Valley ‘ ….. ‘ The Californians ‘ ….. ‘ M Squad ‘ ….. ‘ The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin ‘ ….. and  ‘ Lux Playhouse ‘.   He was also seen in; ‘ Highway Patrol ‘ ….. ‘ The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp ‘ …..’ Mike Hammer ‘ ….. and  ‘ Maverick ‘. Then there came  ‘ Laramie ‘  which ran from  1959 – 1963.

     When ‘ Laramie ‘ ended he went to another western series,  ‘ Wagon Train ‘ starring  John McIntire. According to an August 17, 2009 interview, he was not brought onto Wagon Train to replace Robert Horton  ( Horton had left the series a season earlier ).  Fuller stayed with the series until it ended it’s run.

     When producer, Jack Webb saw Fuller’s work, he insisted that he should star in his new medical drama,  ‘Emergency’ .   Julie London and husband Bobby Troup had already signed.  They all became life-long friends.


Robert Fuller


     In the 1980′s and 1990′s Fuller played supporting roles in more than twenty (20)  television shows, some of which were:  ‘ The Love Boat ‘ ….. ‘ The Fall Guy ” ….. ‘ Murder She Wrote ‘ ….. ‘ JAG ‘….. & ‘ Diagnosis Murder ‘.  By the 1990′s, Fuller had mostly retired from films and in 2001 he married actress Jennifer Savidge.


Robert  Fuller

In March of 2010, Fuller presented James Drury the  ” Cowboy Spirit Award ” at the ” Festival of the West “.  In 2004, Fuller and his wife moved from Los Angeles to north Texas to raise horses.  In 2013 Fuller celebrated his 80th birthday while vacationing on a ranch in Libby, Montana.

     Over the years Robert Fuller received numerous awards including:

          1.  ( 1961 )….. Best Actor Award in Japan and the Japanese Golden Order of Merit which was presented by the Empress of Japan.  Fuller was the first American ever to win this award.

          2.  ( 1970 ) …..  He won five (5) Otto’s,  ( German equivalent of the Emmy ) and the Buffalo Bill Award for Outstanding Western Entertainment.

          3.  ( 1989 ) ….. Golden Boot Award

          4.  ( 2007 ) ….. In April he was inducted into the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City.  In October of the same year he was one of the winners of the Silver Spur Award.

          5.  Robert Fuller was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Robert Fuller
Hollywood Walk of Fame
6608 Hollywood Blvd.















WAGON TRAIN….. assistant Trail Master & Cook

They all worked together to make it safe …..



Terry Wilson


     Born:  September 3, 1923 —– Huntington Park, California

     Died: March 30, 1999 —– Canoga Park, California

     Terry Wilson was an American actor and stunt-man who was best known as Bill Hawks, assistant trailmaster on the television show   ” Wagon Train “ , viewed from 1957 to 1965.  He was with the show for the entire 8 seasons.  He also appeared in more than thirty-five  (35)  films plus  “The Lone Ranger “  and  ” Cheyenne ” on television.  After “Wagon Train” ended  he appeared in numerous other westerns such as : ” Custer and Hondo ” (1967 )…..  ” The Shakiest Gun in the West ” (1968) …..  ” The Virginian ” (1970 & 1971) ….. ” Gunsmoke ” (1972) …..  and  “Hec Ramsey” (1973 & 1974).  In 1975 he appeared in the Disney film  ” Escape To Witch Mountain ” and in 1981, his last acting role, he was in   ” The Dukes of Hazzard “.


Wagon Train
Robert Fuller, Frank McGrath, John McIntire, Terry Wilson


Terry was a part of the John Ford stock troup and often appeared with his friend and fellow stunt performer, Frank McGrath.  In 1957, Ward Bond specifically requested that Wilson and McGrath would be regulars on Wagon Train.  When Ward Bond died, it was Wilson who broke the news to Bond’s best friend,   John Wayne.  It was said that they both cried together on the phone.

     Wilson is interred at Pierce Brothers Valley Oaks Memorial Park in the West Lake area of Los Angeles.

Wagon Train
Frank McGrath
Terry Wilson







Frank McGrath
Wagon train’s cook



          Born: February 2, 1903 —– Mound City, Missouri

          Died: May 13, 1967 —– Beverly Hills, California


     Frank McGrath was an American stunt performer and television actor who played the comical and optimistic cook,  Charlie  Wooster,  on the television western, Wagon Train for the entire eight (8) seasons.

     McGrath’s first role was in the 1932 film  ‘ The Rainbow Trail ‘. Even at th age of 53 he did 3 seperate horse fall and drag scenes for the 1956 John Wayne picture,  ‘ The Searchers ‘.


Wagon Train
Frank McGrath … cook
Ward Bond ….. Trailmaster
Terry Wilson ….. assistant Trailmaster

He also was on both  ‘ Cheyenne ‘  and  ‘ Tales of Wells Fargo  ‘ on television,  and in the 1958 film  ” The Tin Star “  with Henry Fonda.  After  ‘ Wagon Train ” ended,  he kept busy with both television and film roles such as;  ‘ The Virginian ‘ (1966) ….. ‘ The Big Valley ‘ (1967) ….. ‘  War Wagon ‘ ….. ‘ The Last Challenge ‘ ….. ‘ The Shakiest Gun in the West ‘ (1968 )and many others.

     Frank died of a heart attack in Beverly Hills, California.














Ward Bond
wagon master

           WARD   BOND  (aka: Wardell Edwin Bond )

          Born: April 9, 1903 —– Benkelman, Nebraska

          Died: November 5, 1960 —– Dallas, Texas


     Bond was an American actor whose rugged appearance and easy going charm were featured in over 200 movies and television programs.  In movies he was best known for his role as Bert in the 1946  ” It’s A Wonderful Life ” and Captain Clayton in the 1956  ” The Searchers “.  On the television we knew him as  Major Seth Adams, the wagon master on the program   ” Wagon Train “.

     Bond was born in Nebraska and grew up in Denver, Colorado where he graduated from East High School. He then attended the University of Southern California and played football with the future USC coach, Jess Hill. At  6’2 “….. 195 pounds,  he was a starting lineman on USC’s first national championship team in 1928.  John Wayne had been a tackle for USC in 1926 before an injury ended his career. Bond and Wayne who became life-long friends,  along with the rest of the 1929 Cal. team were hired to appear in the 1929 film  ‘ Salute ‘  a football  film starring George O’Brien and directed by John Ford.  During the filming, both Bond and Wayne became friends with Ford and appeared in numerous later films. The fact remains the three (3) men became the best of friends, drinking, hunting, sailing, fishing, smoking, card-playing, prank-pulling lifelong soulmates. Bond’s home away from home was with Ford, Wayne, and other friends at the Hollywood Athletic Club.  By the late ’30′s , the group did more fishing and boating and became  ‘ the yacht club for people who don’t like yacht clubs’.


Ward Bond
The Searchers


‘ The Searchers’  was another strong performance by Bond as Reverend Captain Samuel Clayton, parson and leader of the Texas rangers.


Ward Bond
My Darling Clementine

In  1946 Bond was great as the villain in  ‘Canyon Passage’  and ended his time at Fox with the classic western,  ‘ My Darling Clementine ‘.


Ward Bond
It’s a Wonderful Life

As Bert the cop,  in  ‘ It’s a Wonderful Life ‘


Ward Bond
John Wayne



Bond made a ton of great movies but this actor was also a star athlete, well educated, extremely patriotic, and a political activist whose close friendships with John Ford and John Wayne was a mainstay for his life and career.  With his booming voice and huge presence, he naturally and subtly conveyed emotion and meaning and brought to life even the smallest part.  When on screen, he was often John Wayne’s sidekick;  but in real life he played a leading role as an outspoken Hollywood conservative, a culture warrior,  and a fearless/ determined/ persistent anti-Communist activist.



Ward Bond


Bond worked hard through the ’30′s, appearing in more than 130 films. 1939 was to be his biggest year as he made almost 20 movies, including  ‘ Submarine Patrol ‘,  ‘ Dodge  City ‘ and  ‘ Gone With The Wind ‘.  His best and most prominent roles were in two (2) John Ford films starring Henry Fonda;  ‘Young Mr. Lincoln’  and  ‘ Drums along the Mohawk ‘.   In 1941 he did two (2) more films with John Ford ( The Long Voyage Home and  Tobacco Road ).  Bond was exempt from military service because of his epilepsy, but served as an air raid warden and kept busy acting.  He was great in  ‘ The Grapes of Wrath ‘,  ‘The Maltese Falcon’, and  ‘ Gentleman Jim ‘.


Ward Bond

Bond had a starring role in  ‘ Hitler — Dead or Alive ‘ which was a big influence on Tarantino’s  ‘ Inglorious  Basterds ‘

     In February 1944 he was a part of the meeting which formed the Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals.  Bond was an early and key member and over the years committed a great deal of money and star power to the MPA’s activities which were typical of a watchdog group.

     In the summer of 1944, Bond was struck by a hit and run driver, suffering a shattered  leg.  He was briefly in a coma, but despite the danger, he refused to allow an amputation. When he was in Ford’s film,  ‘ They were Expendable ‘, he used crutches to help walk and for many months he wore a brace and had several surgeries.

     In 1957 Bond had a new job, Major Adams on the TV series  ‘ Wagon Train ‘.  Finally he was a star in his own right.  


Ward Bond
Wagon Train


     He became very involved in the stories, casting and rewriting scripts he felt were negative, unpatriotic,or immoral, this took a toll on his health. In the first couple of years, he had an ulcer, was hospitalized for pneumonia and bronchitis,  and had emergency  surgery for an appendectomy. During a hiatus from the show he would still do films, one time breaking his hip. He also gained weight, then would slim down with pills and crash diets which would cause problems with his epilepsy and high blood pressure.   He still worked as hard as ever and certainly didn’t cut back on his activism.

     On November 5th he arrived in Dallas to attend the Cotton Bowl football game and appear during the half-time show. After spending some time with friends in Dallas he returned to his motel room where he suffered a fatal heart attack.

     John Ford joined John Wayne in making the funeral arrangements.  According to reports at the time, Ford was too devastated to appear in public until a few days later when he gave a statement to the press….. ” Ward will always be with us, where ever actors gather to talk or stunt men get together for a card game.  They’ll remember.  He was a great character and a great guy. “  Pall bearers included Navy Commander and Captain Ken Curtis, ( The Son’s of the Pioneers and Gunsmoke’s Festus ) and Harry Carey Jr. ‘………. John Wayne gave an emotional eulogy.  His ashes were scattered off Catalina Island per his instructions.

     Ward Bond loved his fans and used his fame and money for charity, usually to raise money for veterans. He was a man of faith and a man of his word;  a man who respected a promise and a contract, and as a loyal friend, a man who would get his longtime stunt buddies regular gigs on Wagon Train.


Hollywood Walk of Fame
6933 Hollywood Blvd.

     In 2001, he was inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City.  There is also a Ward Bond Memorial Park in his birthplace of Benkelman, Nebraska.


Ward Bond

   Bond was unselfish, generous, gentle, kind and funny. Bond made no secret of his patriotism; John Wayne said in his eulogy  ” there was no one who loved his country more’ ….. ” He was beautiful where it counted –  inside. “






John McIntire


     Born: June 27, 1907 —– Spokane, Washington

          Died: January 30, 1991 —– Pasadena, Callifornia


     The craggy-faced actor , born in Washington state, was raised in Montana. He grew up around ranchers and cowboys, an experience he would use in films and television the rest of his life.  He graduated from USC and began his acting on the radio.  He even met his future wife while on the radio. He went on to  films and television as a character actor.  His big screen debut came in 1942, and went to  appear in sixty five  (65)  films usually playing police,  judges, eccentric loners, or other western characters.

     Some of his films include;  ‘ The Asphalt Jungle ‘ (1950),   ‘ Psycho ‘ (1960), and  ‘ Elmer Gantry ‘ ( 1960).  His more memorable roles were in westerns such as;  ‘ Winchester ’73 (1950),  ‘ The Far Country ‘ (1955),  and  ‘ The Tin Star ‘ (1957).  He received top billing for his best role in  ‘ The Phoenix City Story ‘ (1955) even though he played a supporting part.


John McIntire

He played the judge in  ‘ Rooster Cogburn ‘ (1975).  His final role was in  ‘ Turner and Hooch ‘ (1989).  In the mid- 1950′s  John moved into television and in 1961 replaced  the late Ward Bond in  ‘Wagon Train’ playing trailmaster Chris Hale.


John Mc Intire
Trail master; Chris Hale

     John played numerous characters in TV shows, such as  ‘ Naked City ‘,  ‘ The Americans ‘,  ’ Overland Trail ‘,  ‘ The Virginian ‘, and  ‘ Twilight Zone ‘.

John McIntire and James Whitmore
The Virginian

John McIntire and George Grizzell
Twilight Zone

John McIntire and Jeff Chandler
The Spoilers

In 1935, McIntire married actress Jeanette Nolan and they had 2 children;  Tim and Holly.


John Mc Intire and daughter Holly
Wagon Train 1963

McIntire and Nolan worked together  as voice actors in numerous animated films such as:  Disney’s   ‘ The Rescuers  ‘ and   ‘  The Fox and the Hound ‘.

     John McIntire died from emphysema and lung cancer in 1991.

      May we always remember this wagon master !


John McIntire and Robert Fuller

































          ”  Wagon Train ”  was very popular with both boys and girls and even some of their parents.  The TV program was inspired by the 1950 film  ‘Wagon  Master’  which was inspired by the 1930 film   ’The Big Trail’  starring John Wayne.  The program was about the adventures of a wagon train making its way from Missouri to California. There were 284 episodes and ran from September 18, 1957   thru  May 2, 1965.


Wagon Train
on their way west


Their was the regular cast of  six (6) and numerous guest stars which included: Claude Akins,  Ernest Borgnine,   Lon Chaney Jr.,  Lou Costello,  Laraine Day,  Angie Dickenson,  Nina Foch,  Dwayne Hickman,  Carolyn Jones,  Peter Lorre,  and Suzanne Pleshette.

     The series initially starred Ward Bond as the wagon master, but was replaced by John McIntire. Robert Horton, the scout was replaced by Robert Fuller.  The buckskin outfit Horton wore for the first season resembles John Wayne’s in the earlier film.



Ward Bond
Major Seth Adams, wagon master 

Born: April 9, 1903 —– Benkelman, Nebraska

                    Died: November 5, 1960 —– Dallas, Texas



John Mc Intire
wagon master….. Christopher Hale 

Born; June 27, 1907 —- Spokane, Washington

           Died: January 30, 1991 —– Pasadena, California

Robert Horton
scout….. Flint Mccullough

  Born: July 29, 1924 —– Los Angeles, California


Robert Fuller
scout….. Cooper Smith 

Born: July 29, 1933 —– Troy, New York


     The series aired for most of the time in black and white, except for a few color episodes.  Neither Bond nor McIntire, both veterans of dozens of supporting roles, routinely played the lead. The program used the cut down, shortened wagons as opposed to the full-length Conestoga wagons, drawn by oxen,  that were actually used in the move west. 


Frank McGrath
cook…..Charlie Wooster


Terry Wilson
Bill Hawks


  Most Western television shows of the 1950′s thru the 1960′s were set a few years after the American Civil War.  Major Seth Adams had been in command of a militia group out of Philadelphia that all enlisted in the Union Army in 1861. Bill Hawks was  Sargeant to Major Adams  and Wooster, not really good at anything else became the cook.  Flint McCullough had been a stage coach driver.



Michael Burns
Barnaby West

Denny Scott Miller
Duke Shannon


     The show followed the progress of the wagon train during the season until its final arrival in California after a  three (3) month journey.




For more information about the cast go to Reel People
















We, of a certain age, were raised by ” The Old West “….. not the area of land ; but the time which we gave to it.  We watched  ‘cowboys’ on TV, went to the movies to watch our favorites triumph over the bad guys, dressed like cowboys/cowgirls, played cowboys, slept with our gear, our  ‘guns’ at our sides just incase their was a badguy under the bed or hiding in our closets. We knew the guys with the white hats were good and the ones with the black hats were bad.   Life, for the most part was good and we had lots of fun doing what we did best; playing.

     Today we are going to look at just two of these  ‘cowboys’.  Some wore white hats, others not, but they all were there for us.

Wayde Preston, Ty Hardin, Jack Kelly, John Russell, James Garner, Peter Brown, Will Hutchins



                                Born: January 30, 1914 —– Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

                                Died: March 21, 1992 —– Santa Barbara, California


John Ireland


John was a Canadian actor and film director who lived in New York City starting at the age of 18. John was tall, lean , with dark hair and had been a professional swimmer who had at one time appeared in a water carnival. In New York he started out on the Broadway stage in minor roles and toured in Shakespeare in the late 1930s and early 1940s.  He moved on to films in the mid-1940s with his debut in the 1945 war film  ” A Walk in the Sun “.  This was followed by other films including  ( 1946 ) My Darling Clementine and  ( 1948 ) Red River.


John Ireland and Montgomery Clift
Red River


     The scene between Ireland and Clift where they compare guns and each other by  ” walking ” a can across the ground with gun shots, is a film classic.

     In 1949 Ireland received an Academy Award nomination for playing  Jack Burden in  “  All The King’s Men “  working with Broderick Crawford.


John Ireland Ralph Dumke, Broderick Crawford
All The King’s Men
( 1949 )



Ireland was a very prolific performer in films and early television and made the transition to supporting roles playing cynical villains like; Vengeance Valley ( 1951 ),  Gunfight at The OK Corral (1957 ),  55 Days at Peking ( 1963 ), The Fast and  the  Furious  (1955 ), and Spartacus  ( 1960 ).


John Ireland
The Gangster

John Ireland and Marla English
Hell’s Horizon 1955

Ireland was also seen in numerous television programs such as:  Rawhide, Bonanza, and Little House on the Prairie.

     Throughout his career he would regularly return to the stage.  He co-directed the western drama  Hannah Lee and the carjacking  The Fast and the Furious .

     In his later years, he owned a restaurant, Ireland’s,  in Santa Barbara, California.

     John died of leukemia at age 78. He was laid to rest in the Mausoleum of the Pines in the Santa Barbara Cemetery, Santa Barbara, California.



John Ireland
Hollywood Walk of Fame
1610 Vine Street


John Ireland
ca. 1945- 1955

John Ireland, in life, was known as one of the genuine   ‘ nice guys ‘  of Hollywood, always eager to meet with his fans, sign autographs, and pose for pictures.




                    JOHN DEHNER  (  John Forkum )

     Born: November 23, 1915 —– Staten Island, New York

     Died: February 4, 1992 —– Santa Barbara, California


John Dehner



     John Dehner was an American actor in radio, television, and films who played numerous roles often as a villain.  Between 1941 and 1988 he appeared in over 260 films and television programs. He had a large career as a radio actor, either as the lead or  in a supporting role. He starred as Paladin in the radio version of  ‘ Have Gun — Will Travel ‘  and  ‘ Frontier  Gentleman ‘  and did supporting roles in  ‘ Philip Marlowe ‘ &  ‘ Gunsmoke ‘

     Over the years John has been the guest star on numerous programs encluding;  The Adventures of Kit Carson,  Maverick,  Texas Rangers,  Sheriff of Cochise,  Perry Mason,  The Rebel,  The Twilight Zone,  Rawhide,   plus the following…..

John Dehner
Youngblood Hawke

John Dehner
The Rifleman

John Dehner
General von Platzen
Hogan’s Heroes



John Dehner
F Troop

John Dehner

     John Dehner was one of those actors who we knew by face but didn’t  know by name.




  John Dehner died from emphysema and diabetes in Santa Barbara, California and was buried at Carpinteria Cemetery in Carpinteria, California.



























What is that you wonder ?  Is this some kind of a joke?

NO …..  This is the hobby of collecting different match-related items;  matchboxes, matchbox labels, matchbooks, matchcovers, matchsafes, etc

The word comes from the Greek,  phil ( meaning loving ) and the Latin, lumen ( meaning light ) and was introduced by British collector Marjorie Evans in 1943.

     In some collections it is possible to find labels from chemical matches produced in 1810 – 1815.


Matches 1-1

Matches 1-2





A matchbook is a small paperboard folder enclosing a quantity of matches and having a coarse striking surface on the exterior.  The folder is opened to get to the matches, which are attached in a comb-like arrangement and must be torn away before they are used. The exterior of the matchbook cover is usually imprinted with a logo, often with artistic decorations and serves as an advertising medium.

     Manufacturing of matchbooks peaked during the 1940s and 1950s  then declined due to the availability of disposable lighters and anti-smoking campaigns.  The Diamond Match Co. became the first mass-producer of paper matchbooks.


Matches 2-4

Among the first companies to use advertising on matchbooks were Pabst beer, American Tobacco Company and Wrigley’s Chewing Gum.

     In 2005, there were over 1800 active collectors in over 20 countries.













     MUSIC  WAS  OUR  THING  !!!



Gisele MacKenzie


          Born: January 10, 1927 —– Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada

          Died: September 5, 2003 —– Burbank, California


     Gisele was a Canadian-American singer known best for her singing on  ‘Your  Hit  Parade ‘  and for playing the violin with or against Jack Benny.  No matter what she was doing, she always made you feel that she was enjoying herself.  Thus, as her audience, we could feel good too.


Gisele MacKenzie

She was born Gisele  Marie-Louise Marguerite LaFleche and studied violin and voice at The Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, Ontario Canada. She moved to Los Angeles, California in 1951, becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1955.


Gisele MacKenzie
her home in the Hotel Pierre ( when she was in New York )
June, 1953

MacKenzie possessed a crystal clear, resonant singing voice and perfect pitch.  She recorded on numerous record labels with her biggest selling song  ” Hard To Get “  in 1955.


     She was an accomplished violinist and performed many comedic musical duets with mentor, Jack Benny.  In 1952 and 1953 she toured with Benny and it was he who recommended her for  ‘Your Hit Parade ‘.



Gisele MacKenzie with Jack Benny


Gisele MacKenzie with Jack Benny

She sang on his show numerous times and was also a comedic foil.


Gisele Mac Kenzie with Jack Benny

Besides the Benny show, she was also featured on, The Dinah Shore Chevy Show,     The Ford Show, Starring Tennesee Ernie Ford,     The Pat Boone Chevy Showroom,     and The Ed Sullivan Show.  She also appeared in Las Vegas and numerous North American concerts.


Gisele MacKenzie
1950′s – 1960′s


Gisele spent many years on Your Hit Parade and after leaving in 1957 she had her own variety show.  In 1963 she could be seen on  The Sid Caesar Show and was a guest panelist on many quiz shows.

     In later years she performed widely in musical theater in shows like,  Mame,  Gypsy,  The Sound of Music,  and  Hello Dolly .  In the 1990′s, Gisele turned to acting on television, making guest appearances on Murder She Wrote and  MacGyver.

Gisele MacKenzie

Gisele was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.


Hollywood Walk of Fame
1601 Vine Street

Gisele Mackenzie died from colon cancer at age 76, leaving her daughter, contemporary jazz artist Gigi MacKenzie and son Mac Shuttleworth.





Roger Miller




     Born: January 2, 1936 —– Fort Worth, Texas

     Died: October 25, 1992 —– Los Angeles, California


          Roger Dean Miller was an American singer, songwriter, musician, and actor who is known best for his honky tonk influenced novelty songs.

          Roger was born the third son of Jean and Laudene Miller.  His father died from spinal meningitis when Roger was only a year old.  Laudene could not support the family and sent each of the boys to live with a different one of Jean’s brothers.. Thus Roger grew up on a farm near Erick, Oklahoma.  As a boy Roger did farm work, plowed, and picked cotton.  He received his primary education at a one (1) room school house.  In high school, he was a member of FFA and spent a great deal of time listening to the Grand Ole Opry .  His cousin’s husband, Sheb Wooley, taught Roger his first guitar chords and bought him a fiddle. Wooley, Hank Williams, and Bob Wills were the influences that led Miller to become a singer-songwriter.

     Near the end of Miller’s military career he played fiddle with a military musical group the  ” Circle A Wranglers “.  After discharge he traveled to Nashville to begin his musical career where he started out as a bellhop, singing as he worked.  He was eventually hired by Minnie Pearl to play fiddle in her band and was able to meet George Jones who introduced him to executives from Starday Records with whom he was given an audition.  Jones and Miller worked together writing  ” Tall, Tall Trees “  and  ” Happy Child “.

     After marriage and having a child, Miller decided to put his Nashville career on hold and moved to Texas to become a fireman.  During the day he was a fireman and at night  it was his music.  After a while his ‘day’ job suggested he find something else and he met Ray Price, who hired him as a member of his Cherokee Cowboys.  He then moved back to Nashville where he started writing music for other singers; ie:  Rex Allen, Ray Price, Ernest Tubbs, Faron Young, Jim Reeves, and others.


Roger Miller


In 1958, Miller signed with Decca Records and was paired with Johnny Paycheck. His second single with Decca,  ” Jason Fleming “  foreshadowed his future style.  He also signed a recording deal with RCA Records where he recorded other writer’s songs such as ” You Don’t Want My Love ” in 1960  and  ” When Two Worlds Collide ” in 1961. Again,  Miller grew tired of the singer-songwriter image and began a party lifestyle which earned him the name  ‘ wild child ‘ and was then dropped from his record label.

     After numerous appearances on late night comedy shows, he decided to go to Hollywood to become an actor. Not getting many acting gigs and short of money he signed with a new label, Smash Records making them a deal for a little up-front money. In 1964 he recorded  ” Dang Me ” and  “Chug-a-lug “  both rising on both the country charts and the Billboard Hot 100.  These songs transformed Miller’s career. Later is recorded  “Do-Wacka-Do ” and the biggest hit of his career  ” King of the Road “.  The song was certified gold in May 1965 and won him numerous other awards.

     Miller even had his own TV show on NBC from September 1966 to January 1967.  Again he recorded both his own songs and those by other writers such as;  ‘ Walkin in the Sunshine ‘,  ‘ Little Green Apples ‘, and  ‘ Me and Bobbie McGee ‘.


     He worked for Walt Disney doing 3 songs for the animated feature  ‘ Robin Hood ‘ as the rooster/minstrel, Alan-a-Dale.  He was also the equine narrator, Speiltoe, in the holiday special, ”  Nestor, the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey ” in 1978.


Roger Miller

In 1979, Miller hosted an episode of The Muppet Show, but was absent from entertainment following the release of  ” Old Friends ” in 1981 in which he worked with Willie Nelson.   He did return after receiving an offer to write a Broadway score for a new musical based on Mark Twain’s,  ‘ The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn ‘. The work,  ” Big River  “  opened in New York on April 25, 1985 receiving glowing reviews and earning seven (7) Tony Awards including  ” Best Score ” for Miller.



Roger Miller
The Muppets


     Miller moved to Santa Fe to live with his family following the success of   Big River.   He worked with Dwight Yoakam’s hit,  ‘ It Only Hurts When I Cry ‘.  Miller began a solo guitar tour in 1990 which ended the following year after being diagnosed with lung cancer.  His last performance on television was during a special tribute to Minnie Pearl which aired on October 26, 1992, the day after Miller’s death.


Roger Miller

In addition to Miller’s Tony Award for  ‘ Big River ‘,  he received  eleven ( 11 )  Grammy Awards.  He was voted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1973 and the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1995.


Country Music Hall of Fame
































           MUSIC  MAKES  THE  WORLD  GO  ROUND  !!!!!

Julius LaRosa


     Born: January 2, 1930 —– Brooklyn, New York

     Currently lives in Westchester County, New York


     Julius La Rosa is an American traditional popular music singer who has worked in both radio and television since the 1950′s.  He began singing while in the Navy where he was a radioman. His Navy buddies managed to promote him to Arthur Godfrey. Godfrey was a personality in the early years, heard La Rosa and offered him a job.

     Discharged from the Navy on a Friday, LaRosa went to Godfrey on the following Monday. A week later he appeared on Godfrey’s Variety show.  He was a regular on both the morning  ” Arthur Godfrey Time “  and the Wednesday night  ” Arthur Godgrey and his Friends “.  La Rosa’s  tenure on the Godfrey Show lasted from November 19, 1951 to October 19, 1953.


Julius LaRosa

In 1952, when Godfrey’s bandleader formed Cadence Records, La Rosa was the first performer signed.  His first single was  ‘ Anywhere I Wander  ‘  . ( It reached the top 30 )  the next was  ‘  My Lady Loves To Dance  ‘   followed by his first GOLD, and his third recording in 1953, ….. ( Eh Cumpari ).   La Rosa received the award for the best new male vocalist in 1953.  Godfrey discouraged him from hiring his own booking agent and manager, but La Rosa went ahead and hired Tommy Rockwell to represent him.


     With his hit recordings and appearances on the Godfrey show, La Rosa’s popularity grew. At one time his fan mail, 7,000 letters a week, eclipsed Godfrey’s.  On October 19, 1953, after a segment of the Godfrey show that was only broadcast on radio,  Godfrey did the unthinkable and actually fired La Rosa while on the air. ( he announced that the song Julie had just sung was his swan song with the show ) 


Julius LaRosa

The firing did not hurt La Rosa’s career…..  ” Eh, Cumpari “  became a major hit, followed by  ” Domani “  and Ed Sullivan was at his door.  He would appear on  ‘Toast of the Town ‘  twelve (12)  more times that year !  La Rosa also had his own show in 1955.


     La Rosa tired of rehashing the Godfrey affair and was known to reply publicly that yes it was Godfrey that was the person who made his career, but he always added that Godfrey was not a very nice man.

     Julius LaRosa went on to appear on many television shows and live performances such as;  The Honeymooners,     What’s My Line,     The Pat Boone Chevy Showroom,     The Polly Bergen Show,     ( in the 1950′s )  to  The Merv Griffin Show,     LaVerne and Shirley,     ( in the 1980′s ).

     La Rosa also had a re-occuring role in the soap opera  ‘ Another  World ‘   in which he was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Daytime Emmy.  He has been a frequent supporter for the Jerry Lewis,  ‘ Muscular  Dystrophy Association Telethon ‘.  He eventually moved to a long time disk jockey position with WNEW  New York.

     La Rosa, profiled by jazz critic and composer Gene Lees , a number of years ago , said that he continued to release records and compact discs.  New York Times music critic, Stephen Holden said,  ” His singing is very direct and unpretentious — he can wrap his voice tenaciously around a melody line and bring out the best in it. “


Julius La Rosa
during the Joe Williams Fundraiser at the
South Point Hotel /Casino
April, 2009

La Rosa  said in 2008     “  Music is a very egotistical thing ….. It makes me feel good ….. and fortunately, I have the capacity to make people feel good who hear me feel good.  “


Hollywood Walk of Fame
6290 Hollywood Blvd.





Claudine Longet



              Born: January 29, 1942 —– Paris, France

              Presently lives in Aspen, Colorado


     Claudine is a french singer and recording artist who was popular during the 1960′s  and  1970′s.  She is also an actress and dancer.  She was married to pop singer Andy Williams from 1961 to 1975 and has maintained a private profile since 1977.


Claudine Longet – Williams
Andy Williams

     Longet and Williams met in Las Vegas in 1960 when she was 18 and he 32.  She at the time was the lead dancer of the  ” Folies  Bergere “ .  They married December 1961 and had three  (3) children.


Andy Williams, Claudine Longet, and children
Noelle, Christian, and Bobby

They legally separated in 1970 and divorced in 1975.  They had remained good friends until Williams death.

     She resumed her career in late 1962;     Her first appearance  on TV came in 1963 as an actress in the comedy series  McHale’s Navy .  Other roles on TV  included,  Twelve O’Clock High,     Combat !,     The Name of the Game,     The Rat Patrol,     Hogans Heroes,     and  It Takes a Thief.  She appeared many times on  The Andy Williams Show and on other variety and music programs.


     Williams called Longet …..  a beautiful, athletic,slender, petite sleek brunette with large doe eyes     ‘ my favorite French singer ‘.  She initially recorded with A & M Records. and in 1971 joined Barnaby Records.


Claudine Longet

In  1975, she appeared as  ” The  Flower “  (non-singing)  with Richard Burton, Jonathan Winters and others on a children’s album  ” The Little Prince “  which won a Grammy in 1976 for the best Children’s Album.

     She also had much success and was very popular on the Billboard charts with both her albums and singles.  She remains popular in Japan, where all of her original albums were reissued on compact disc.


Claudine Longet
Andy Williams

Claudine and Andy were very close friends of Robert  ( Bobby ) and Ethel Kennedy….  visiting each other’s homes and vacationing together.  On the evening of June 4, 1968, following Kennedy’s  speech at the Democatic Party primary in California ,the two (2) couples had dinner/disco plans.   Shortly after midnight when Williams was making his way to the  Ambassador Hotel’s ballroom he heard loud noises and learned that Kennedy had been shot.  Both he and Claudine stayed with the Kennedy family and friends, and attended the funeral Mass  in New York City.  ( Longet and Williams named their son Bobby ( born August 1969 )  in remembrance of Robert Kennedy )


     In March of  1976, the year after her divorce from Williams, Longet was arrested and charged with fatally shooting her boyfriend, Olympic skier Vladimir ( Spider ) Sabich at his home in Aspen, Colorado.  Williams pubicly supported Longet throughout the trial. Eventually she was convicted of a lesser charge,  ( misdemeanor criminal negligence ).   She later married her lawyer, Ron Austin and they still live in Aspen, Colorado.


Claudine Longet



Longet  never performed again, although interest in her music has resurged in recent years following several CD releases and inclusion of her songs on television and film soundtracks, plus expressions of admiration by several young performers.





























We won’t forget him …… and neither will Jerry, Knucklehead, or Tigger …..

Paul Winchell newspaper obit. (atgb)

( atgb )

Paul Winchell ( atgb )



You Gave Us a Voice

  We grew up with them, and as children thought they were real.  As adults, we look back on them and smile while we remember how we loved them.   We also loved the people who made them seem so real to us.  This time we will take a look at just two (2) of those wonderful people.



Paul Winchell



     Born: December 21, 1922 —– New York City, New York

     Died: June 24, 2005 —– Los Angeles, California


     Paul Winchell was an American ventriloquist, voice actor, comedian, and inventor whose career was in the 1950′s and 1960′s.  His father was a tailor and his grandparents were Jewish immigrants from Poland and Austria-Hungary.  Winchell,  who initially wanted to be a doctor found his dream wiped out by the Depression, went on to become the first person to build and patent a mechanical heart, implantable in the chest.

     At age 13, Paul contracted polio and while recovering became interested in ventriloquism. After returning to school he asked his art teacher if he would receive credit for creating a ventriloquist’s dummy.. Jerry named his creation Jerry Mahoney, as a way of thanks.  ( his art teacher was Jerry Magon )


Paul Winchell
Jerry Mahoney

Winchell eventually put together a comedy routine and took it to the Major Bowes Amateur Hour where he won first prize.  He began playing various theatres with the Major Bowes Review ; while on tour, he was visited by band leader Ted Weems who made him an offer of employment. Winchell accepted and became a professional at age 14.


     Winchell’s first show as a ventriloquist was on radio with Jerry Mahoney in 1943.  His most successful TV show was  ‘ Winchell – Mahoney  Time ‘ ( 1965 – 1968 ) which was a children’s show written by his then wife Nina Russel.  His last regular TV appearance was working with his puppets on  ‘ The Storybook Squares ‘  which was during the 1969 season  and  ‘ Runaround  ‘  during the 1972 season.  Both were geared for children and were seen on Saturday morning.


Jerry Mahoney, Paul Winchell
and Knucklehead Smiff

Winchell with Jerry Mahoney was a frequent guest panelist on  ‘ What’s My Line ‘.  They also appeared on numerous series such as  ‘The Polly Bergen Show’,  ‘ The Beverly Hillbillies’,  ‘The Virginian’,  ‘The Lucy Show’,  ‘The Dick Van Dyke Show’,  and ‘ The Brady Bunch’.  There were also numerous movies in which they had guest spots.

     Paul also did a great deal of voice acting for cartoons….. mostly for Disney and Hanna – Barbera.  His best remembered role would be the voice of  Tigger in  ” The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh “.  although there were many other characters he would give life to.  From 1981 – 1986 he was the voice of Gargamel on  The Smurfs.



Paul Winchell
voice of Tigger

Paul Winchell was also very interested in medicine and studied pre-med at Columbia University. He graduated from The Acupuncture College of Los Angeles in 1974 and also worked as a hypnotist at the Gibbs Institute in Hollywood. He developed over 30 patents in his lifetime and held the first patent for an artificial heart with the help of Dr. Henry Heimlich. He established more medical patents while working on projects for the Leukemia Society and the American Red Cross. Some things he invented were:  disposable razor, blood plasma defroster, flameless cigarette lighter, an ” invisable ” garter belt, a fountain pen with a retractable tip, and Battery – heated gloves.


Paul Winchell


Paul Winchell died in 2005 of natural causes.  He was cremated and his ashes were scattered over his home property in Los Angeles, California.  Jerry Mahoney and Knucklehead Smiff are in the Smithsonian.

        Paul Winchell has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

North side of the
6300 block of
Hollywood Blvd.


Just remember………. PAUL WINCHELL   AND  TIGGER  TOO !!!!!




     More on Paul Winchell ;   see ‘ The Final Curtain ‘  …..





Shari Lewis


SONIA  PHYLLIS  HURWITZ     (  Shari  Lewis  )

          Born: January 17, 1933 —– New York City, New York

          Died; August 2, 1998 —– Los Angeles, California


     Shari Lewis was an American ventriloquist, puppeteer, and children’s television host during the 1960′s thru 1990′s.  She is best known as the original puppeteer of Lamb Chop.


Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop

Lewis was the daughter of Abraham Hurwitz, a education professor at Yeshiva University, and Ann Ritz.  As a child her parents encouraged her to perform by receiving instruction in acrobatics, juggling,  ice skating, baton twirling, piano, violin, and magic.  She was taught ventriloquism by John W. Cooper.  She continued  her music studies at New York’s High School of Music and Art…… dance, at the American School of Ballet ….. and acting with Sanford Meiser of the Neighborhood Playhouse.  She attended Barnard College for one (1) year, then left to go into show business.


Shari Lewis & Lamb Chop ( atgb )




In 1952, Shari and her puppetry won first prize on Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts.  In March 1956, she made a guest appearance on Captain Kangaroo where she first used Lamb Chop. Over the late 1950′s she hosted many children’s programs with her puppets, Lamb Chop …..Hush Puppy ….. Charlie Horse ….. and Wing Ding.

Shari Lewis with some favorite friends

Lamb Chop was Shari’s sassy alter-ego.  Hush Puppy had a shy and reserved personality.  Charlie Horse was slow-witted and goofy.

     In 1992, her Emmy – winning show ;   ‘ Lamb Chop’s Play – Along ‘  began a five (5) year run on PBS.  She also had another PBS series  ‘ The Charlie Horse Music Pizza ” which was one of her last projects before her death.


Shari Lewis with Lamb Chop and Charlie Horse

The video,  ‘  Lamb Chop’s Special Chanukah  ‘, released in 1996 received the Parent’s Choice award of the year.

Shari, over the years, also made guest appearances on the Muppets and appeared live on the Disneyland stage.


Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop

Disneyland: Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop
Hoosier Hot Shots (music)
Baby ANNA (baby elephant …trainer/owner Jack Badal) (atgb) Jack Badal Collection

Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop at Disneyland (atgb) Jack Badal Collection


Shari Lewis was diagnosed with uterine cancer in June 1998.  While undergoing treatment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center she developed viral pnuemonia and died.  Her remains were cremated.  Shari was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.


Shari Lewis
Walk of Fame
North Side of 6700 block
of Hollywood Boulevard

     Among other Awards and Honors are:  Parents’ Choice Awards (7); ….. Emmy Awards (12); ….. Peabody Award ( 1960 ) ; …..  John F. Kennedy Center Award for Excellence and Creativity ( 1983 ) ; ….. Silver Circle Award of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences  (1996).


Shari Lewis with Lamb Chop







































      3 men with the letter  “L” beginning their last names………. from 3 generations.    Join me in looking backward with all three (3) ….. and in the present with one.  Enjoy ….. Have Fun ….. Add some interesting information to your lives …..



Fritz Leiber

Fritz  Reuter  Leiber, Sr.

     Born: January 31, 1882 —– Chicago, Illinois

     Died: October 14, 1949 —– Pacific Palisades, California


     Fritz Leiber was an American  who was a highly respected Shakespearean stage actor and had a successful career in film.  Born in Chicago, he was based there for most of his pre-Hollywood life.

     He was married to Virginia Bronson ( also a Shakespearean actress ) and the father of noted science fiction / fantasy writer Fritz Leiber Jr.

     Leiber made his film debut in 1916, playing Mercutio in the Francis X. Bushman version of  ‘ Romeo and Juliet  ‘.  With his piercing eyes and white hair, he seemed every inch the priests, professors, musical professors, and religious fanatics he would frequently play in films.  His many silent-era characters included Caesar in Theda Bara’s 1917  ‘ Cleopatra  ‘ and  Solomon in the 1921 Betty Blythe film,  ‘  The Queen of Sheba ‘.


Fritz Leiber

Fritz Leiber … Theda Bara
Cleopatra ( 1917 )

Leiber thrived as a character actor in talkies, usually in historical roles.  In the film  ‘ Champagne Waltz ‘ he portrayed an orchestra maestro in a role that required him to play classical music on a violin and jazz on a clarinet.  His most notable musical role was as Franz Liszt in the Claude Rains 1943 remake of  ‘Phantom of the Opera’.

     Late in his career he performed briefly opposite Charlie Chaplin as the priest who visits  ‘ Monsieur Verdoux ‘ in his death cell.



Fritz Leiber Sr.

For most of his long acting career, Leiber had an  (?) interesting hobby.  Each time he performed a new role he had his likeness made in costume and make-up.  In his collection, he varied the format and media: one was a full length oil painting,  another a charcoal sketch, one a clay bas refief, and yet another a sculpted bust, and so on.  When he died all of the surviving portraits were passed to his son.

Fritz Leiber

Leiber Jr., not sure of what to do with over 200 copies of his father’s face, later used the experience as the basis of his 1963 story  ” 237 Talking Statues “.

     Guess sometimes only one father likeness is enough !!!!


Fritz Leiber
Louis Pasteur




                                        CHARLES  LANE


Charles Lane


     Charles  Gerstle  Levison

Born: January 26, 1905 —– San  Francisco, California

Died: July 9, 2007 —– Santa Monica, California


     Charles Lane was an American character actor seen in many movies and television shows and at the time of his death may have been the oldest living professional American actor.  He appeared in more than 250 films and hundreds of television shows. Somedays he played more than one role, getting into costume and filming his 2 or 3 lines, then hurrying off to another set for a different costume and different role.

     Lane spent a short time as an insurance salesman before the stage at the Pasadena Playhouse called him. It was actor/director Irving Pichel that first suggested Lane go into acting in 1929 and four (4) years later he was a founding member of the Screen Actors Guild.  He became a favorite of Lucille Ball and director Frank Capra.


Charles Lane

Charles Lane was seen in numerous Capra films such as;  1938 ” You Can’t Take it with You ” —– 1939  ” Mr. Smith Goes to Washington ” —–1944  ” Arsenic and Old Lace ” —– and  1946 ” It’s a Wonderful Life “  where he played a seemimgly hard-nosed rent collector for the miserly Henry Potter.

      As  mentioned,  Charles was a favored supporting actor of Lucille Ball, who often used him as a no-nonsense authority figure and comedic foe of her scatterbrained TV character on  ‘ I Love Lucy ‘  —– ‘  The Lucy – Desi Comedy Hour ‘ and  ‘  The Lucy Show ‘.


Charles Lane

Among his many character roles was Mr. Fosdick in the Peter Lawford sitcom  ‘ Dear Phoebe ‘….. the boss of the title character in the June Havoc sitcom  ‘  Willy ‘ ….. the short-fused bank teller in the sitcom  ‘Mama’s Little Babies’ …..  ‘ How to Marry a Millionaire ‘ and the mean-spirited railroad executive, J. Homer Bedloe in  ‘ Petticoat Junction ‘.

     As a good friend of Lucille Ball he played numerous scowling, beady- eyed, short tempered, no nonsense professionals in many of the Lucy shows.  He also appeared as the shop keeper, Mr. Finch on  ‘ Dennis the Menace ‘.


Charles Lane
Dennis the Menace
Guest star

In 1963 he appeared in the comedy  “ It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World “   playing the airport manager.  His final acting role was at the age of 101 in the 2006  ‘ The Night Before Christmas ‘.  His last TV role was at the age of 90, when he appeared in the 1995 Disney comedy  ‘ The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes


Charles Lane
Twilight Zone

In 2005, the TV Land Awards celebrated his 100th birthday by presenting his award and singing Happy  Birthday

     Prior to his death, he was one of the last remaining survivors of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake.


Charles Lane

Despite his stern, hard-hearted demeanor in films and TV,  friends describe Lane as warm, funny and  kind..  He continued to live in his Brentwood home until his death.

Charles Lane






Robert Loggia
( atgb )


  Robert  Loggia  ( aka;  Salvatore Loggia  )

          Born: January 3, 1930 —– Staten Island, New York

          Died:  Robert is still with us …..

            Robert is an Italian American film and television actor/director who specialized in character parts. He is the son of Elena and Benjamin Loggia who were both born in Sicily. He studied at Wagner College and journalism at the University of Missouri,and served in the U.S. Army before beginning a long career as a supporting actor in movies, on stage and television.

Robert Loggia


     Loggia was a radio and TV anchor in Southern Command Network in the Panama Canal Zone. He first came to prominence playing real-life American Elfego Baca in the series of Walt Disney television shows.

Robert Loggia
” Elfego Baca “



He also starred as the cat-burglar -turned-good in the series  ”  T.H.E. Cat  “.  Some of his other television credits include appearances on  Frasier … Overland Trail … Breaking Point … Combat … Columbo … Ellery Queen …Starsky and Hutch … Charlies Angels … The Rockford Files … Magnum P.I. …Quincy Me … The Sopranos … and Monk.


          Film roles include parts in   An Officer and a Gentleman … The Rescue of Flight 771 … Scarface … Prizzi’s Honor … Independence Day … Armed and Dangerous …  and  Big …   His most unusual role might be that of a mob boss who becomes a vampire in  Innocent Blood …..


Robert Loggia
Tom Hanks
” BIG “



Robert Loggia


In 1985 he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in the thriller  ‘  Jagged  Edge  ‘   and in 1989 for an Emmy in the TV series  ‘ Maneuso,  F.B.I. ‘.

Robert Loggia
Glen Close
” The Jagged Edge “


He also had parts in  ‘ Oliver and Company  ‘ ….. ‘ Last Highway ‘….. and  ‘  Independence Day ‘.


Robert Loggia
” Independance Day “


Robert Loggia continues to be active in the film and television community.


Robert & Audrey Loggia

Robert Loggia
May 2008
25th annual Ellis Island Medals of Honor Ceremony and Gala
at the Musuem of the American Indian
New York City

Robert Loggia


































Ernst Lubitsch








BORN : January 28, 1892 —– Berlin, Germany

          DIED : November 30, 1947 —– Hollywood, California


          Ernst Lubitsch was a German born film director whose urbane comedies of manners gave him the reputation of being Hollywood’s most elegant and sophisticated director. As his prestige grew, his films were promoted as having the  ” Lubitsch touch “.

          In 1947 he received an Honorary Academy Award for his distinguished contributions to the art of the motion picture.  He had been nominated three (3) times for Best Director.

Ernst Lubitsch
( young man going places )

Lubitsch was the son of a Jewish tailor, Simcha,  and his wife Anna, both Russian immigrants.  He did not want to enter the tailoring business, but instead turned to the theatre.  By 1911, he was a member of Max Reinhardt’s Theatre, making his debut the following year as an actor, but he decided to concentrate on directing.


Ernst Lubitsch
‘ Oyster Princess ‘


In 1918, Lubitsch made his mark as a serious director with  ‘ Die Augen der Mumie Ma ‘  ( The Eyes of the Mummy ) starring Pola Negri.  His films would alternate between escapist comedy and large scale historical dramas.  He was to enjoy great international success with both.  His reputation as a grand master of world cinema reached a new high after the release of  ” Madame Du Barry “ ( 1919 ) and  “  Anna Boleyn  “  (1920 ).  With glowing reviews and American money flowing his way he formed his own production company and began work on his high-budget spectacular,  “  The Loves of Pharaoh ” (1921).

Ernst Lubitsch

In 1921 Lubitsch sailed to the United States for the first time for  a publicity and fact finding tour.  However, with World War I still fresh he was not gladly received.

          He finally left Germany for Hollywood in 1922, and contracted as a director with Mary Pickford for the film  ‘ Roseita ‘ which was a critical and commercial success. However, due to a clash of personalities, it was the only film they ever made together.

As a free agent, Lubitsch was signed to a three (3) year, six (6) picture contract by Warner Brothers which gave him his choice of both cast and crew, and full editing control over the final cut.


Ernst Lubitsch

Ernst Lubitsch
piano man

Lubitsch  established his reputation for sophisticated comedy with such films as; “ The Marriage Circle ” ( 1924 ) ….. “ Lady Windermere’s Fan ” ( 1925 ) ….. and  ” So This is Paris “  ( 1926 ).  His contract was eventually dissolved by mutual consent with MGM-Paramount buying out the remainder.

          Ernst was excited about the advent of talkies and started directing musicals.  His first  was  ” The Love Parade “  ( 1929 ) starring Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald.  He hit his stride as a maker of worldly musical comedies  with  ” Monte Carlo “….. ( 1930 ) and  ” The Smiling Lieutenant ” ….. ( 1931 ).  They, along with  The Love Parade  were hailed by critics as masterpieces of the newly emerging musical genre.


Ernst Lubitsch

His next film was a romantic comedy,  ” Trouble in Paradise ” …..  ( 1932 )  It was later described ( approvingly ) as  ‘ truly amoral ‘ by critic   David Thomson.  The cynical comedy was popular both with critics and audiences.

     Writing about Lubitsch’s work, critic Michael Wilmington observed:  ” At once elegant and ribald, sophisticated and earthy, urbane and bemused, frivolous yet profound.  They were directed by a man who was amused by sex rather than frightened of it — and who taught a whole culture to be amused by it as well.


Ernst Lubitsch
Miriam Hopkins

Ernst Lubitsch
Fredrick March

In 1935,  he was appointed Paramount’s production manager, thus becoming the only major Hollywood director to run a large studio.  He was fired after a year on the job because he had trouble delegating authority.  ( at one time he was overseeing sixty (60) different films )  He then returned to full-time moviemaking.


Ernst Lubitsch
on set with
producer Paul Davidson

Raul Walsh ( left )
Ernst Lubitsch ( right )

On July 27, 1935 he married British actress, Vivian Gaye.  They had one ( 1 )  daughter, Nicola, on October 27, 1938.

Ernst Lubitsch
( wife ) Vivian Gaye
( daughter ) Nicola

In 1936, he became a naturalized citizen of the United States.

         In 1939, he moved to MGM, and directed Greta Garbo in  ” Ninotchka “.  They had hoped to work together again, but this would be their only project.


Ernst Lubitsch
Greta Garbo

In 1940,  he directed  “  The Shop Around the Corner  “, an artful comedy of cross purposes which some considered among the greatest of films.

          Lubitsch’s movies take place in neither Europe nor America….. but in Lubitschland;  a place of metaphor, benign grace, rueful wisdom.   They were comedies of manners and the society in which it happened ….. a world of delicate sangfroid, where a breach of sexual or social propriety and the correct response are ritualized, but in unexpected ways. His approach to film, to comedy, and to life was not so much ahead of its time as it was totally out of any time.

         In 1941, Lubitsch went independent to direct  ” That Certain Feeling “ and in 1942 the dark anti-Nazi farce,  ” To Be or Not To Be “  which was Jack Benny’s only major screen success and Carole Lombard’s last picture.



Ernst Lubitsch
outside Bel Air home

Lubitsch spent the balance of his career at 20th Century Fox, but a heart condition curtailed his activity and he spent much of his time in  a supervisory capacity.  It is claimed that the last picture he made, with his distinctive touch was  1943  ” Heaven Can Wait “.

          In March of 1947, Lubitsch was awarded a Special Academy Award for his  ‘ 25-year contribution to motion pictures.  Mervyn LeRoy called him  ” a master of innuendo ” He had an adult mind and a severe dislike of saying things in an obvious way.


Ernst Lubitsch
That’s one BIG stogie

He died later that same year in Hollywood of a heart attack, his sixth.  His last film,  ” That Lady in Ermine “  with Betty Grable, was completed by Otto Preminger and released in 1948.  Leaving Lubitsch’s funeral, Billy Wilder ruefully said,  ” No more Lubitsch ” to which William Wyler responded,   ” Worse than that.  No more Lubitsch pictures.”


Ernst Lubitsch

Lubitsch has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Ernst Lubitsch
Hollywood Walk of Fame Star
7040 Hollywood Boulevard

  May he rest in peace and we in stitches !!!!!

Ernst Lubitsch






















                                  ANITA  LOUISE

Anita Louise

                               Anita  Louise  Fremault

     Born: January 9, 1915 —– New York City, New York

     Died: April 25, 1970 —–West Los Angeles, California


           Anita Louise was an American film actress who made her acting debut on Broadway at the age of six (6) and within a year was appearing in Hollywood films.  By her late teens she was doing both supporting and leading characters and was highly regarded for her delicate features and blonde hair.

          Anita Louise was named a WAMPAS Baby Star and was described as one of film’s most fashionable and stylish women.


          Her reputation was enhanced by her role as a Hollywood society hostess, with her parties attended by the elite and widely - regularly reported in the news media.

           She acted in a number of high profile movies such as:


Anita Louise
Marie Antoinette

Anita Louise
Titania, Queen of the Fairies
A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Anita Louise
The Sisters
1938  (atgb)

Anita Louise
The Go Getter
1937 (atgb)

Anita was also a major actress in:

     1934 ….. Madame Du Barry

     1935 ….. The Story of Louis Pasteur

     1936 ….. Anthony Adverse


     1939 ….. The Little Princess

Anita Louise

Anita Louise

Unfortunately, by the 1940′s she was only doing minor roles and worked infrequently.  By the 1950′s, with Television coming for many Americans she was provided with further opportunities

     In the mid-1950′s she played one of her most widely seen roles ( especially for the baby boomer set )  She played Nell McLaughlin in the television series   ‘ My Friend Flicka ‘ .

Anita Louise
My Friend Flicka
( TV )


Anita Louise retired after My Friend Flicka,  living with her husband, film producer Buddy Adler until his death in 1960.  She passed away from a stroke in Los Angeles, California in 1970 and was buried next to Adler at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.

     Anita Louise was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Anita Louie
Star on Hollywood Walk of Fame
6801 Hollywood Boulevard

Anita Louise






                                         JOAN   LESLIE



Joan Leslie

Joan  Agnes  Theresa  Sadie  Brodel

          Born: January 26, 1925 —– Detroit, Michigan

          Died:   We are so happy as Joan Leslie  is still with us …..


Joan is a retired American film and television actress who started performing as a singer at the age of nine (9)  with her two (2) sisters in a vaudeville act.  She started her Hollywood acting career while still a child, performing under her real name.


Joan Brodel ( Leslie )

She made her film debut in the MGM  movie of 1936 Camille.

Joan Leslie

Joan Leslie

The talented, young actress signed a contract with Warner Bros. and in 1941 she had her first major role in the thriller  ‘ High  Sierra ‘  with Humphrey Bogart.

Joan  Leslie


She also starred in  ‘ Sargeant  York ‘  and  ‘The Wagons Roll at Night ‘  the same year.

Joan Leslie
The Wagons Roll at Night

In 1942 she appeared as James Cagney’s wife in  ‘ Yankee  Doodle  Dandy ‘  and at the age of  (18)  she starred in the  ‘  Sky’s the Limit ‘ with Fred Astaire.

Joan Leslie  &  James  Cagney
Yankee Doodle  Dandy



Joan starred in many other movies until 1950 , when she married Dr. William Caldwell.  Her final movie was the 1956  ‘ The  Revolt of Mamie Stover  ‘.  She eventually retired from movies to raise their children.



Joan has also appeared in television commercials and made guest appearances on numerous TV shows.

     In 2006 she was one of the receipitents of the Golden Boot Award.


Hollywood Walk of Fame
1560 Vine Street

And  a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame…..




Joan Leslie























A  LIFE  WELL  LIVED …and     SUNG….


Perry Como
And laying a finger aside of his nose…..


Pierino  Ronald  Como  ( Perry )

     Born: May 18, 1912 —– Canonsburg, Pennsylvania

     Died: May 12, 2001 —– Jupiter Inlet Colony, Florida


          Perry Como was an American singer and television performer whose career spanned more than 50 years.  His appeal spanned generations and he was widely respected for both his professional standards and the conduct of his personal life.

          Perry was born in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania,  the seventh (7th)  of thirteen (13) children of Pietro Como and Lucia Travaglini who themselves had immigrated to the United States in 1910 from the Abruzzese town of Palena, Italy. Perry was the first child born in the United States and did not speak English until he started school.

           Perry’s father had all the children attend music lessons, even when he could hardly afford them. Perry learned to play many instruments, but never had a voice lesson. He was a member of the Canonsburg Italian Band along with band leader, Stan Vinton, father of Bobby Vinton.

          Perry started working at age ten (10) in a barber shop for $.50 a week; and by age 13 he had his own chair in the shop….. of course he had to stand on a box to tend to his customers;  by age fourteen (14)  he had his own shop.   Despite his musical abilities, Como’s ambition was to become the best barber in the town.   ( more about those musical abilities coming up )

          In 1929, Perry met Roselle Belline at a picnic. Although he attended the cook-out with another girl, when it came time for him to do some singing, he chose  “ More Than You Know ” and sang directly to Roselle.


          The teenage sweethearts were married in 1933 and raised three (3) children;  Ronnie, David, and Terri with traditional, non show business values. Perry believed his personal life and professional life should be  kept separate and granted no personal interviews with Edward J. Murrow’s  ” Person to Person “.


Perry and Roselle Como

Perry’s smooth baritone voice and likeable personality made him an American pop music icon.  In a career lasting more than six (6) decades his name was synonymous with easy listening, family oriented music. Over his long career he had (27) gold records and sold more than 100 million records.

Perry Como
Celebrity Musician


His break as a singer came in 1937 when he joined the big band led by trombonist Ted Weems and was featured on the band’s “Beat The Band” program. Over the next  (14 ) years Como recorded 42 top ten hits, a mark surpassed only by Bing Crosby.  His real success came on the small screen when he made his debut in 1948 on NBC’s  the  ” Chesterfield  Supper Club “.   Two (2) years later he switched to CBS for the  ” Perry Como Show “. In 1955 he was back on NBC with the show which featured his Theme Song.


The Perry Como Show is still regarded as one of the best of it’s kind in television history and won Emmy Awards in 1956 and 1957 and Peabody and Golden Mike awards.  One of the many factors in his success was his insistance on his principles of good taste. He also had fun with a great many of his songs; …..for instance…………



Perry Como

and then there was my personal favorite…………………….



Perrry gave credit to Bing Crosby for influencing his voice and style.   Bing once described Como as  ‘ the man who invented casual ‘.  His love of casual clothing did not stop him from being named one of the Best Dressed Men, beginning in 1946 and continuing long after he stopped appearing on weekly television.  He had his own line of sports/casual men’s clothing made by Bucknell in the early 1950′s.  He loved golf and always found time getting in a game.  Como’s guests on the October 3, 1962 were Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, and Gary Player. They even played 18 holes for the cameras at Sands Point, New York where the Como’s made their home during the television years.  Perry could also be found fishing and could be almost every day after their move to Florida. Perry also had a vacation home in North Carolina where he would go to get away from his celebrity life.

Perry Como



In the career of Perry Como he  received five (5) Emmys, a Christopher Award, and shared a Peabody Award with his good friend, Jackie Gleason in 1956.  He was inducted into the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame  in 1990. In 1983 he was a Kennedy Center Honeree.



Album Cover


He also received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002;  inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame in 2006, and the Hit Parade Hall of Fame in 2007.  Como also has the honor of having three ( 3 ) stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his work in Radio, Television, and Recording.

Walk of fame

The stars are found;

RADIO:  1700 block of Vine Street ….. east side

MUSIC: 6600 block of Hollywood Boulevard ….. north side

TELEVISION: 6300 block of Hollywood Boulevard ….. south side

Perry Como

With Perry Como, what you saw on television,  his naturalness, was the same person you would encounter at the supermarket or fixing breakfast.  This didn’t mean he did not have a temper, as he would lose it for the same reasons wel all would.  If some one cut him off while driving….well …..  he was only human.

Perry and Roselle were married for 65 years and when she died suddenly on August 12, 1998 ;  he was devastated by her loss.

Final resting place

Perry Como died in his sleep on May 12,2001,  at his home in Jupiter Colony, Florida.  He was reported to have suffered from symptoms of Alzheimer’s  Disease.  His funeral mass took place at St. Edward’s Catholic Church in Palm Beach, Florida. He and Roselle are buried at Riverside Memorial Park, Tequesta, Florida.


Perry Como
May 8, 1974

May we always remember Perry and the beautiful music that we loved …..
















How many eyes  see a photograph?    What do they actually see?    What do they really remember?

Here are four (4) photographers who saw and have made us remember !!


Bernie Boston

Born: May 18, 1933 —– Washington D.C.

Died: January 22, 2008 —– Basye, Virginia

Bernie was a Pulitzer Prize winning photojournalist and was often called the  ” Flower Power ” photographer.

Bernie Boston
” Flower Power “

Bernie Boston

Photo’s by Bernie Boston

Stealth Bomber
Bernie Boston

Bronze bust of Martin Luther King in the Capitol
January 16, 1987
photo by Bernie Boston

Reagen’s final salute
taken by Bernie Boston




Pirkle Jones

Born: January 2, 1914 —–  Shreveport, Louisiana

Died: March 15, 2009 —– San Rafael, California

Pirkle Jones was a documentary photographer best remembered for his photographs of the ” Black Panthers “.

Pirkle Jones

Pirkle Jones

Pirkle Jones
Black Panthers 1968
Okland, California

Pirkle Jones
migrant worker

migrant farm worker
photograph by
Pirkle Jones

Black Panthers
photographer by
Pirkle Jones

Black Panthers
Black Power
by Pirkle Jones

Black Panthers 1968
by Pirkle Jones




Joe Rosenthal
War Photographer

Born: October 9, 1911 —– Washington D.C.

Died: August 20, 2006 —– Novato, California


Joe Rosenthal was a Pulitzer Prize winning war photographer who has been remembered best for his photograph of  ” The Raising of the Flag on Iwo Jima “.

Joe Rosenthal

Joe Rosenthal

Joe Rosenthal

Joe Rosenthal

Wounded soldiers carried to beach to await evacutation to hospital ship
Guam, Mariana Islands July 27, 1944
photograph by Joe Rosenthal

Iwo Jima
photograph by Joe Rosenthal

Joe Rosenthal
war photographer

by Joe Rosenthal

by Joe Rosenthal

Bringing back our boys
photograph by
Joe Rosenthal

War; Reichstag – altered
by Joe Rosenthal

IWO JIMA beach head
photograph by
Joe Rosenthal

WAR …..booted feet
World War II Iwo Jima with the
U.S. Marines; 1945

photograph by
Joe Rosenthal




George Silk


Born: November 17, 1916 —– New Zealand

Died: October 23, 2004 —– Norwalk, Connecticut

George Silk served as a photojournalist for   ‘Life Magazine’  for thirty (30) years. He was named magazine photographer of the year four (4) times by National Press Photographers Association.

George Silk


George Silk
Papuan leads Australian infantryman to field hospital


With the “boys” 1944
photograph bt
George Silk

Women runners at the Olympics
by George Silk

Diver in motion
by George Silk

Sailboat “Intrepid” tipping into the waves
photograph by
George Silk



          So it goes….. what did you remember ?   What do you think now ?  Time passes;  photographs help us remember………….

     Thank you to these men and others like them !












Important bodies with classy hats  ……

Robert Downey Jr.
just tippin’ my hat

The ladies wear them too
Marlene Dietrich


I’d tip my hat but my paws won’t reach


NOW,  Where did we leave off with the fashion parade of hats  ?

I do believe we can start this time with the swingn’  60′s …..


Pillbox hat

Spring silk flower hat

Organza  hat

Dot’s the answer


                       1837 – 1927


Caroline Reboux

Caroline Reboux was a well known Parisian milliner and fashion designer who was known as the  ” Queen of the Milliners ” in the late part of the 19th century and the early part of the 20th century.


Caroline Reboux

She is closely associated with the beginning of haute couture and her hat designs ranked at the same level as custom fashion.  She opened her shop in Paris in 1865 and retained this shop as her home base throughout her life.  She was known for over 50 years as the queen of creative fashion hats. In the 1920′s,  Reboux was the first person in fashion design to add a veil to woman’s hats and started the vogue of colored veils.


Caroline Reboux

Reboux is the creator of the cloche hat, first popularized in the 1920s and worked with most of the major fashion designers of Europe to provide hats for their design collections. She was appointed to represent Parisian commerce at the Paris World’s Fair of 1900.  Famous American milliner, Lilly Dache trained under Reboux.

     Reboux’s business closed its doors in 1956. It had been well known for the head-fitting felt cloche hats with profile brims, forward-tilt tricorns, open crown lame turbans, and flower bandeaus.  More than 300 of her creations are preserved at the  ‘ Musee de la du Textile ‘ in Paris.

Caroline Reboux

Marlene Dietrich was a faithful customer of Reboux and Wallis Warfield Simpson, Duchess of Windsor, wore a blue Mainbocher outfit and a halo hat by Reboux for her wedding to the former King of England, Edward VIII on June 3, 1937.




Lilly Dache

            LILLY  DACHE

       1898 – 1989

     Lilly was a French milliner and fashion designer who started her fashion career at the age of 15 as an apprentice to Caroline Reboux and Suzanne Talbot. It is said she emigrated to the United States in 1924, settling in New York City where in 1931 she married French-born Jean Despres who was an executive at the cosmetic and fragrance company, Coty, Inc.

Lilly Dache
floral silk turban

Lilly Dache


At some point in her career she is reported to have said;  ” Glamour is what makes a man ask you for your phone number, but it also is what makes a woman ask for the name of your dressmaker “.   Dache was the most famous milliner in the United States during her time.  Her major designs included draped turbans, brimmed hats, half hats, visored caps for war workers, colored snoods, and romantic massed-flower shapes. She eventually designed dresses to go with her hats as well as lingerie, loungewear, gloves, hosiery, and a wired strapless bra.

Lilly Dache
wide brim molded to ladies head size

Lilly Dache

Dache designed for Hollywood films and counted Marlene Dietrich, Carol Lombard, and Loretta Young among her movie star clients.  Both designer Halston and hair stylist Kenneth worked for her before going into business for themselves.

      Her designs and hats are greatly valued by collectors.




          Next  we travel to those stimulating ’70′s….


Ladies hat

Ladies hat

Cap style hat


    and the enigmatic 1980′s

Ladies hats

Ladies hat

Ladies hat





                  1830 – 1906


John Batterson Stetson

Stetson was a United States hatter, hat manufacturer, and in the 1860′s the inventor of the cowboy hat. The oridinal name of the company was the John B. Stetson Co.; … it is now commonly referred to as Stetson.

     As a youth, Stetson was diagnosed with tuberculosis and was given only a short time to live. With this prognosis, he left the hat-making business with his father to explore the American West. There he met drovers, bullwhackers, and cowboys. The former hat maker looked at the flea infested coonskin caps worn by many gold seekers and wondered whether fur felt would work for a lightweight, all weather hat suitable for the West.

     Stetson moved to Philadelphia and re-entered the hat making craft . There he began making hats suited for the needs of Westerners. Stetson made a western hat for each dealer in the  ‘Boss of the Plains’  style he had invented during a trek to Pike’s Peak. These lightweight hats were of natural color with four (4) inch crowns and brims with a plain strap for the band.




The Stetson was durable and well made from waterproof felt. One observed that  ” It kept the sun out of your eyes and off your neck. It was an umbrella. It gave you a bucket (the crown) to water your horse and a cup (the brim) to water yourself.  It made a hell of a fan, which you need sometimes for a fire but more often to shunt cows this direction or that”.

     The Stetson Cowboy hat was the symbol of the highest quality and was worn by Western icons such as Buffalo Bill Cody, Calamity Jane, Will Rogers, Annie Oakley, Pawnee Bill, Tom Mix, and the Lone Ranger.The company also made hats for law enforcement, the National Park Service, Cavalry soldiers, and many U.S. Presidents.

     Today’s cowboy hat has remained basically unchanged in construction and design since the first one created in 1865. In addition to the cowboy hats, Stetson also made fedoras and woman’s hats.


A Stetson for the lady

Stetson profitted greatly from his business, but also gave back to his employees and his community by donating almost all of his money to charitable organizations…. grammar schools, high schools, and colleges, the YMCA in Philadelphia, DeLand University ( Stetson University ) and the Stetson University Law School.

Stetson University

Stetson also owned a mansion in DeLand, Florida. The over 8000sq. foot called John B. Stetson House is a mixture of Gothic, Tudor, and Moorish styles.


Stetson home

Stetson home

  Stetson is buried in West Laurel Hill Cemetery, Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylavania.



        More of our Historical / Hysterical hats

fur  hat

Ladies hat / cap

Ladies hat

Ladies hat

Ladies hats



                                   HATS  BY  MR.  JOHN


Hats by
Mr. John

     John P. John    born in 1902 as John Pico Harberger in Germany. He studied medicine at the University of Lucerne and art at the Sorbonne.  He immigrated to the United States in 1919 where he apprenticed to his mother, Madame Laurel, as a dress maker. He formed a partnership with milliner John Frederic in 1929 and started his own company in New York in 1948.

Hat by
Mr. John

     Mr. John’s most famous work was his millinery for Vivien Leigh in  ” Gone With The Wind “.  Having a long association with Hollywood and Broadway, his hats were always in much demand.



               SIMONE  MIRMAN  (Parmentier)

                    1912  -  2008


Simone Mirman with
daughter Sophie

Simone Parmentier was born in Paris to middle-class Catholic parents.  She apprenticed to one of the main Paris milliners, Rose Valois. She had a talent for designing headwear to suit the wearer’s face. She then worked with Elsa Schiaparelli who was known for her bold designs and concepts. Simone headed the hat department of Schiaparelli’s London branch until it closed in 1939.

     She met her husband, Serge Mirman, whom her parents found unacceptable, so they eloped to London in 1937, but did not marry until 1939. During the Second World War, Mirman worked out of her attic apartment which was turned into a millinery salon during the daytime.  As clothing coupons were not required for hats, there was always a steady demand for  Simone’s hats which she created out of scraps and oddments.

     After the war, 1947 she was able to move to a better place near Hyde Park, and in 1952 she moved to Chesham Place, Belgravia, where her salon and workroom remained for the remainder of her professional career. In the early 1950′s she supplied hats to Hartnell, Amies, and Dior.

Simone Mirman

In 1952, Mirman was invited to show her hats at Buckingham Palace.  Princess Margaret, and Elizabeth II plus Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother all became regular customers.  She was later granted  the Royal warrant of Queen Elizabeth and the Queen Mother in recognition of her services.

      Mirman’s designs took into consideration individual preferences;  she created light and airy hats for the Queen Mother trimmed with flowers and feathers….. Princess Margaret loved the most fashionable designs, and Queen Elizabeth insisted on hats that would please photographers  ( off the face and clear colors to co-ordinate with her outfits).

     Mirman had many famous clients including Vivien Leigh and Valerie Hobson plus many members of English aristocracy and society.  Throughout the 1960′s and 1970′s Mirman continued to design, even creating hats encrusted with plastic gems, ultra-modern leather, and plastic helmets with tinted PVC visors.


Simone Mirman

Simone Mirman hat
Queen Elizabeth 1972

Simone Mirman hat
Queen Elizabeth

Simone Mirman retired in 1990 and returned to France. She took up oil painting as a hobby and painted until her eyesight  and health failed.



                      David  Shilling

                       born;  1956


David Shilling
London England

                  David Shilling is an English milliner, sculpturer, fashion and interior designer synonymous with designing extravagant hats and clothing. He began to design hats and outfits at the age of twelve (12).  He opened his first store in 1976; two (2) days after its opening his store received an order from a rock star’s wife for  24 hats.

     His first collection was purchased in America by Bloomingdale’s and others also started selling his creations. In the late 1970′s Bergdorf’s charged up to $3000.00 for hats by David Shilling.

David Shilling design

Stars linked to David’s creations include; Racquel Welch, Kylie Minogue, Shirley Bassey, Cybill Shepherd, Joanna Lumley, Lauren Hutton, and Chrissie Hinde. His hats have been photographed by the best in the world; Beaton, Litchfield, Snowdon, Parkinson, and Testino.  David’s special talent is a combination of design flair, meticulous eye for detail, and a touch of the theatrical.


David Shilling
designer hat


David is now a respected Fine Artist.  His work can be seen in Nice, New York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Paris, and London.



                        STEPHEN  JONES

                           born; 1957


Stephen Jones

Stephen Jones is a leading British milliner based in London and is considered one of the world’s most radical and important milliners of the late 20th century and early 21st century. He is one of the most prolific, creating hats for the fashions shows of many leading coutures and fashion designers.  His work is known for inventiveness and high level of technical expertise.


Stephen Jones

From an early age he was instilled with the appreciation of art. He studied art at the High Wycombe College of Art and in 1975 he went to London to see the exhibit of  ‘Fashion from 1900 – 1939′ at the Victoria and Albert Museum.  That inspired him to pursue a career in fashion. He studied at the Saint Martin’s School of Art under Bobby Hillson and later worked with Peter Lewis Crown, designer-owner of London couture house Lachasse. He would soon request a transfer to the millinery department under Shirley Hex.

     Jones left Saint Martin’s in 1979 ….. that same year he became a regular at London’s  ‘Blitz‘  nightclub in Covent Garden. There he hung out with Spandau Ballet, Duran Duran, Isabella Blow, and Jean Paul Gaultier. He even shared a house with Boy George and Grayson Perry, competing with them to wear the most outrageous outfits to the Blitz.

     In 1980, Blitz’s owner Steve Strange provided financial backing for Jone’s first millinery salon.  In 1982 was Jone’s first Paris fashion show and eventually he was able to count Diana, Princess of Wales as a regular customer.


Stephen Jones

In 1990, Jones started  Miss Jones line of hats and in 1993 Jonesgirl was started as an exclusive to Japan.  He is very strong in Japan selling T-shirts, cosmetic bags, and handkerchiefs under his name …..this was followed by  Stephen Jones Kimonos in 1991;  sunglasses in 1992 ; and handbags in 2002.

     In March 2009, Stephen Jones was the only British milliner to have control of a Paris haute couture millinery studio, making hats for Galliano’s high profile shows at Dior.  In 2010 Jones was appointed  Officer of the Order of the British Empire  ( OBE ) at the New Year Honours.

Stephen Jones
designer  hat

In addition to his hat collections for designers, he has undertaken individual commissions for pop groups, films, actors, and a number of companies to create designs for advertisements.

     Jones was also the co-curator of the 2009 exhibition …  Hats; An Anthology for the Victoria and Albert Museum. The exhibit eventually moved to New York City and was shown at the Bard Graduate Center of Decorative Arts, Design History and Material Culture, Bard College until Spring 2012.





Philip Treacy with flowered hat

     Philip  Treacy

    Born: 1967 —– Ireland

Philip was born in Ahascragh, in the west of Ireland into a large family with seven (7) brothers and one (1) sister.  He moved to Dublin in 1985 to study fashion at the National College of Art and Design, where he made hats as a hobby  to go  with the clothes he designed.  In 1988 he won a place at the Royal College of Art in London, and in 1989 he took one of his hats to Michael Roberts, fashion editor of Tatler magazine and his style editor, Isabella Blow.


Philip Treacy
designer  hat

He has designed hats for Alexander McQueen, Karl Lagerfeld, Valentino, Ralph Lauren, and Donna Karan. He has also designed hats worn by Lady Gaga and Sarah Jessica Parker.

Lady Gaga wearing the
Telephone hat by
Philip Treacy

Sarah Jessica Parker wearing Philip Treacy
at World Premiere of Sex And The City in 2008

Other hats have been worn by Kate Middleton before her wedding and by Princess Beatrice at Kate and Prince William’s wedding.

Kate Middleton wearing Philip Treacy

Princess Beatrice wearing Philip Treacy
at the wedding of Kate Middleton and
Prince William

     Well, you must admit these have been some very interesting creations…

Philip Treacy
Spring/Summer Show 2000
Paris, France




         Once again it’s time to tip our hats to those who design the hats and for those who are brave enough to wear them ………


There I finally got it off !!!

You thought I wasn’t a class act didn’t you ?




























































     HATS MAKE THE WORLD GO ROUND…..  or so it seems for  some people. For others it’s shoes or purses or…. well what ever they desire.  Today we are going to look at some head coverings of the past.


Sensible head covering for the lady

Sensible …..  well yes, but not quite what I had in mind !!

Ladies head cover

Well, at least this has a few ruffles,   but …….. not what I was looking for.

Dressy hat for the lady

      Ah, now this is more like it !   Now  if I could just keep my dress from falling off my shoulder.

     Trimmed with frills, feathers, flowers, and ribbons, hats were a  ‘must-have’ fashion accessory for women. Whether in big cities or the rural countryside,  hats were made by people who were trained professionally. Many of the basic hat shapes stayed popular for a decade or more.  Ladies would change the trimmings nearly every season by adding new linings, ribbons, flowers, etc.  The wide brim hats protected a ladies face from the sun, and in the days before make-up, pink linings were sometimes used to add a reflective glow to the wearers complexion.


Ladies head covering

Ladies floral bonnet

Ladies dressy hat

Well, at least one of these ladies seems happy with her choice…..

In the mid 17th and 18th century, ‘house bonnets’ were worn by women and girls. They were generally brimless and secured by tying under the chin and covered no part of the forehead. They were worn indoors to keep the hair tidy and outdoors to keep the dust and dirt from the hair.  When hairstyles became more elaborate after 1770 the  ‘calash’ bonnet was worn outdoors to protect the hair from the wind and rain. This was a hood of silk or black taffeta stiffened with whalebone or arched cane battens which were fitted with ribbons to allow them to be held secure.

                                 CHOICE  HATS OF THE  1860′s


Ladies velvet and feather dressy hat

Ladies daytime straw hat

Ladies jaunty traveling hat


young ladies daytime hat

Ladies high fashion feather chapeau

Ladies hat

     Most middle-class women in the 19th century had at least two (2) bonnets,  one for summer wear ( usually of straw ) and one for winter wear ( normally very heavy fabric ). Wealthy women would have many bonnets suitable for different occasions.


                          CHOICE  HATS OF THE  1880′s


Ladies Traveling Hat

Ladies Traveling Hat

Ladies Capote Hat

Ladies Silk Top


Ladies Steamer hat

Ladies with hats

Ladies velvet & feathers hat



Ladies hat

Ladies hats

Ladies Dressy hat

Ladies hat

  Hatmaking is the manufacture of hats and headwear….. millinery is the designing and manufacturing of hats…. a milliner designs,makes, trims, or sells hats.  Many styles of hats have been popular throughout history and were worn for different occasions. They could be a part of a uniform or to indicate social status.



Ladies Evening Hat

Ladies hat

Ladies Hats

Ladies Hat

Ladies Cloche Hat

Ladies Gatsby Hat

Ladies Hat

Ladies Traveling Hat

Ladies Hat

Ladies Bellhop Hat

     Men’s hats were of much importance also….. a gentleman was not groomed properly unless he worn a hat; the more expensive the more socially accepted was the person.

John Cavanagh
New York City

John Cavanagh was an American gentleman’s hatter based in New York.  He was a leader in both styling and manufacturing of hats for fifty (50) years. John started in the business at age 17 working as a sizer, trimmer, finisher, cutter, curler, and plant superintendent. 

       In 1928 he created the company of Cavanagh – Dobbs Inc. He gave his name to a method of finishing hats known as the Cavanagh Edge.



James Lock & Co.
London England

  James Lock & Co. is one of the oldest hatters in England and was founded in 1676.  The main shop has been in its current location since 1765.  Lock is a royal warrent holder as hatter to Prince Philip and Prince Charles and supplied many of the hats during the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton in 2011. They produce all sorts of hats from formal wear to leisure.


Ladies Hats

Ladies Hat

Ladies Hat

Ladies ‘That Way Hat’

Ladies ‘McNamara’ Hat


  I’m starting to remember these hats….. what about you ?


Ladies Hats

Ladies Hats

Ladies ‘Ascot’ Hat

Ladies ‘Cloche’ Hat


     Back many many years ago there was a lady who actually lost her head over the new styles of fashions and hats. Her name was  ” Marie Antoinette “.  Her millner, confidante, and friend was Rose Bertin.

Rose Bertin
designer for
Marie Antoinette

  Marie – Jeanne Rose Bertin was born in France to a family with small means. Both Rose and her brother received a modest education, but a superior sense of ambition. Rose moved to Paris and apprenticed with a milliner.  She was able to open her own shop in 1770 and quickly found customers among the noble ladies at Versailles.

     When Marie Antoinette arrived in France from Austria, she embraced France’s new styles and fashions as one of the ways to show her appreciation of her new country.  She was introduced to Bertin in 1772….. the Queen adored the wardrobe and hats, became passionate about every detail, and in turn Bertin, as her milliner, became her confident and friend.


Marie – Antoinette

Marie – Antoinette

Marie – Antoinette

Marie – Antoinette


Marie – Antoinette also asked Bertin to dress dolls in the latest fashions as gifts for her sisters and her mother, the Empress Maria Theresa of Austria. The dolls, called pandoras were made of wax, wood, or porcelain. There were little ones up to as big, or half as big as a real person.  The dolls were in vogue until the appearance of fashion magazines.


Fashion Doll by
Rose Bertin

Fashion Doll by
Rose Bertin

Pandora Fashion Doll
by Rose Bertin

Called  ” Minister of Fashion ” by her detractors, Bertin was the brains for almost every new dress ordered by the Queen.  Dress ensembles  and hair became Marie – Antoinette’s personal vehicle of expression, and Bertin clothed the Queen from 1770 until she was dethroned in 1792. The large gowns ensured the wearer of occuping some times as much as three (3) times as much space as her male companion, thus making the female figure an imposing presence. Bertin’s creations also established France as the center of the fashion industry. Under the Queen’s generous patronage, Bertin’s name became synonymous with the sartorial elegance and excess of Versailles.

     During the French Revolution, when many of her clients were being executed or were fleeing the country, Bertin moved her business to London. There, for a while, she was able to serve some of her old customers and her fashion dolls continued to be seen in the capitals of Europe. She eventually was able to return to France in 1795, but found that the excesses of the era had ended after the revolution.

     Marie – Jeanne Rose Bertin milliner and fashion maker to Queen Marie – Antoinette was the first celebrated French fashion designer and  is   credited with having brought  “Haute couture” to the front of popular culture.



            More to come in  ” MY HAT”S OFF TO YOU “….. 
























Buck Jones….. Tim McCoy
Raymond Hatton



                    The  Monday  Cowboy


Art Acord

Arthemus  Ward  Acord

Born: April 17, 1890 —– Glenwood, Utah

Died: January 4, 1931 —– Chihuahua, Mexico


         Art Acord was an American silent film actor and rodeo champion born in Utah who as a young man worked as a cowboy and ranch hand. He became a celebrated rodeo star and was one of  the few cowboys to have ridden the bucking horse ‘Steamboat’, who later inspired the bucking horse logo on the Wyoming license plate.


Wyoming plate



Art Acord

His rodeo skills had been sharpened when he worked for the Miller Brothers’ traveling 101 Ranch Wild West Show.  During that time he made friends with Tom Mix,  Bee Ho Gray,  ” Bronco Billy ” Anderson,  and Hoot Gibson.  In his movie prime Acord stood more than 6′ tall and weighed 186 pounds.


       Art is the cowboy in the white shirt …..

     Art not only acted but wrote scripts and performed as a stunt man.


Art Acord

Art enlisted in the United States Army in World War I  and was awarded the Croix de Guerre for bravery.  At the end of the war he returned to Hollywood, but because of a problem with alcohol and an inability to adapt to talkies his film career faded. In the final years of his life he was forced to file bankruptcy and ended up performing in road shows and mining in Mexico.

     In 1931 Art Acord died in a Mexican hospital …..  some say he took poison due to depression ….. some say he was shot ….. but according to the local coroner the cause was acute alcoholism.

     Art was given a military funeral with full honors and was buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California.

     He was honored for his contribution to motion pictures with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.


Art Acord
1709 Vine Street
west side of block




                                   THE  TUESDAY  COWBOY


Buck Jones

         Charles  Frederick  Gebhart

     Born: December 12, 1891 —– Vincennes, Indiana

     Died: November 30, 1942 —– Boston, Massachusetts


          Charles  “Buck”  Jones was an American motion picture star of the 1920′s thru 1940′s.  He was best known for starring in many popular western films and for his daring feats, on screen and off.

          In 1907 Jones joined the United States Army and was assigned to the 6th Cavalry Regiment which was deployed to the Philippine Islands.  There he saw combat and was wounded during the Moro Rebellion.

          Jones loved race cars and the racing industry and became close friends with early racecar driver Harry Stillman. Due to his association with Stillman, he began working as a test driver for the Marmon Motor Car Company.

          Following another stint in the military he started working as a cowboy on the 101 Ranch in Oklahoma……later he worked for a wild west show and Ringling Brothers Circus


Buck Jones

While in Los Angeles performing he decided to leave the cowboy life and get a job in the film industry. He found himself hired by Universal Pictures as a bit player and stunt man. Eventually he doubled for stars William S. Hart, Tom Mix, and William Farnum which led to his first starring role in late 1929.


Buck Jones and others

Jones had more than 160 film credits by the 1920′s and joined Hoot Gibson,Tom Mix, and Ken Maynard as the top cowboy actors of the day. By 1928 he  started his own company, but his independently produced film failed ….. he then organized a touring Wild West show, but this also failed due to the economy of late 1929.

          With the advent of the new ‘talking’ pictures replacing silent films, outdoor Westerns fell briefly out of favor.  He signed with the then humble Columbia Pictures starring in their westerns.  His voice, a rugged baritone recorded well and those films were very successful thus re-establishing him as a major movie name. During the 1930′s he starred in Western features and serials for Columbia and Universal. For about 20 years he averaged 8 pictures a year with his co-star  Silver .


           His star slipped in the late 1930′s when the singing cowboys came into favor.  In the fall of 1940 he starred in the serial  “White Eagle”  which became a hit and again re-established him. His final series of westerns featured  ‘The Rough Riders’ …the trio of Buck Jones, Tim McCoy, and Raymond Hatton.


Buck Jones with his
1933 Packard Special

Buck lent his name and image to various endorsements, including Post Grape-Nut Flakes and Daisy Outdoor Products which issued a Daisy  “Buck Jones” model pump action air rifle which had a compass and a sundial on the stock.

Buck Jones

Buck Jones was one of the 492 victims of the 1942 Cocoanut Grove fire in Boston, Massachusetts dying two (2) days after the blaze.

           In 1997, a Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs, California, Walk of Stars at 235 S. Palm Canyon Drive was dedicated to him.

Buck Jones




                                THE  WEDNESDAY  COWBOY



Tom Mix

               Thomas  Hezikiah  Mix

              Born: January 6, 1880 —– Mix Run, Pennsylvania

              Died: October 12, 1949 —– Florence, Arizona


                Tom Mix was an American film actor and the star of many early Western movies.  Between 1909 and 1935 he appeared in 291 films, mostly silent, with his equine companion of over 20 years, Tony.

               Tom was born in Mix Run, Pennsylvania and grew up in Dubois, Pennsylvania where his father, a stable master worked. It was his father who taught him how to ride and the  love of  horses.  From an early age, Tom had dreams of being in the circus.

Tom Mix

In 1905, Mix rode in Theodore Roosevelt’s Inaugural Parade with a group of 50 horsemen, which included several former Rough Riders.

     After working a number of jobs in Oklahoma Territory, Mix found employment at the Miller Brothers 101 Ranch.  He stood out as a skilled horseman and expert shot, winning national riding and roping contests.


Tom Mix

Tom Mix began his film career as a supporting cast member with Selig Polyscope Company; his first appearance coming in1909.  Mix performed in more than 100 films for Selig, many of which were filmed in Las Vegas, New Mexico. He worked for other film companies and went on to make 160 cowboy films throughout the 1920′s. His Intelligent and handsome horse, Tony also became a celebrity.  Mix,  most always did his own stunts and was frequently injured. His performances weren’t noted for realism, but for the screen-friendly action stunts, horseback riding, attention-grabbing cowboy costumes, and showmanship.  During 1929, Mix’s last year in silent pictures,  he worked for Film Booking Office of America, a small studio run by Joseph P. Kennedy which soon merged into Kennedy’s RKO Radio Pictures.



Tom Mix
on a different
kind of horse



               In 1929,30, 31,  Mix appeared with the Sells-Floto Circus. He also appeared with the Sam B. Dill Circus, which he was reported to have bought in 1935. Mix’s last screen appearance was a 15 episode, Mascot Picture serial,  “The  Miracle Rider”.  Also, in 1935, Texas governor James Allred named Mix an honorary Texas Ranger.  Mix then returned to circus performing accompanied by his eldest daughter. In 1938, while on a promotional tour in Europe, he left his daughter behind to manage the circus, which soon failed.


Tom Mix Circus




               On the afternoon of October 12, 1940,  Mix had been visiting Pima County Sheriff, Ed Nichols in Tucson, Arizona and was heading  toward Phoenix driving his 1937 Cord Phaeton when he came up to some construction barriers at a bridge that had been washed out by a flash flood. He was unable to stop in time….. the car swerved then rolled into a gully pinning him underneath. He was killed almost instantly.


Tom Mix
1937 Cord 810 Phaeton

A small  stone  memorial  marks the site on route 79  and the  nearby gully  is  named   ” Tom Mix Wash “.

Tom Mix Memorial

Following the funeral at the Little Church of the Flowers, Tom Mix was buried in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California.

               Tom Mix made 291 movies during his career.  He was  ” King of the Cowboys” when Ronald Reagan and John Wayne were youngsters.

               His cowboy boot prints, palm prints and the hoof prints of his horse Tony  are at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, California.


Tom Mix and Tony
Grauman’s Chinese Theatre
December 12, 1927

Tom was posthumously ( 1958 )  inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.  In 1959, a Monument To The Stars was erected in Beverly Hills,  California with numerous early stars of which Tom Mix was included. There is also a Tom Mix museum in Dewey, Oklahoma and Mix Run, Pennsylvania.

          Tom was awarded for his contribution to the motion picture industry with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

Hollywood Walk of Fame
1708 Vine Street
East side




                                    THE  THURSDAY  COWBOY



Hoot Gibson

Edmund  Richard  Gibson

          Born: August 6, 1892 —–Tekamah, Nebraska

          Died: August 23, 1962 —– Woodland Hills, California


               Edmund  “Hoot”  Gibson was an American rodeo champion and a pioneer cowboy film actor, director, and producer. Born in Nebraska, he learned to ride a horse while a young boy.  His family moved to California when he was seven (7) years old.  As a teenager he worked with horses on a ranch, which led to competition at area rodeos.


Hoot Gibson




               In 1910, film director Francis Boggs was looking for experienced cowboys to appear in his silent movie  ” Pride of the Range “. He hired two (2) future western stars, Hoot Gibson and Tom Mix. Although Gibson continued acting he said that it was a minor sideline and continued competing in rodeos to make a living.



               Gibson’s career was interrupted with service in the United States Army during World War I;  but when the war ended he returned to the rodeo where he met and became friends with Art Acord.  The two (2) would participate in the summer rodeos then would return to Hollywood in the winter to do stunt work.  By 1921, the demand for cowboy pictures was so great that Hoot began receiving offers for leading roles.  It was during this time that he met an up-and-coming film director named John Ford.  He and Ford developed a lasting friendship and working relationship over the years.


               Gibson graced the screen not only as just an actor, but one who was able to perform his own stunts.  He became one of Hollywood’s first stuntmen performing such things as riding a motorcycle off a 23 foot high drawbridge.  From the 1920′s through the 1940′s, Hoot Gibson was a major film attraction. He successfully made the transition to talkies and became a highly paid performer. He even had his own comic books!


Hoot Gibson



                In 1933, Gibson injured himself when he crashed his plane while racing cowboy star Ken Maynard. Gibson’s years of big earnings did not see him through his retirement as he used much of it on high living and poor investments. To pay his bills he earned money working at carnivals and what ever jobs he could find.

               Hoot Gibson died of cancer in Woodland Hills, California and was buried in Inglewood Park Cemetery, Inglewood, California



In 1979, Hoot was inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Hoot Gibson also was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.


Hoot Gibson
Hollywood Walk of Fame
1700 block of Vine Street

Hoot Gibson




                                        THE  FRIDAY  COWBOY


Ken Maynard

                  KEN  MAYNARD


Born: July 21, 1895 —– Vevay,Indiana

               Died: March 23, 1973 —– Woodland Hills, California


               Ken Maynard was an American motion picture stuntman and actor who began at a young age working at carnivals and circuses where he became an accomplished horseman.  He performed in rodeos and was a trick rider and roper with  “ Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show “.


Ken Maynard
his 2 wheel horse

Maynard claimed that he served in the United States Army during World War I and that after the war and returned to show business as a circus rider with Ringling Brothers. While performing in Los Angeles, California, actor / cowboy Buck Jones encouraged Maynard to try working in the movies.

His first appearance for Fox Studios was in silent films in 1923 and included performing stunts. The horsemanship and good looks made him a cowboy star.  Not only that, but the guy could sing. He moved to Universal Studios where he made his first films with a musical soundtrack.  ( he sang two songs in ‘ Sons of the Saddle ‘, 1930 )


Ken Maynard
and Tarzan


Ken Maynard appeared in more than ninety (90) films in twenty (20) years with his white stallion, Tarzan, white cowboy hat, fancy shirt and a pair of six-shooters.  In 1931 – 1932 he worked for Tiffany Productions and Sono Art – World Wide Pictures before returning to Universal in 1933. As Maynard also played several musical instruments he was featured in the 1933 film  ‘ The Fiddlin’ Buckaroo ‘ on the violin and on the banjo in   ‘ The Trail Drive ‘.



Ken Maynard

Due to alcoholism affecting his life, his acting career ended in 1944. He made appearances at state fairs and rodeos and for a time owned a small circus  featuring rodeo riders which eventually merged with Clyde Beatty.


Ken Maynard

It was written that Maynard lost his wealth to failed circus investments.



Ken Maynard
his wife Bertha

Alone since the death of his wife, Bertha in 1969, Maynard lived  in a rundown trailer. During those years it was supposed that he was able to keep it all together with the help of an unknown benefactor, long thought to be Gene Autry. More than twenty-five  (25) years after his last starring role, Maynard returned to the screen in two (2) small roles in 1970 and 1972, one movie was  ” The Marshal of Windy Hollow “.



Maynard died of stomach cancer at the Motion Picture Home in Woodland Hills, California and was buried at Forest Lawn Cypress Cemetery, Orange County, California.  Maynard was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.


Hollywood Walk of Fame
north side at 6751
Hollywood Boulevard




                                              THE  SATURDAY  COWBOY



Jack Hoxie

JACK  HOXIE     aka: John Hartford Hoxie

          Born: January 11, 1885 —– Kingfisher Creek, Indian Territory

          Died: March 28, 1965 —– Elkhart, Kansas


                Jack Hoxie was an American rodeo performer and silent motion picture actor. He is remembered for his roles in Westerns from which he never strayed. 

               Hoxie was the son of a veterinarian father, who was killed just weeks before his birth, and a half – Nez Perce or Cherokee mother.  Although Jack was raised in Indian Territory ( Oklahoma ) he and his mother moved to Idaho where at an early age he learned riding and roping. He eventually became a very popular and successful rodeo star. In 1909 he met performer Dick Stanley and joined his Wild West Show. Hoxie toured with circuit rodeos until 1913 when he was asked to be in the western drama short  ‘The Tragedy of Big Eagle Mine‘. He would continue to work in western shorts and by 1919 he had about 35 films under his belt. Sometime that same year he was cast in the starring role of the ‘Lightning Bryce‘ serials as the main character Sky Bryce.

Jack Hoxie

Through the early 1920′s Jack became a very popular western film star and worked for Pathe Exchange, Arrow, National Film Corp., and Sunset Studios.  In 1923 Universal Pictures put him under contract and his career was on par of the other western stars of the time. Hoxie was often seen atop his horses Fender and Dynamite and would star in westerns with some of the most prominent actresses of the silent era. In 1926 Universal chose him to star as Buffalo Bill Cody, co-starring William Boyd, in  ‘ The Last Frontier

*****  Only one ( 1 ) film is available at this time……please enjoy



Jack Hoxie

In 1927 Hoxie became dissatisfied with his contract at Universal and refused to renegotiate. He continued for the rest of the 1920′s making films of lesser quality with lower – rank studios.  He made his last silent film, ‘ Forbidden Trail ‘   in 1929. After that he worked in circuit rodeos, carnivals and the Miller Brothers  101  Ranch Wild West Show. In the 1930′s Jack tried a movie comeback with Majestic Pictures but they did little to revive his acting career. His last film appearance was in the 1933  ‘Trouble Busters ‘ with Lane Chandler.


Jack Hoxie

Jack, and his third wife, Dixie briefly operated a dude ranch in Hereford, Arizona called the Broken Arrow Ranch.  After the ranch burned Jack again appeared in wild west shows throughout the 1940′s and into the 1950′s. His last public appearance as a performer was in 1959 for the Bill Tatum Circus.

               After he divorced Dixie and married his 4th wife Bonnie, they retired to a small ranch in Arkansas and later moved to his mother’s old homestead in Oklahoma.  In later years Jack developed leukemia. He was buried in Oklahoma with the inscription  ” A Star in Life  -  A Star in Heaven “.


Jack Hoxie
Willowbar Cemetery
Keyes, Oklahoma





                                       THE  SUNDAY  COWBOY



Tim McCoy


          Born: April 10, 1891 —– Saginaw, Michigan

          Died: January 29, 1978 —– Ft. Huachuca, Sierra Vista, Arizona


          Tim McCoy was an American actor, military officer, and expert on American Indian life and customs.  Tim attended college in Chicago and after seeing a wild west show he left school and found work on a ranch in Wyoming.  He became an expert horseman and roper and developed knowledge of the ways and languages of the American Indian Tribes in the area. He enlisted in the United States Army when America entered World War I.


Tim McCoy

McCoy was a decorated soldier during World War I and again in World War II, rising to the rank of colonel. He also served the state of Wyoming as its adjutant general between the wars with the brevet rank of brigadier general.  At age 28 he was the youngest brigadier general in the history of the U.S. Army. Tim was an expert in Indian sign language and was named  ” High Eagle ” by the Arapaho tribe of the Wind River Reservation.


Tim McCoy

In 1922 Tim was asked by Jesse L. Lasky of Famous Players Lasky to provide American Indian extras for the western “ The Covered Wagon ” ( 1923 ). He in turn brought hundreds of Indians to the Utah location and served as technical advisor on the film. After the filming was complete, McCoy was asked to bring a small group of Indians to Hollywood for a stage presentation preceding each show. The show proved to be very popular, running 8 months in Hollywood and several more months in London and Paris. Afterward McCoy returned to his ranch in Wyoming until Irving Thalberg signed him to a contract in a series of outdoor adventures.  As they say,  ‘ and the rest was history ‘.


     Tim’s first MGM feature was ‘War Paint’ ( 1926 ) featuring epic scenes of the Wind River Indians on horseback.  For all McCoy films, Indians were always portrayed sympathetically and never as blood thirsty savages. With the coming of talking pictures there was a temporary inability to record sound outdoors which resulted in MGM terminating the Tim McCoy series. In 1929 McCoy returned to Hollywood and Universal Pictures to star in their first talking western,  ‘The Indians Are Coming ‘. The series was very successful and McCoy worked in Hollywood until 1936 when he left, first to tour with Ringling Brothers Circus and then with his own wild west show.


Tim Mc Coy
circus members

The show was not successful and McCoy lost quite a bit of money in the process.  By 1938 Tim was available for more films and was hired by low-budget producers for eight (8) westerns a year. In 1941, Buck Jones recruited McCoy to co-star in  ‘ The Rough Riders’ series which was very popular, and might have continued, but McCoy did not want to renew his contract.

     McCoy was one of the last real life cowboys to play that role on film. He was so popular with children that he appeared on the cover of Wheaties cereal boxes. He even had a children’s show in Los Angeles  ( 1952 ) in which he provided authentic history lessons on the Old West and showed his old western movies. Iron Eyes Cody was his co-host.


     In 1942, McCoy ran for the nomination for the open Republican U.S. Senate Seat from Wyoming. As it turned out he lost in the primary and within 48 hours he volunteered for active duty . He spent World War II performing liaison work with the U.S. Army Air Forces in Europe.  He retired from films after the war, except for a few cameos much later.


Tim McCoy

In 1973, McCoy was inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum ….. and in 1974, into the Cowboy Hall of Fame. On January 16, 2010 he was inducted into the Hot Springs County Hall of Fame.  ( Wyoming )   Although Tim died in 1978, his last film appearance was in the Kevin Brownlow – David Gill television history of silent films  ” Hollywood “.   Tim McCoy was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.


Hollywood Walk of Fame
east side
1600 block of Vine Street

Tim McCoy died at the Post Hospital on Ft. Huachuca, Sierra Vista, Arizona. He was cremated with his ashes returned to his Nogales home. Nine years later, his remains along with his wife Inga were sent to his birthplace at Saginaw, Michigan.  They were buried there in the Mount Olivet Cemetery next to his family’s plot.


Tim McCoy



             Check in again soon for another installment of  ‘Cowboys’ ….













































































There have been many articles written about movie cowboys, but not much about their time with the circus.  This information comes from a combination of  ” Cowboys and Their Horses “   by James Searles  and from other articles that have been saved over the years.

Near the end of the 1920′s, the Big Top shows began to hire movie western stars as feature attractions.  A number of them had even worked with the circus prior to a film career and some started their own circus or wild west show.


               TOM  MIX    (Thomas Hezikiah Mix)

                       1880 —– 1940

               Born:  Pennsylvania


Tom Mix and Tony

     Tom Mix was born in Pennsylvania where his father was a stable master who taught him to ride and the love of horses.  At an early age he corraled dreams of being in the circus.  As he became older he worked a variety of odd jobs in Oklahoma Territory and eventually found work at the Miller Brothers  101 Ranch.  He stood out as a skilled horseman and expert shot, winning national riding and roping contests.

     By 1909 Tom was with W.S. Dickey’s Circle G Ranch Wild West Show.  He also worked during the summers ( when he wasn’t making films ) with the Kit Carson Buffalo Ranch Wild West Show and the Young Buffalo Wild West Show.  In 1929 he started work with the Sells-Floto Circus where he remained for three (3) years.  In 1934 he joined the Sam B. Dill motorized circus and bought it the following year.

     Tom operated the Tom Mix Circus from 1935 through 1938.  At its height the show was the largest and most successful circus on the road.



                          JACK  HOXIE      ( John Hartford Hoxie )

                                          1885 —– 1965

                         Born: Oklahoma ( Indian Territory )


Jack Hoxie

Jack Hoxie was the son of  veterinarian, Bart “Doc” Hoxie, who was killed in a horse accident just weeks before Jack’s birth. ( his mother was half Indian )  After his father’s death he and his mother moved to northern Idaho.  At a young age Jack was a working cowboy and ranch hand. When he was older they relocated to Boise where Jack continued to work on his skill as a horseback rider while competing in rodeos.

     In 1909 he met performer Dick Stanley and joined his Wild West show.  In 1913 he started in films and as time went on he became a very important actor and could be found atop his horses Fender or Dynamite.

     Hoxie made his last film in 1929;  then worked in circuit rodeos, carnivals, and the Miller Brothers  101  Ranch Wild West Show.  It has been written that he spent more time with the circus than any other western star.  Jack Hoxie was often billed as the  “Famous Western Screen Star” and would make appearances throughout the 1940′s and into the 1950′s before making his last public appearance for the Bill Tatum Circus in 1959.




                           ART  ACORD   ( Accord )

                           1890 – 1931



Art Accord ( Acord )



     Born in Utah, as a young man he worked as a cowboy and ranch hand.  Entering rodeo competitions, his riding skills increased and was picked up by the Dick Stanley- Bud Atkinson Wild West Show ( 1909 ) to perform the daring riding stunts for which he had become famous.

     He worked with the Dick Stanley Wild West Show in 1919 and with William F. Cody in 1911.  For a while he worked for the Miller Brothers’ traveling 101 Ranch Wild West Show where he met and made friends with Tom Mix, Bee Ho Gray, “Broncho Billy” Anderson, and Hoot Gibson.




                                  KEN  MAYNARD

                                     1895 – 1973

                                  Born:  Indiana

Ken Maynard with Tarzan


     Maynard began working for carnivals and circuses at age sixteen (16). During this time he became an accomplished horseman.  As a young man he performed in rodeos and was a trick rider with the Kit Carson Buffalo Ranch Wild West Show in 1913 and with Ringling Brothers in 1914.

     In 1936 Maynard bought wagons and rail cars from George Christy and started the Ken Maynard Diamond Wild West Circus and Indian Congress. The show opened in Van Nuys, California and lasted only a couple weekends. The following year he joined the Cole Brothers, Beatty Circus and remained with them until 1938. Then rejoined the Cole Brothers in 1940 and in 1950 he appeared  with the Biller Brothers Circus.



                                 BILL  CODY    ( William Joseph Cody, Jr. )

                                       1891 – 1948

                                 Born: Minnesota


Bill Cody

Bill Cody started out as an actor;  then in 1922 he began working as a stuntman. In 1927 he starred in the movie  “Born to Battle”, which gave him the opportunity to exhibit his horse riding skills and to use a bull whip on screen. He would continue to make films off and on for the next few years, but in 1933 he joined a traveling wild west show as the star attraction. Cody also worked for the Downie Bros. Circus replacing Jack Hoxie.




                                  TIM  MCCOY     ( Timothy John Fitzgerald McCoy )

                                             1891 – 1978

                                  Born:  Michigan


Tim McCoy and Starlight

Tim McCoy was the son of an Irish Civil War Soldier who later became police chief in Saginaw, Michigan.  He attended College in Chicago where he happened to attend a wild west show.  Captivated he left school and found work on a ranch in Wyoming where he became an expert horseman and roper and competed in numerous rodeos.

     In 1922 he was asked by Jess Lasky to help with the filming of  ” The Covered Wagon “  in which he served as the technical director.  McCoy worked fulltime in movies until 1936 when he left Hollywood, first to tour with Ringling Brothers Circus and then with his own wild west show in 1938.  The show was terrific and beautiful.  New rail cars…new wagons…..  it was one of the finest new outfits to be introduced in the 20th century. In competition with Cole Brothers and Hagenbeck – Wallace, it opened at the International Amphitheater in Chicago on April 14th.  They then played in Colombus, Ohio and Washington D.C. where it was sold at auction.

     McCoy then returned to Hollywood….. In 1957 he joined the Al G. Kelly & Miller Brothers Circus and the following season the Carson & Barnes Circus where he stayed through 1961. The first two (2) months of the 1962 season he appeared with the Hoxie – Bardex Circus and later partnered with Tommy Scott’s medicine show where he stayed for thirteen ( 13 ) years.




                                          BUCK  JONES    ( Charles Frederick Gebhart )

                                              1891 – 1942



Buck Jones
with Silver

After serving in the military, Buck began working as a cowboy on the 101 Ranch in Oklahoma where he became a part, in 1913, of the Miller Brothers 101 Ranch Wild West Show and in 1914 with the Gollmar Brothers Circus.  In 1929 he organized the Buck Jones Wild West and Round Up Days. It opened on May 16 and lasted until July when his business partner departed suddenly with the money.  Jones then joined the Robbins Brothers Circus to finish the season.




                                HOOT  GIBSON    (  Edmund Richard Gibson )

                                      1892 – 1962


Hoot Gibson with Goldie

Hoot Gibson learned to ride a horse as a very young boy.  As a teenager he worked with horses on a ranch which led to competition on bucking broncos at area rodeos. By age 16 he was an accomplished rodeo performer.

     In 1910, film director Francis Boggs was looking for experienced cowboys to appear in films.  Hoot and Tom Mix were hired.  For Gibson acting was a minor sideline and he continued competing in rodeos.

     Hoot Gibson was with Dick Stanley’s Congress of Rough Riders and Bud Atkinson’s Circus & Wild West Show In Australia.  In early 1937 he was featured with the Wallace Brothers Circus and joined the Hagenbeck – Wallace show for the later part of the season. In 1938 he was with the Robbins Brothers and in 1940 he started the Hoot Gibson Rodeo and Thrill Circus.



                   More to come on Reel People about some of our stars…..
















     A bit of history in words and pictures from our chosen circuses will tell us more of the goings on from the past.


                   SELLS  BROTHERS  CIRCUS



Sells Brothers

The Sells Brothers Circus was started by Lewis and Peter Sells.  It operated from 1862 to 1863 and again from 1871 to 1895.  The circus merged with both the Forepaugh Circus and the Floto Dog and Pony Show.


Sells Brothers Circus




                             SELLS  FLOTO  CIRCUS

Otto Floto
Dog & Pony Show


Sells-Floto Circus

     The Sells Floto Circus toured with sideshow acts in the United States in the early 1900′s.  Frederick Bonfils and Harry Tammen along with the Denver Post owned it first; the name Floto coming from the Post’s one time sportswriter, Otto Floto,

     During the 1914 – 1915 season the circus featured Buffalo Bill Cody.

Sells-Floto Circus

By 1929 the circus had become a part of the American Circus Corporation which consisted of Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus, John Robinson Circus, Sparks Circus, and Al G. Barnes Circus.  John N. Ringling then bought American Circus Corporation creating a monopoly of the traveling circus in America.


Sells-Floto Circus

Sells-Floto Circus

Sells-Floto Circus

Sells-Floto Circus
Bonfils the Hippo

Sells-Floto Circus
Trilby the Elephant

Sells-Floto Circus




                  FOREPAUGH  SELLS  CIRCUS

Circus Poster

Adam Forepaugh

Circus Poster

Adam Forepaugh was an American entrepreneur, businessman, and circus owner.  He owned and operated a circus from 1865 – 1890 under various names such as:  Forepaugh’s Circus,  The Great Forepaugh Show,  The Adam Forepaugh Circus,  and  Forepaugh & The Wild West.

     In 1864, Forepaugh sold horses to John O’Brien for $9,000.00 so he could start the Tom King Excelsior Circus.  When O’Brien could not repay the loan, Forepaugh became part owner of the circus.  The following year they purchased the Jerry Mabie Menagerie and created two (2) circuses:  The Great National Circus and the Dan Rice Circus.  Eventually he sold the Great National Circus and took control of the Dan Rice Circus.


Magazine Cover

Circus Poster

Forepaugh was very different than most circus owners as he was a businessman not a showman like P.T. Barnum and the Ringling Brothers and was involved in all aspects of the circus business.

     From the 1870′s into the 1880′s Foerpaugh and P.T. Barnum had the two (2) largest circuses in the nation.  Forepaugh had more animals than Barnum and paid higher salaries  to the favored European talent.  The two (2) men fought over rights to the most -favored venues and at least twice they pooled their resources and performed together.


Circus Poster

Miss Uno
Snake Charmer

     In 1889, Adam Forepaugh sold his circus acts to James Bailey and James Cooper;  his railroad cars to the Ringling Brothers, thus , he indirectly contributed to the demise of his arch rival.  ( The Ringlings used the equipment to transform their circus from a small animal- powered production to a huge rail-powered behemoth, they eventually purchased the Barnum & Bailey Circus. )

     Forepaugh was responsible for many innovations which in turn influenced circuses for many years.  *** First to have a ” Wild West Show ” as a part of a circus….. ***First to use two (2) separate   ‘ big top ‘ tents at the same time….. *** Hired an African-American elephant trainer, Eph Thompson, in a time when they rarely had positions of such stature.

     Adam Forepaugh died January 20, 1890 in Philadelphia during the 1889-1890 flu pandemic and is buried at Laurel Hill Cemetery.  Many local charities and churches in the Philadelphia area benefited from his estate.


Forepaugh-Sells Circus


















                                    HERE  COMES  THE  CIRCUS



Astley’s “Circus”






For most of us, ( of a certain age )  the circus was the people and the animals, but did you know the word  ‘circus ‘ actually means  “circle’  or  “ring”.  So appearently, if there is no ring, it shouldn’t be called a circus.  So be that information !

          When we go to the circus we might see clowns, acrobats, trained animals, trapeze acts, musicians, hoopers, tightrope walkers, jugglers, unicyclists, and many other stunt artists..

          The circus has followed various formats over the years of it’s 150 modern-day history. Philip Astley  has been credited as being the  “father ” of the modern circus when he opened the first one in 1768 in England.


Philip Astley
‘Father of the modern circus’

In the beginning the circus was generally acts linked to horsemanship.  Over the next 50 years large scale military battle reenactments became a significant feature. The traditional format with a ringmaster introducing varied acts with traditional music started in the latter part of the 19th century and continued to be the main style circus through the 1970′s.  The earliest modern circuses were performed in open air structures with limited covered seating. From the late 18th to the late 19th century there were circus  buildings built with various types of seating, a center ring, and sometimes a stage.  The ‘traditional’  large tents  known as “BIG  TOPS”  were introduced in the mid 19th century as touring circuses.  These tents eventually became the most common venue and remain so into the present day.  Many circus performances are still held in a ring usually 42 feet in diameter.  ( this measurement was adopted by Philip Astley in the late 18th century as the minimum diameter that an acrobatic horse rider would need to stand upright on a cantering horse to perform their tricks.

Some people believe that the lineage of the circus goes back to Roman times and comes up through medieval / renaissance times .  But that would be the circus of old and we are talking about the  ‘modern’  circus.

Astley’s circus
early 1800′s


Although the modern circus was attributed to Philip Astley, he did not originate trick horse riding, nor was he the first to introduce acts such as acrobats and clowns, but he was the first to create space where all these acts were brought together to perform a show.

Andrew Durcrow

Astley was followed by Andrew Ducrow, whose feats of horsemanship had much to do with establishing the tradition of the circus

John Bill Ricketts

Englishman, John Bill Ricketts brought the first modern circus to the United States. His first circus building in the United States opened on April 3, 1793 in Philadelphia where he gave America their first complete circus performance.

In the America’s of the early 19th century the Circus of Pepin & Breschard toured from Canada to Havana building circus theatres in many of the cities that were visited. From their arrival to the present time, the  ‘traditional’ circus has had a presence in North America.

Pepin & Breschard Circus Ad

Pepin was the first American to own and operate a circus in his native country, thus the Pepin & Breschard Circus can be considered the first American circus.  Later the establishments of Purdy, Welch & Company plus van Amburgh gave wider popularity to the circus in the United States.

In 1825 Joshuah Purdy Brown was the first circus owner to use a large canvas tent for the circus performance.

Dan Rice
Circus Clown

Dan Rice


Circus pioneer, Dan Rice was probably the most famous re; pre-Civil War.

The American Circus was revolutionized by P.T. Barnum and William Coup who started the P.T. Barnum Museum, Menagerie and Circus; a traveling combination of animals and human oddities.  Coup was the first circus entrepreneur to use circus trains to transport the circus from place to place….. a practice that continues today and also introduced the first multiple ring circus.

P.T. Barnum poster

Following Barnum’s death, his circus merged with that of James Bailey and traveled Europe from 1897 to 1902 as The Barnum and Bailey Greatest Show On Earth. It impressed other circus owners with its large scale, touring techniques ( tent and circus train ), and its combination of circus acts, zoological exhibition, and freak show.

Barnum & Bailey Circus

Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey
Sideshow workers

After World War II, the popularity of the circus declined as new forms of entertainment arrived. From the 1960′s onward many circuses went out of business or merged with other companies, but a good number of traveling circuses are still active, ranging from small family enterprises to three-ring extravaganzas.














     Yes, boys and girls, there is still even more excitement ahead….. Keep reading and keep remembering !!!!!




Duncan Renaldo ( the Cisco Kid )
with Diablo




Leo Carrillo ( Poncho in Cisco Kid )
with Loco






William Boyd ( Hopalong Cassiidy ) and Topper

William Boyd ( Hopalong Cassidy ) with Topper






Andy Devine with Joker
Guy Madison and Buckshot




Gene Autry with Champion

Gene Autry with Champion

Champion, the Wonder Horse, was the onscreen companion of the singing cowboy, Gene Autry.  He originally belonged to cowboy, Tom Mix, but Autry liked him so well that after working with him in ” The Phantom Empire “ series he made Champion his. As it turns out, there was more than one horse that bore that name.


Gene Autry with Champion

Champion performed numerous tricks including jumping through paper-covered hoops and galloping toward and coming to a stop atop a piano.  Champion and his cowboy left their hoof and foot prints in the cement outside Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in 1949.


Champion’s hoof prints with his cowboy Gene Autry





Roy Rogers with Trigger
Dale Evans with Buttermilk

Roy Rogers and Trigger

One of the most well known of the Wonder Horses was Roy Roger’s palomino, Trigger.  He appeared in all 81 of Roger’s films as well as 101 television shows.  Trigger was billed as  ” The Smartest Horse in the Movies ”  and was described as being  ‘ almost human ’.  He knew as many as 60 different tricks, most of which were performed by voice cue.  One of his most exceptional  “tricks”  was that he was house broken allowing Rogers to make public appearances with him.  During a trip to New York City, it was reported that Trigger delighted audiences by dancing, rearing, pawing, and playing dead on the ballroom floor of the Hotel Astor.  It was also noted, that more than once Rogers escorted Trigger up 3-4 flights of stairs at hospitals to visit with sick children.


Roy Rogers and Trigger

There was more than one ( 1 ) horse to bear the name Trigger;  Little Trigger and Trigger Jr. were also used for public appearances, film, and television to lessen the strain on the original Trigger.  Trigger retired from show business in 1957, dying in 1965 at the age of 33.


Roy Rogers and Trigger
1940  photo by Freulich

Trigger and his cowboy placed their hooves and hands in cement at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in 1949.

Trigger with his best hoof forward

Roy Roger’s and Trigger
Foot and Hoof prints at






Roy Rogers with Bullet

Sometimes a horse and a cowboy need a special friend…..




Dale Evans with Buttermilk

Buttermilk was a light buckskin Quarter Horse with dark points who appeared in numerous western films with his cowgirl, Dale Evans. 






Sgt. Preston of the Yukon
starring Richard Simmons
with his horse Rex

Even Rex had a friend too………………


Sgt.Preston of the Yukon
Richard Simmons with Yukon King








The Lone Ranger
Clayton Moore as the Lone Ranger with Silver
Jay Silverheels as Tonto with Scout


Clayton Moore as the Lone Ranger
with Silver


Tonto ( Jay Silverheels ) and Scout






Gail Davis ( Annie Oakley )
with Target




                   O.K.  boys and girls …..that’s all for this time ….. Keep safe !!!


























                             JUST   HORSING  AROUND 

          Many (many)  years ago when most of us were little squirts; or even our parents were a great deal younger, we had our role models.  You could usually tell the good ones from the bad, ( but not always )  by the color of their hat.  The good wore white and the bad wore black.  They all, of course rode horses and that’s what we are getting into today.  Of course, I can’t name them all, but some of these beautiful animals should be able to jog even the oldest memories.  Let’s see how many you can remember and check out the cowboys who were seen with them.

*****  Heroic Wonder Horses  *****

*****  Special Loved Horses  *****



Rex, the Wonder Horse


Rex was known as;  ” The  Wonder Horse ” and  ” King of the Wild Horses “.  He was a black Morgan Stallion with attitude.  During his almost 15 years in the film industry he was labeled  ‘ mean, vicious, ornery, undependable, warped, and  dangerous ‘.  Although he starred in over a dozen films, few actors were willing to work with him so a horse-double was brought in for the close ups.




      Rex was the first horse to star in his own films !


          FRITZ    and his cowboy….. William S. Hart


Fritz, ready for his close up




Fritz was the first horse to be named in the film credits as a costar to his rider,  William S. Hart,  appearing in at least eight ( 8 ) silent films.  He even received his own fan mail, which often included a special sugary treat.  Fritz was much loved by his cowboy, but  he belonged to film producer Thomas Ince. During a  raise negotation, Hart was able to acquire Fritz.  Together Hart and Fritz did unique and risky stunts such as  jumping into a moving river, jumping thru windows and over fire, and allowed himself to be thrown to the ground after a sudden stop.


William S. Hart with his beloved Fritz





After his retirement from films, Fritz lived the rest of his life at Hart’s California ranch. His grave is marked by a cobblestone monument that reads: ” Bill Hart’s Pinto Pony Fritz —  31 years —  A Loyal Comrade “.






                         TONY  with Tom  Mix



Tom Mix and Tony

Tony was the first horse to have the title,  ‘The Wonder Horse’.  He starred with his cowboy, Tom Mix in over two (2) dozen silent and sound films during his career and  was the first horse to receive equal billing with his costar.  When Tom Mix placed his hand /foot prints outside Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in 1927, Tony’s hoof prints were there too.

Fritz and Tom Mix
Hoof and Foot prints


Tony was best known for his intelligence and ability to perform remarkable stunts,  many of which might not be allowed today.  It is reported that Mix did not need to train Tony, but only show him what to do:  ie;  untying Mix’s hands,  opening gates,   loosening the reins,  rescuing Mix from fire,  jumping from one cliff to another,  and chasing after trains.


Tom Mix and Tony


Tony retired from films at the age of twenty-two  (22) after being slightly injured on the set of  ” The Fourth Horseman ” in 1932.  He outlived his cowboy, dying in 1942, two (2) years to the day that Mix was killed in a car accident.






Tim McCoy and Starlight




Hoot Gibson with Goldie



TARZAN  with his cowboy  Ken Maynard


Ken Maynard with Tarzan


Tarzan, The Wonder Horse was the onscreen companion of silent / sound film star  Ken  Maynard.  They starred in over five (5) dozen films and serials from 1925 until Tarzan’s death in 1940.

Ken Maynard with Tarzan

Previous Wonder Horses had all performed amazing stunts,  but Tarzan’s cowboy was the first to take advantage of the merits of a talented horse. While Tarzan could perform stunts like jumping off a cliff, he was better known for his tricks like ….. dancing,  bowing,  nodding his head to answer questions,  playing dead,  untying ropes,  dragging his  cowboy to safety,  or nuzzling him into the arms of the leading lady.  Tarzan was able to do these things in response to verbal commands.

Ken Maynard with Tarzan






Johnny Mack Brown with Reno



Tex Ritter and White Flash



Bob Steele with Ginger



Lash LaRue with Black Diamond



Tim Holt and Lightning




                    Check out part two (2)  for more special horses…………



















The RESZKE’S Operatic family…..



We talked about the famous Polish operatic bass, Edouard de Reszke in our last venture into the opera world of the past.  This little foray is about his siblings….Jean and  Josephine.


                               JEAN de RESZKE  ( aka; Jan Mieczyslaw Reszke )

          Born: January 14, 1850 —– Warsaw, Poland

          Died: April 3, 1925 —– Nice, France


Jean de Reszke
Polish born Tenor





                Jean de Reszke was a Polish born operatic tenor known internationally for the high quality of his singing and the elegance of his bearing  who became the biggest male opera star of the late 19th century.  He was known for his rounded timbre and matchless ability to combine a virile singing style with an exceptional degree of gracefulness and vocal refinement.  He is generally regarded as being one of the very greatest tenors of all time.

               Jean was born into comfort as his father was a state official and his mother a amateur singer. As a boy he sang in the Warsaw cathedral and later studied law at the city’s university.  After a few years he stopped his legal training and went to Milan, Italy to study voice with Antonio Cotogni an eminent baritone.  In January 1874 he made his debut as a baritone under the name Jan de Reschi in Donizetti’s production of   ‘La Favorite’.  The following April, he sang for the first time at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London and soon in Paris, both times as a baritone.


Jean de Reszke
Polish Tenor


               de Reszke had many limitations as a baritone and withdrew from the stage to study with Giovanni Sbriglia in Paris. Under his direction Jean’s voice gained remarkably in the upper register.  When he then made his first operatic appearance in 1879 in Madrid it was as a tenor in the title role of Meyerbeer’s  ‘Robert le diable’.  The then 29-year old de Reszke’s immense fame as a tenor dates from this moment.

               de Reszke sang regularly at the Paris Opera during the years of his vocal prime and in 1887 sang again at London’s Drury Lane.  The following year he was heard again in London at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Those performances proved popular with audiences and were mainly responsible for the revival of the operatic art form as fashionable amusement.  de Reszke’s singing was admired by Queen Victoria, and between 1889 and 1900 he was invited to take part in a number of royal galas at Covent Garden or command performances held privately at Windsor Castle


Jean de Reszke


               In 1891,  he sang in the United States for the first time and from 1893 thru 1899 he starred in every season at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City.  He was closely associated with French and Wagnerian operas while at Covent Garden and the Met., especially the title role in Massenet’s  ‘Le Cid’  which was written especially for him.

               de Reszke was equally successful singing in German;  whether as Lohengrin, Stolzing, Siegfried, or Tristan he was lauded by music critics, who praised him for demonstrating how the extremely demanding and often declamatory music that Wagner wrote for his  heldentenors could be sung with beauty of tone and, wherever practicable, a smooth legato line. 


Jean de Reszke
Polish born Opera Tenor
Romeo in Romeo and Juliette


               Jean de Reszke married a countess in 1896. He reduced his performance load during the opening years of the 20th century….and in 1904, he decided to retire while  his voice was still in good shape. He subsequently busied himself breeding race horses in Poland and teaching singing in Paris and Nice.

               de Reszke died at his villa in Nice in 1925,  having contracted influenza.


**********  There were a number of recordings  made;  unfortunately  of poor quality.  They are on Mapleson Cylinders  and can be found on u-tube if you are interested.





                                JOSEPHINE  de  RESZKE      ( Jozefina )


               Born: June 4, 1855 —– Warsaw, Poland

               Died: February 22, 1891 —– Warsaw, Poland


Josephine de Reszke
Polish Soprano





                    Josephine was a Polish born operatic soprano and the sister of Edouard (bass )  and Jean  ( tenor ).  She began her studies with her mother and Mme.Nissen Salomon and made her debut in Paris on June 21, 1875 as Ophelia in  ‘ Hamlet ‘.

                    She remained at the Paris Opera for several years during which time she became known for her performances in Italian and French operas.. She created the role  of Sita in Massenet’s  ‘ Le roi de Lahore  ’.  Although she was invited to sing in the United States, she turned down the offer and remained in Europe for the duration of her career.

                    Josephine appeared with her brother Jean at his debut, and with both brothers at the Paris premiere of  ‘ Herodiade ‘ in 1884.  At the peak of her career she married Baron Leopold Kronenberg and retired from the stage except for some charity performances.  For this she was awarded with a diamond from the city of Poznan.

Josephine de Reszke
Polish Opera Soprano

                    Josephine de Reszke died at her home in Warsaw, Poland.


          *********** Josephine never made any recordings…..



OPERA STARS from the PAST…..


                    More of our opera stars from the past


                         EDMOND   CLEMENT

     Born: March 28, 1867 —– Paris, France

     Died: February 24, 1928 —– Nice, France


          Edmond Clement was a French born lyric tenor whose international reputation was due to the polished artistry of his singing.


Edmond Clement




          Clement studied at the Conservatorie de Paris and made his stage debut at the  Opera-Comique in 1889 in ‘ Mireille ‘.  He remained first tenor at the theatre until 1909.  Clement was also a part of the first performance of    ‘ Le juif polonais ‘   by Camille Erlander and  ‘ Helene ‘  by  Camille Saint-Saens  and sang in the Parisian premieres of   ’ Falstaff ‘ and  ‘ Madama Butterfly ‘.  His career was not limited to Paris as he also sang in Brussels, Monte Carlo,Madrid, and London;  but never appeared at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.



Edmond Clement


          Clement was beckoned to the United States and joined the stellar roster of singers at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City for the 1909 – 1910 season.  He could not compete with the voice of Enrico Caruso and was not re-engaged by the Met’s management.


Edmond Clement


           From 1911 to 1913 he sang for the audiences at the Boston Opera House who admired him for his stylish vocalism, exemplary diction and elegant stage presence.  Although his voice was not large, he was considered to be one of the leading Romeos and Don Joses of his era  because of his musicianship.


Edmond Clement
Mozart’s ‘ The Magic Flute ‘


           Edmond Clement returned to his homeland when the First World War began in 1914 and was wounded while serving with the French army.  He returned to America in the 1920′s for concert and recital appearances.  His last years were spent in semi-retirement in France, giving his last recital at the age of 60 in 1927.  He died the following year in Nice.



Edmond Clement


          His recordings open a window to a vanished world of refined French vocal style.





                              EMMA  EAMES

          Born: August 13, 1865 —– Shanghai, China

          Died: June 13, 1952 —– Bath, Maine


Emma Eames




               Emma was an American soprano known for the beauty of her voice.  She sang major lyric and lyric-dramatic roles in New York City, London, and Paris during the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th.

          Emma was the daughter of an international lawyer, born in China and raised in Portland and Bath, Maine.  Her mother recognized a promising quality in Emma’s voice and she started singing lessons as a small girl.  She studied in Boston and then in Paris.


Emma Eames


          Eames made her professional operatic debut in Gounod’s  ‘Romeo et Juliette’ at the Paris Opera’s headquarters, the Palais Garnier, in 1889.  As early as November 1889, The Times newspaper called her  “the favourite cantatrice of the Opera”.  Near the end of 1891 she debuted at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City and quickly became a favorite of the audiences.  She would perform regularly at the Met in a variety of operas until 1909.



          She made a number of successful appearances at London’s Royal Opera House, Covent Garden from 1891 thru 1901 where she established herself as a rival to the reigning diva, Nellie Melba, ( whom she disliked )

          Press notices from a few of her performances at Covent Garden include;

               GOUNOD’S  ‘FAUST’ — April 7, 1891 : ” debut … immediate, great success … middle notes have a peculiarly beautiful quality, approaching mezzo-soprano … the voice, though exceedingly sweet, is not very powerful … the singer’s method leaves nothing to desire … her execution of brilliant passages is neat and accurate … charming and sincerely artistic “.

               WAGNER’S  ‘ LOHENGRIN ‘ — April 11,1891 … ( as Elsa ) …  ” very great charm of her voice … supreme personality is the one who can monopolize a part without any change ever being called for or desired “.

               MASSENET’S  ‘ WERTHER ‘ — 1894 …  ” Emma Eames sings and acts most charmingly as Charlotte … beautiful quality of the singer’s lower notes “.


Emma Eames
costume as Desdemona
opera… “Otello”…



          During her prime, Emma possessed an opulently beautiful, aristocratic, and expertly trained soprano voice. It began  a purely lyric voice but increased over time enabling her to sing parts as heavy as Aida, Sieglinde, Santuzza, and Tosca. Music critics occasionally took her to task, however, for the coldness of her interpretations and aloof stage manner. ( Critics of today are still not a very happy lot, are they ? )


Emma Eames


          Eames was a proud, handsome woman who grew stout with age. She was married twice; …first to a society painter, Julian Story —  then to the famous concert baritone Emilio de Gogorza.  Both marriages ended with divorce and bitterness, producing no children.

          Paris was Eames’ main residence during the 1920′s and early 1930′s.  She moved to New York City in 1936 where she gave vocal training, and while there became fond of the Broadway  Theatre.  She loved the shows as they afforded  her much needed relaxation.



Emma Eames


          Emma died in 1952 after a protracted illness.  She is buried in Oak Grove Cemetery in Bath, Maine.


Emma Eames
Oak Grove Cemetery
Bath, Maine






                                             GIUSEPPE  CAMPANARI


               Born: November 17, 1855 —– Venice, Italy

               Died: May 31,1927 —–  Milan, Italy


Giuseppe Campanari





                    Campanari was an Italian born operatic baritone and cellist later became an American citizen.  He was hailed as a cello virtuoso at age nine (9) and at the age of seventeen (17) he became first solo cellist at La Scala in Milan, Italy.  When he emigrated to the United States he played first solo cello for the Boston Symphony Orchestra and eventually was appointed professor of cello at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston.  During his career as a cellist he frequently appeared with leading artistes such as Joachim, Wieniawski, and Saint-Saens. In 1888 he became one of the original members of the Adamowski String Quartet which was led by Timothee Adamowski.   During this same time he studied voice on the side.



Giuseppe Campanari


                    He resigned both of his positions in Boston to devote himself to singing.  His first attempt at opera came in  ‘Un ballo in maschera ’ at Teatro Dal Verme in Milan in 1880.  He eventually became a major opera star with the Metropolitan Opera.

                    He first sang Valentine in  ‘Faust ’  with the Emma Juch Opera Company when the baritone , Alonzo Stoddard fell ill. Campanari made his official operatic debut in ’ I Pagliacci ’ with the Hinrich’s Opera Company in New York City on June 15, 1893, being the first singer to perform the role in the United States.

                    Giuseppe made his Metropolitan Opera debut on November 30, 1894 singing the role of Count di Luna in  ‘Il  trovatore ’ with the great heroic tenor Tamagno  as  Manrico. In 1895 he sang in the first American production of  ”Falstaff.’  He also sang the Met’s first Marcello in the 1900 production of  “  La Boheme “ and their first Papageno in the 1902 – 1903 season of  ” Die Zauberflote “.  Campanari remained with the Met. until 1912.  He gave more than 200 performances during his career there.



Giuseppe Campanari


                    After his retirement from serious music, he briefly dabbled in vaudeville but found the two-show-a-day schedule too gruelling at his age.  He taught voice in both New York City and Milan, Italy. He died in Milan in 1927.


Giuseppe Campanari






                                         SUZANNE   ADAMS


                    Born: November 28, 1872 —– Cambridge, Massachusetts

                    Died: February 5, 1953 —–  London, England



Suzanne Adams



          Suzanne Adams was an American born lyric coloratura soprano known for her agile and pure voice.  Adams first became well known in France before establishing herself as one of the  Metropolitan Opera’s leading sopranos at the beginning of the 20th century.

          Adams studied first in New York with Jacques Bouhy and then Paris with Mathilde Marchesi.  Her opera debut came in  1884-1895 at the Paris Opera as Juliette in Gounod’s  ” Faust “ with Gounod himself.  He admired her greatly for her fine technique, brillant tone, and vocal flexibility.  She remained at the Paris Opera for three (3) years and then went to Nice.


          In the summer of 1898 she sang at Covent Garden, London in the world premiere of Stanford’s  ‘ Much Ado About Nothing ‘.  She went on to join the Metropolitan Opera in New York City where she sang numerous roles during the seasons from 1898 thru 1903.

          In 1898 she married Leo Stern, an English cellist who died in 1904.  Soon after his death she retired from the stage and settled in London.  She did appear though at Covent Garden at some performances of Carmen in November 1906, these may have been among her last appearances in opera.


Suzanne Adams


          It is reported she taught voice for many years, but details are lacking.  She appeared in a few concerts in England in 1905 – 1906  and visited the United States in late 1907 to appear in vaudeville in Chicago, New York, and elsewhere.

          In 1915 she married John Lumsden Mackay, a man of  ‘independent means’.  They lived for many years north of Hyde Park in London. After he died in November 1934 it is thought she may have continued teaching until her death.




                                 EDOUARD  de  RESZKE     ( was  Edward )

                Born: December 22, 1853 —– Warsaw, Poland

                Died: May 25, 1917 —– Garnek, near Czestochowa, Poland         


more of de Reszke  below………………..
















Edouard de Reszke





                    Edouard was a Polish born operatic bass. He was born with an impressive natural voice,  equipped with  compelling histrionic skills, and became one of the most illustrious opera singers active in Europe and America during the late Victorian era.


                    Reszke was born into a well-to-do and cultured family where he first learned to sing.  He was able to continue his voice studies in Italy, and while he did not want to become an operatic performer, but because of his sister, Josephine, he accepted an engagement with the Paris Opera.  He was chosen by the composer Giuseppe Verdi to make his debut in the first Paris performance of  ‘Aida’  on April 22,1876, appearing under the composer’s baton as the  King of Egypt.

Between 1880 and the 1900′s, de Reszke appeared more than 300 times at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden performing  a wide range of roles in French, German, and Italian.  He was a huge favorite too, with the audiences at the Metropolitan Opera during the same era.  He also sang in Chicago in 1891, and in La Scala, Milan from 1879 – 1881.

Edouard de Reszke (bass)
and his brother
Jean de Reszke (tenor)

                    Edouard would sing often with his older  brother, Jean who was a renowned lyric-dramatic tenor. Together they sang in Paris, London, and New York for over 2 decades.  They performed together in the 500th performance of Gounod’s  ‘Faust’ at the Paris opera.

Edouard de Reszke
Jean de Reszke

                    In 1903, he retired from the stage after his once superlative voice developed technical difficulties and went into a swift decline.  He taught singing in London before returning to his estate in Poland, where he was adversely affected by the outbreak of World War 1 in Europe ( 1914 ).  Cut off from his brother by the fighting, he died in poverty at his house in Garnek, Poland.  His grave is to be found at Borowno, Poland, But his fame lives on as one of the greatest basses in operatic history.


Edouard de Reszke in

                    Edouard de Reszke was a tall genial man possessing a big, smooth, flexible, and ripe-toned voice that matched his imposing physique and extroverted personality.  He sang masterfully at all dynamic levels and was additionally blessed with a magnetic stage presence.  During his prime, he could  equally interpret both dramatic and comedic roles. When he retired in 1903 his voice was deteriorated due to wear and tear caused by years of hard use and the effects of an unhealthy lifestyle filled with food, drink, and conviviality.



WRESTLERS of the Past


     There have been many wrestlers in the past worth mentioning, but I cannot name them all….. so  will showcase a few of them over the next months.



George Wagner  aka:  Gorgeous George

Born: March 24, 1915 —– Butte, Nebraska

Died: December 26, 1963 —– California

          Debut :  1932               Retired : 1962


Gorgeous George (fancy)


         George Raymond Wagner was an American professional wrestler known in the United States during the First Golden Age of Professional Wrestling ( the 1940′s and 1950′s). He gained mainstream popularity and became one of the biggest stars due to the media attention for his outrageous character ( Flamboyant / Charismatic ).

          George was a middle America boy raised in Nebraska and Iowa.  At age seven (7) his family moved to a tough neighborhood in Houston, Texas.  As a child he trained at the local YMCA where he would stage matches against his friends.  At age 14 he dropped out of school to work odd jobs to help his family. He would also compete at carnivals, where he could get 35 cents for a win.  By age 17, he was getting booked by promoter Morris Siegel.  In 1938, at the age of 23 he won his first title… ( Northwest Middleweight crown )  and on May 19, 1939 he captured the Pacific Coast Light Heavyweight Championship.   At  5’9″ … 215 pounds he was not really physically imposing, nor was he an exceptionally gifted athlete….. but he soon developed a reputation as a solid in-ring worker.

          In the 1930′s Vanity Magazine published an article about a pro wrestler named Lord Patrick Lansdowne who entered the ring wearing a velvet robe and doublet accompanied by two (2) valets.


Lord Patrick Lansdowne

George was impressed , but believed he could take this even further.

Gorgeous George
aka; George Wagner

George debuted his new  ” glamour boy “  image at a 1941 card in Eugene, Oregon.  He antagonized his fans with exaggerated effeminate behavior when he was introduced. This type of showmanship was unheard of at this time.  Gorgeous George created even more for his persona by growing his hair long, dyeing it platinum blonde, and using gold plated bobby pins ( he would give them to the audiience calling them ‘ Georgie Pins ‘).  He also transformed his ring entrance into a spectacle by using  music, a purple spotlight, and a valet.  He wore an elegant robe covered in sequins and would be escorted down his personal red carpet by his ring valet  “Jeffries”  who would carry a silver mirror and spread rose petals at his feet.


Gorgeous George and a valet


Gorgeous George being checked for ???

While George removed his robe, “Jeffries” would spray the ring with disinfectant  ( Chanel # 5 )  before he would start wrestling.   He also would spray the referee’s hands before the official was allowed to check him (George) for illegal objects.  This flamboyant image and his showmans ability were so successful in the early days of television that he became the most famous wrestler of his time.  Of course, because of television, George’s character exploded into to the biggest drawing card ever seen.  It was Gorgeous George that brought wrestling into the nation’s livingrooms, and his behaviour made him a larger than life figure in pop-culture. No longer was pro wrestling just in ring action, but there was a new sense of theatrics and character performance. Wrestling was now a viable entertainment medium that could reach millions of homes across the country.


Gorgeous George getting groomed by wife Betty

In addition to his theatrics, Gorgeous George was an accomplished wrestler. He was actually a very competent freestyle wrestler and could handle himself quite well if it came to a legitimate contest.   In March,1947 he defeated Enrique Torres to capture the Los Angeles Heavyweight Championship and on February 22,1949 he was the feature attraction at New York’s Madison Square Garden which was pro wrestling’s first return to the building in ( 12 )  years.  By the 1950′s George’s starpower was so huge that he was able to command 50% of the gate for his performances, which allowed him to earn over  $ 100,000.00 a year.  Perhaps, Gorgeous George’s most famous match was against his long time rival  ‘Whipper Billy Watson’ on March 12, 1959 in which the beaten George had his treasured golden locks shaved bald.


George would lose his golden locks again when he was defeated by the Destroyer in a hair vs mask match at the Olympic Auditorium on November 7, 1962.  This would turn out to be his last match,  as advanced age and alcohol abuse had taken a toll on his body

As his career wound down, Wagner invested  $ 250,000.00 in a  195 acre turkey ranch in Beaumont, California.   and owned a cocktail lounge in Van Nuys, California which he named  ” Gorgeous George’s Ringside Restaurant “.

In 1962 he was diagnosed with a serious liver condition.  He suffered a heart attack on December 24, 1963 and died two (2) days later.

The plaque at his gravesite reads,  ” Love to our Daddy Gorgeous George “.


In 2002, George was inducted into the inaugural class of the Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame and on March 27, 2010 he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.  His 97 year old former wife, Betty Wagner accepted the honour on his behalf, answering questions and telling the story of how he became Gorgeous George.


     *****  In 1951 Warner Brothers  ‘Merrie Melodies’  cartoon  ” Bunny Hugged “ featured a one shot character,  ‘ Ravishing Ronald ‘  modeled after Gorgeous George.


Ravishing Ronald from
” Bunny Hugged “




          William John Potts


          Whipper Billy Watson

     Born: June 25, 1915 —– East York, Ontario, Canada

     Died: February 4, 1990 —– Orlando, Florida

          Debut: 1940           Retired: 1971



Whipper Billy Watson

William John Potts was a Canadian professional wrestler best known by his ring name;  Whipper Billy Watson.  He was a two-time world heavyweight wrestling champion.  His father was English born and his mother Canadian.  He began wrestling in Toronto under his real name in the 1930′s as a member of the Scarborough Athletic Club on what was billed as amateur wrestling shows.  The style of wrestling often involved hard-nosed shooting and at one time he was sidelined for six (6) months with a fractured shoulder and broken ribs.  During a four (4) year tour of England and abroad he became Billy Watson and was booked by former Olympic Gold Medalist George de Relwyskow. Billy became one of the best wrestlers in the world.

After his time abroad he returned to Canada and began wrestling at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto with his opening match on October 3, 1940.  He finally appeared in a main event in February 1941; but his big chance came two (2) months later when he entered an open tournament to determine the number one (1) contender for the world title on May 1, 1941. ( He won four (4) matches in one night to win the tournament )

Whipper Watson

From that time on, Watson was a legitimate main event performer and soon became a crowd favorite.  In a few years he was a mainstream celebrity and one of Toronto’s most popular citizens.  It had been estimated that Whipper Watson drew more than five (5) million people in main event shows in Toronto. As one of the most popular wrestlers in the city’s history, he spent (31) years  ( October 3, 1940  –  November 28, 1971 ) entertaining his fans and earned the reputation as someone who was willing to lose clean in the ring.


Watson was hit by an out of control car while placing a fireplace screen in the trunk of his car. After a three (3) hour surgery he eventually recovered, but would never wrestle again.  Although he nearly lost a leg, he continued his fund raising activities raising millions for campaigns such as Easter Seals and was responsible for having 150,000 children join a safety club.

Whipper, Billy Watson

His legacy is well remembered in York Region where he lived. The W.J.Watson Public School in Keswick, Ontario is named in his honour.

Whipper Watson left us on February 4, 1990 in Orlando, Florida.




          Lou Thesz… aka: Aloysius Martin Thesz  ( born: Lajos Tiza )

    Born: April 24, 1916 —– Banat, Michigan

      Died: April 28, 2002 —– Orlando, Florida

Debut:  1932          Retired:  1979  (official)

         Last Match ….. December 26, 1990

Lou Thesz

Lou Thesz was an American wrestler and six (6) time world champion, holding the NWA World Heavyweight Championship three (3) times. Among his accomplishments is his being credited with inventing a number of professional wrestling techniques such as the Belly to Back Waistlock Suplex, the Lou Thesz Press, STF, and the original Powerbomb.  Lou is generally considered to be among the greatest professional wrestlers of all time.


Lou was born in Michigan and moved to Missouri as a young boy.  His working class parents came from the former Austro-Hungarian Empire.  Starting at a young age, Lou’s father gave him a tough education in Greco-Roman wrestling which provided him the fundamentals for his later success.

Lou Thesz with manager, Ed ‘Strangler’ Lewis

     Lou made his professional debut at the age of sixteen (16) and soon caught the eye of the biggest wrestling star of the 1920s ( Ed ” Strangler ” Lewis ) who taught him the art  of ‘hooking’ ( stretching your opponent with painful holds).  They made a lasting friendship. At the age of 21, Thesz became the youngest World Heavyweight Champion in history. From 1949 to 1956 Thesz set out to unify all the existing World Titles into the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.  In 1957 Lou became the first wrestler to defend the NWA title in Japan, wrestling Rikidozan in a series of 60 minute draws

Lou Thesz

     In 1963, Thesz came out of  semi-retirement to win his sixth (6th)  World Heavyweight  Championship from Buddy Rogers at the age of 46….. he would hold the title until 1966, when at age 49 he was dethroned by Gene Kiniski.

     Lou wrestled part time over the next 13 years, winning his last major Title in 1978 in Mexico, becoming the first Universal Wrestling Alliance Champion at the age of 62.  Thesz officially retired in 1979 and remained retired, for the most part, before wrestling his last match on December 26, 1990 in Hamamatsu, Japan, against his protege, Masahiro Chono. This made him the only male wrestler to wrestle in seven (7) different decades.

     After retiring, Thesz became a promoter, manager, color commentator, trainer, and upon occasion, a refere for important matches.

     Thesz became the president of the Cauliflower Alley Club in 1992, an organization for retired pro-wrestlers; a position he held until 2000.   In 1999, his name was given to the Lou Thesz / George Tragos Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame for pro-wrestling stars with a successful amateur background at the  International Wrestling Institute & Museum in Waterloo, Iowa. 

Lou Thesz

     Thesz underwent a triple bypass surgery for an aortic valve replacement on April 9, 2002, but died due to complications on April 28, 2002 in Orlando, Florida.  





                    BUDDY  ROGERS  aka;  Herman Gustav Rohde Jr.

                             ” Nature Boy”  Buddy Rogers


Buddy Rogers



                    Born: February 20, 1921 —–  Camden, New Jersey

                    Died: June 26, 1992 —– 

                         Debut:  1939  —–  Retired:  1963   


          Buddy Rogers was an American professional wrestler and one of the biggest wrestling stars in the beginning of the television era.  His performances inspired generations of wrestlers who used Roger’s nickname, as well as his look, attitude, and finishing hold. ( the figure-four leglock ).  He was a two-time world heavyweight champion, becoming the first professional wrestler to hold both the WWF Championship and the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.

          The son of German immigrants, Rogers was an outstanding athlete taking up wrestling at the age of nine (9) at the local YMCA….. he also excelled in football, boxing,and track, but by - in  – large his best sport was swimming.  At age 17 he joined the Dale Brothers Circus as a wrestler,  He also worked at a shipyard and became a police officer until he met wrestling promoters Ray and Frank Hanley who set up his first match on July 4, 1939 which he won.  He soon became a top wrestler using his given name where he scored  his first major win over Ed  “Strangler” Lewis.

          He continued his career in Texas where he used the name  ‘Buddy Rogers’.  After leaving Texas he went to Ohio where the final pieces of his character were added.  He bleached his hair and was called  “Natural Guy” and later  “Nature Boy”.  With the advent of television, Roger’s flashy look, great physique, and bombastic personality instantly caught the ire of audiences.


Buddy Rogers and Johnny Barend


         Rogers was also co-holder of the U.S. Tag Team Championship, with frequent tag partner   ‘Handsome Johnny Barend’.  In 1963 it was announced that Rogers was retiring , although he did wrestle an occasional show for The Sheik’s promotion and appeared on a TV show called Wrestling Show Classics out of Ohio.

          In 1978 Rogers returned to wrestling as a babyface although he was in his late 50′s.  He also was a heel manager, managing other wrestlers.  His best moment in the Carolina’s was his feud with the new  “Nature Boy”, Ric Flair, but Rogers beat the younger  ‘Nature  Boy’ on July 9, 1978.

           He was set to wrestle yet another  Nature Boy in early  1992, but the promotion went out of business and the match never happened.  Later that same year he was weakened by a broken arm and suffered three (3) strokes, two (2) on the same day.  He was placed on life support and died a short time later on June 26, 1992.


Buddy Rogers


          Buddy Rogers was considered the first total package wrestler as he had it all;  the looks, physique, personality, and ability.  He is often attributed with developing the psychology that several heels went on to use with great success and inventing the  “Figure-Four Grapevine”  ( Figure Four Leglock ).


          Lou Thesz wrote this about Roger’s early impact…..  ” Rogers is remembered by fans and performers as one of the top all time stars in the business, but it is probably not common knowledge just how influential he was.  He broke into this business around 1941 as a hero type personality, with little more going for him than a good body and natural charisma in the ring…which is actually a good beginning.  He had that something that fans responded to and was sharp enough to build upon what he had by paying attention to what got a reaction from the crowd.  What evolved over the years was  ‘Nature Boy’, the prototype of the cocky, strutting, sneering, arrogant , peroxide blond villian.”

          Buddy was also one of the first to rely a lot on the ‘flying’ moves in the ring;…..  body slams, dropkicks, piledrivers, and ricochets off the ropes into his opponents which are commonplace today. He was the first to use these moves in quanity and stayed off the mat.

          Another Rogers contribution was his bombastic interviewing style.  ( bragging, boasting about his greatness,  and how pathetic his opponents were).  Rogers was not very well liked during his prime years because he had a habit of taking advantage of his opponents in the ring.  He actually was an excellent wrestler and a superb showman, but was  manipulative behind the scenes.

          As he got older, Rogers mellowed and became a very respected veteran and spokesman for wrestling.  He had one of the longest consistent top drawing periods of any main-eventer;  15 years.


     Trivia *****  In 1994, he was posthumously inducted into the World Wrestling Federation Hall fo Fame…..




























4th of July…..also the one (1) year Anniversary of this site !!!

                                    THE  4th of  July

Happy 4th of July


Think,….. Where might we be if our forefathers had never won our Freedom…..

         Think,….. About all who paid the price for our Freedom

Our Men and Women Who Keep Us Safe

Think,….. About all the things we should be thankful for

          Think,….. Who and what should  “I”  be thankful for

God Bless Our Land


                          PRAY….. for those who have little or nothing…..



A Capital 4th

Pray for our future and for the future of our children and grandchildren…..

             LOVE, …..  Those who are special to you and Show them what love is

Macys 4th of July Fireworks
32nd annual

           Learn,…..to show compassion and love for those who YOU see as different

          Remember,….. Why, so many years ago our ancestors came to this land



Land That We Love

LOVE  AMERICA ….. and if you can’t,… then find some place else to live

                        YOU  WILL  NEVER  FIND  A BETTER COUNTRY  THAN

                                   THE  UNITED  STATES of  AMERICA


Independence Day













                April 3, 1936 — May 24, 2008


Jimmy McGriff


Jimmy McGriff   (atgb)





                         March 4, 1934 — February 4, 2007

Barbara McNair



Barbara Mc Nair

Barbara McNair




MUSIC !!!!!


               MORE  MUSIC  FROM  THE  PAST


                    JIMMY  MCGRIFF

          aka: James Harrell McGriff


Jimmy McGriff

Born: April 3, 1936 —– Germantown, Pennsylvania

               Died: May 24, 2008 —– Voorhees Township, New Jersey

                         Jimmy was an American hard bop and soul jazz organist and organ trio bandleader who developed a special style of playing the Hammond B-3 organ.   He started playing the piano at the age of five (5) and by his teens had also learned to play the vibes, alto sax, drums, and bass.  His first gig was as a bassist in a piano trio.

                         The first Hammond B-3 organ came into his life in 1956 and  he spent six (6) months  learning the instrument; he then studied at New York’s Julliard School.  He was greatly influenced by the energy and dynamics of organist Milt Buckner and the aplomb of Count Basie, and other local pianists.


Jimmy McGriff

           In 1961, McGriff’s trio was offered the chance to record a version of Ray Charles’ hit   ” I’ve Got A Woman ” by Joe Lederman’s Jell Records.  When it received substantial airplay, Juggy Murray’s Sue label picked it up and recorded a full album of the McGriff Trio.  (1962)  This turned out another big hit,  “All About My Girl ” , which established McGriff’s credentials as a fiery blues-based organist, well-versed in gospel, soul, and   ‘fatback groove’.


Jimmy McGriff

In the late 1960′s  Jimmy settled in Newark, New Jersey, and opened his supper club  ‘ the Golden Slipper ‘ – where he recorded  Black Pearl  and a live album,  ‘Love Ain’t Nothin’ But A Business Goin’ On”.  (1971)

                    McGriff  “retired” from the music industry in 1972 to start a horse farm in Connecticut…; but Sonny Lester’s new company, Groove Merchant, kept issuing McGriff’s records at about 3-4 a year.  By 1973, Jimmy was recording and touring again. Disco was gaining a hold in jazz music and Jimmy’s flexibility was infallible. During this time he produced some of his best music;  Stump Juice (1975) —– Red Beans (1976) —– Outside Looking In (1978).   These albums still stand out today as excellent testaments to McGriff’s organ playing.



Jimmy McGriff

In the mid-1990′s, McGriff had renewed popularity with the soul-jazz sound.  He formed the Dream Team group which featured David   “Fathead”  Newman (saxophone)  and Bernard Purdie  (drums);  together they recorded….. Straight Up (1998) ….. McGriff’s House Party  (2000) ….. and  McGriff Avenue (2002).



Jimmy McGriff


Jimmy McGriff died in Voorhees Township, New Jersey at the age of 72 due to complications of multiple sclerosis.


               Please  see The Final Curtain for more information about Jimmy…



                               BARBARA  MCNAIR


Barbara McNair

Born: March 4, 1934 ….. Chicago, Illinois

                Died: February 4, 2007 ….. Sherman Oaks, California


                   Barbara was an African – American singer of Jazz, Pop, and Contemporary music , plus a fine actress of Broadway, Film, and TV.  She was born in Chicago, Illinois and was raised in Racine, Wisconsin.  She studied music at the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago; her big break coming with a win on Arthur Godfrey’s Talent  Scouts.  This led to bookings at  The Purple Onion and the Cocoanut Grove.



Barbara McNair

Barbara  became one of the country’s  most popular headliners  guesting on shows such as The Steve Allen Show,  Hullabaloo,  The Bell Telephone Hour, and  Hollywood Palace.


Barbara McNair

McNair’s acting career began on television;  she was a guest on series such as Dr. Kildare,  The Eleventh Hour,  I Spy,  Mission Impossible,  Hogan’s Heroes,  and McMillan and  Wife. She caught the attention of the movie going public with her much-publicized nude scene in the 1968 gritty crime drama  If He Hollers Let Him Go.  She worked with Mary Tyler Moore in the 1969  Change of Habit  and portrayed Sidney Poitier’s wife inThey Call Me MISTER Tibbs in 1970.  Her Broadway credits include;  (1958) The Body Beautiful — (1962) No Strings — (1973) The Pajama  Game.


Barbara McNair

McNair had her own TV variety show in 1969, but it only lasted one season even though she had numerous high profile guests such as  Sonny and Cher  and Tony Bennett.

          In December 1976, her husband, Rick Manzi, was murdered;  was it a Mafia hit?  Whatever, the publicity did little to help her career.


Barbara McNair


Into her early 70′s,  Barbara resided in the Los Angeles area with her husband Charles Blecka.  She played tennis and skied to keep in shape and would tour on occasion.   Barbara McNair passed away on February 4, 2007 of throat cancer.


See more about Barbara on  THE  FINAL  CURTAIN…..





                   and  his  band……….


Abe Lyman    ( Vitaphone #2766 – Rel. no 7077)
( atgb )

Born: August 4, 1897 —–

Died: October 23, 1957 —– Beverly Hills, California

Abe Lyman aka;  Abraham Simon Lymon

Abe was a popular bandleader from the 1920′s into the 1940′s.  He made recordings, appeared in films, and provided the music for numerous radio shows including  Your Hit Parade.

Abe Lyman

Abe and his brother Mike changed the spelling of their last name because they thought it sounded better.

          Abe learned to play the drums when he was young and at the age of 14 he had a job in a Chicago cafe.

          In Los Angeles Mike opened the Sunset ,  a night club popular with numerous film stars;….. but had to close it when the celebrities were required to sign contracts that they would not be seen at clubs.



Abe Lyman Orchestra

     At an engagement at the Coconut Grove in the Ambassador Hotel on April 1,1919 ,  a violinist and saxophonist were added.  On opening night there was 1500 guests in the Coconut Grove, with another 500 outside.


     The Lyman Orchestra toured Europe in 1929;  appearing at the Kit Cat Club and Palladium in London  and the Moulin Rouge and Perroquet in Paris.

     Abe and his orchestra were also featured in a number of early talkies;… 1930 – Hold Everything ….Paramount on Parade ….. Good News ….. and Madam Satan…..     In 1931, Abe and the orchestra recorded a number of soundtracks for Merrie Melodies cartoons.


Abe Lyman and his Orchestra  (atgb)


Lyman and his orchestra sat in for Phil Harris on the Jack Benny program in 1943 when Harris served in the Merchant Marines.

          When Lyman was 50 years old, he left the music industry and went into restaurant management.  He died in Beverly Hills, California.

Abe Lyman

































Alaska – Yukon – Pacific Exposition
Seattle, Washington 1909

Alaska – Yukon – Pacific Exposition
Seattle, Washington 1909

           EMBLEMS from the 1909  Exposition …..

     On June 1, 1907 the groundbreaking ceremonies were held at the south end of the University of Washington campus. It was to display the resources, products and advantages of the state of Washington and the region.  The promoters had really wanted the Expo. to be held in 1907 in honor of the 10th Anniversary of the Klondike Gold Rush, but found that Jamestown, Virginia  already had plans established for its own summer long exhibition. Therefore it was rescheduled for 1909, which give the promoters two (2) extra years to raise funds, gather more participants, prepare exhibits, and lay out the fair grounds.

          The fair opened on June 1, 1909 and ran for 138 days.  There were more than 3 million visitors,  all contribuing to Seattle’s economic development.



property of   (atgb)

TOP  Postcard…..

The fair consumed  250  acres, which is now the University of Washington.

                    BOTTOM Postcard…..

               King County Exhibit included a scale model of the coal mine in nearby Newcastle and dioramas of several Seattle scenes;….. the originals were only a trolley ride away.



property of  (atgb)

TOP Postcard…..

The Government Building was at the center of the ‘Grand Court’ with the casacades coming down in front of it. At night there were lights of white and colors.

BOTTON Postcard…..

The ‘Paystreak’  was the midway with games of chance and amusements for everyone.


property of  (atgb)

TOP Postcard…..

          California Building housed items from and about California, including a GIANT lemon,  made from normal size lemons and a life size ELEPHANT made from walnuts.

                    BOTTOM Postcard…..

               The formal gardens were so relaxing for an afternoon or evening walk.


property of  (atgb)

TOP Postcard…..

What a beautiful area to view and enjoy…the buildings, the water, the plantings, and of course we can view Mount Rainier in the distance.

                     BOTTOM Postcard…..

                     Yukon Avenue held the Agriculture, Manufacturing, Fisheries, and Mines Buildings.




property of (atgb)

TOP Postcard…..

               The New York Building was primarily used for the purpose of hosting V.I.P.’s. The building itself is a replica of former Secretary of State, William Seward’s home in Auburn, New York.

                    BOTTOM Postcard…..

               Located in the Court of Honor is the beautiful Alaskan Monument.



                    We hope you have enjoyed this little trip back in time…..












               aka: Odetta Holmes, Odetta Gordon, Odetta Felious

         Born: December 31, 1930 ….. Birmingham, Alabama

         Died:  December 2, 2008 ….. New York City, New York


               Odetta was an American singer, actress, guitarist, songwriter and human rights activist.  She was often referred to as    ” The Voice of the Civil Rights Movement”.

The Voice  2003

Her music consisted mostly of American folk music, blues, jazz, and spirituals.  She was an important figure in the folk music revival of the 1950′s and 1960′s where she influenced many of the key figures of the time including Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Mavis Staples, and Janis Joplin.

          Odetta was born in Alabama, but grew up in California, attending Belmont High School and studying music at Los Angeles City College.  She received operatic training from age 13, but she doubted that a large black girl would ever perform at the Metropolitan Opera.

          Her first professional experience was in musical theatre in 1944 as a member of the Hollywood Turnabout Puppet Theatre. She later joined the national touring company of the musical  ‘ Finians Rainbow ‘.  While touring she heard and joined a group of young balladeers in San Francisco and after 1950 concentrated on folksinging.

mid 1950′s

She made a name by playing around the United States in such places as the Blue Angel in New York City and the hungry i and the Tin Angel in San Francisco.

     In 1959 she appeared on ‘Tonight With Belafonte ‘ a TV special.  In 1961 Martin Luther King Jr. anointed her  “THE QUEEN OF AMERICAN FOLK MUSIC”.



The March on Washington

     Many Americans remember her performance at the 1963 civil rights movement’s march to Washington where she sang  “O  FREEDOM”.  She considered her involvement in the Civil Rights movement as being   ‘ one of the privates in a very big army ‘.



In the 1960′s Odetta started to broaden her musicality using band arrangements on several albums instead of playing alone.  She also acted in several films including ( 1955 ) Cinerama Holiday —– (1961) Sanctuary —– and ( 1974 ) The Diary of Miss Jane Pittman.  Her two (2) marriages both ended in divorce.



In May of 1975 she appeared on public television’s ” Say Brother “, talking about her spirituality, the music tradition from which she drew, her involvement in civil rights,and performed  ” Give Me Your Hand “.   In 1976, Odetta performed in the U.S. Bicentennial opera,  ‘Be Glad Then America’.

          Beginning in 1998 Odetta began recording and touring.  She also released some new music, included were:  ” Blues Everywhere I Go “ a 2000 Grammy Nominated blues/jazz band tribute to great lady blues singers of the 1920′s and 1930′s —–  ” Looking for a Home ” a 2002 W.C. Handy Award nominated band tribute to Lead Belly and the 2007 Grammy Nominated  “Gonna Let It Shine “.  On September 29, 1999 President Bill Clinton presented her with  the National Endowment for the Arts’, Medal of Arts.  In 2004 she was honored at the Kennedy Center with the “Visionary Award” and in 2005, the Library of Congress honored her with it’s  ” Living Legend Award “.



Radio City Music Hall

In 2006, the Winnipeg Folk Festival honored Odetta with their  ” Lifetime Achievement Award ” and in February 2007, The International Folk Alliance awarded her as  ” Traditional Folk Artist of the Year “. On March 24, 2007 a tribute concert to Odetta was presented at the Rachel Schlesinger Theatre by the World Folk Music Association with live performances and video tributes from and including: Pete Seeger, Harry Belafonte, Janis Jan, Peter, Paul, and Mary, Tom Rush, Wavy Gravy, Robert Sims, and Side by Side.


In 2007, her album , “ Gonna Let it Shine “  was nominated for a Grammy.  On January 21, 2008, Odetta was the keynote speaker at the San Diego Martin Luther King,Jr. Commemoration, followed by performances in San Diego, Santa Monica, and Mill Valley.

          She was also honored on May 8, 2008 at a historic tribute night held at Banjo Jims in the East Village.  Odetta, at the age of 77 launched a North American tour where she sang from her wheelchair.  Her last big concert before thousands of people was in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park on October 4, 2008 and she last performed in Toronto on October 25, 2008.




In November 2008, Odetta’s health began to decline and she began receiving treatment at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York.  On December 2, 2008 she died from heart disease. Her memorial service was in February 2009 at Riverside Church in New York City.

          Who did Odetta influence and how did she do it.   Lets take a look at what a few people had to say…..  Harry Belafonte   ‘ cited her as a key influence ‘ on his musical career.  —–   Bob Dylan said  ‘The first thing that turned me on to folk singing was Odetta.  —–  Joan Baez said:   ‘Odetta was a goddess.  Her passion moved me. I learned everything she sang’.  —–   Janis  Joplin  spent much of her adolescence listening to Odetta , who was also the first person Janis imitated when she starting singing.  —– Poet Maya Angelou once said:  ‘ If only  one could be sure that every 50 years a voice and a soul like Odetta’s would come along,  the centuries would pass so quickly and painlessly we would hardly recognize time ‘. and Carly Simon talked about “going weak in the knees” when she had the opportunity to meet her.


Odetta at the jazz festival

Please go to  “The Final Curtain”  for more photos and information…..



                             WES  MONTGOMERY …..

                    aka: John Leslie Montgomery …..

     Born : March 6, 1923 —– Indianapolis, Indiana

     Died : June 15, 1968 —– Indianapolis, Indiana


Wes Montgomery  ( atgb )


          Wes was an American jazz guitarist  who is widely considered one of the major jazz guitarists emerging after such people as Django Reinhardt, and Charlie Christian and influencing  many others.

          Montgomery came from a musical family;  his brothers, Monk played the string bass and electric bass….. and Buddy played vibraphone and piano  were also jazz performers.  They did  record a number of albums together as the Montgomery  Brothers.

          Wes was not good at reading music, but he could learn complex melodies and riffs  (  short repeated phrase, frequently played over changing chords or used as a background to a solo improvisation )  by ear.   He did not know anything about the guitar until the age of 19; and he learned by listening to the recordings of his idol Charlie Christian.  Wes was known for his ability to play Christian’s solos, note for note and was hired by Lionel Hampton for this ability.



Wes Montgomery

Many other jazz guitarists consider Montgomery the greatest influence among modern jazz guitarists.

Pat Metheny

Pat Metheny has praised Wes greatly, saying  ” I learned to play the guitar listening to Wes Montgomery’s  ‘Smokin’ at the Half Note’ “

Joe Pass

Joe Pass said,  ” To me, there have been only three (3) real innovators on the guitar  — Wes Montgomery,  Charlie Christian,  and  Django Reinhardt. “


To many, Montgomery’s playing defines jazz guitar and the sound that learners try to imulate.  Montgomery was certainly one of the most influential and most musical guitarist to ever pick up the instrument….. he took the use of octaves and chord melodies to a greater level than any guitarist before or since….. Wes is undoubtedly one of the most  important voices in jazz guitar that has ever lived – or most likely ever will.  A discussion of jazz guitar is simply not thorough if it does not touch upon Wes Montgomery. ( Jazz Improv Magazine )



Wes Montgomery

Wes toured with Lionel Hampton early in his career, however the stress of touring and being away from his family brought him back home to Indianapolis.  To help support his family he worked in a factory from 7am to 3pm, and performed in local clubs from 9pm to 2 am.  As the story goes, Cannonball Adderley heard Wes on one of those nights, called Orrin Keepnews  who signed him to a recording contract with Riverside Records.  Wes recorded with his brothers and others  including the  ‘Wynton Kelly Trio ‘ which had backed up Miles Davis.

Wes Montgomery

Jazz purists relish Montgomery’s recordings up thru 1965, but some complained that he left hard-bop for pop jazz near the end of his career. He did gain a wider audience later in a period where he would turn out original material alongside jazzy orchestral arrangements of pop songs. This late period gave him great wealth and created a new audience to hear his earlier recordings.


Wes Montgomery

Wes didn’t live long enough to enjoy his success. On June 15, 1968, when he was home, he woke up in the morning and told his wife that he didn’t feel very well.  Minutes later he collapsed, dying of a heart attack.  His home town named a park in his honor.

          According to jazz guitarist Wolf Marshall, Montgomery would do solos in a three (3) – tiered manner.  He would begin in a repeating single note line, then he would play octaves for a few more, and finally finish up with block cords.  He knew little of scales or modes, or even musical theory but used mostly superimposed triads and arpeggios as the main source for his solos.  Instead of using a guitar pick he used the fleshy part of his thumb:  downstrokes for single notes and a combination of upstrokes and downstrokes for cords and octaves.


Wes Montgomery

     Listening to Wes Montgomery’s solos is like teetering at the edge…  ” his playing at it’s peak becomes unbearably exciting, to the point where one feels unable to have the endurance to outlast it. “


               Wes received many awards and accolades:  he was nominated for two (2) Grammy Awards for  ‘ Bumpin ‘  (1965 ) —–Received a Grammy Award for  ‘Goin’ Out of My Head ‘  ( 1966 ) —– nominated for Grammy Awards for  ‘ Eleanor Rigby ‘  and  ‘Down Here On The Ground ‘  ( 1968 ) —– nominated for a Grammy Award for  ‘ Willow, Weep for Me ‘  (1969) —–  plus other awards from Down Beat Magazine.

                     There was no other…….  WES  MONTGOMERY  




                         NELLIE  LUTCHER

     Born: October 15, 1912 —– Lake Charles, Louisiana

     Died: June 8, 2007 —– Los Angeles, California


Nellie Lutcher
(atgb )

Nellie was an African-American R&B and Jazz singer/pianist of the late 1940′s and early 1950′s who was most recognized for her diction and exaggerated pronunciation when singing. 

          Nellie was the eldest daughter of the 15 children of Isaac and Suzie Lutcher.  Her father was a bass player and her mother a church organist.  Nellie received piano lessons and her father formed a family band with Nellie on the piano.  At age 14 , Nellie joined Clarence Hart’s Imperial Jazz Band and in 1933 , she joined the Southern Rhythm Boys, writing their arrangements and touring.


Nellie Lutcher


          In 1935, Nellie moved to Los Angeles,  married Leonel Lewis, and had a son. She began to sing and play swing piano in small combos throughout the area and  started  to develope her own style, influenced by Earl Hines, Duke Ellington and her friend Nat  “King” Cole.  She was not widely known until 1947 when she performed at a March of Dimes talent show which was broadcast on radio.  She was signed by Capitol and made several  recordings.  In 1948 she had a string of more R & B hits.  Her songs were on the pop, jazz, and R&B charts; she toured widely and became well known.



Nellie Lutcher


          In 1950, Nellie duetted with Nat “King” Cole on  ‘For You My Love’ and  ‘Can I Come In for a Second‘.  In 1951, with an orchestra for the first time, she recorded; ‘ The Birth of the Blues ‘ and  ‘I Want to be Near You ‘.



Nellie Lutcher

By 1957 she had joined the board of the Los Angeles Musicians Union and continued to perform occasionally until the 1990′s with many successful engagements including the Cookery and Michael’s Pub in New York , the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel’s Cinegrill in Los Angeles and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. 

          She also starred in her own TV special on PBS and recorded a one-hour concert with Marian McPartland for the NPR series Piano Jazz.

           Nellie invested very successfully in property and managed her own apartment building in the Crenshaw area of Los Angeles.


Nellie Lutcher


          Nellie died from complications of old age.

******  Please see  ” The Final Curtain “  for more information…..





























ROCKY KING, Inside Detective


          ROSCOE  KARNS  as  Rocky  King


Inside Dectective

               Rocky King, Inside Dectective was an American TV series on the DuMont Television Network.  It aired on Sunday evenings from January 15, 1950 to December 26, 1954. The series was one of their most popular programs, and was a live crime series set in New York City.


                The DuMont offices and corridors were used as the sets. At the end of each program King would exchange telephone small talk with his unseen wife, Mable.  When he hung up he would say….. ” Great girl, that Mable “.





     Who were these men who backed up  ‘Clark Gable’  on the screen ???  Let’s takes a look……….


                    WILLIAM  COLLIER  SR.

                    aka: William Morenus

          Born: November 12, 1864 —– New York, City

          Died: January 13, 1944 —– Beverly Hills, California


William Collier Sr.






William Collier Sr.  was an American writer, director , and a stage and screen actor.  He ran away from home at age eleven (11), touring with Eddie Foy.  He worked with  George M. Cohan on  “HELLO  BROADWAY”  and  “COTTON TIME”.


William Collier Sr.

William Collier Sr.

Collier went to Hollywood with Mack Sennett /  Thomas Ince and the Triangle Film organization; then returned to Broadway, and back again to Hollywood when the talkies came into being.

‘Invitation to Happiness”
William Collier Sr.: Charlie Ruggles : Irene Dunne

Collier was married twice…..first to Louise Allen who died in 1909; then to Paula Marr.  Collier adopted her son Charles who was then renamed William Collier Jr.

William Collier, Sr.

Collier died in Los Angeles of pneumonia….




                ROSCOE  KARNS



Roscoe Karns

                    Born: September 7, 1891 —– San Bernardino, California

                    Died: February 6, 1970 —– Los Angeles, California


      Roscoe was an American actor who began his career at age 15 on the stage. His ability to parlay his voice in a machine -gun delivery and street wise demeanor was the type of character roles from the 1920′s to the 1960′s. 


Clark Gable, Roscoe Karns, Claudette Colbert


Roscoe’s peak period was in the 1930′s when he would often play a wisecracking cab driver or a brash reporter.  His part was usually that of a friend of the hero who helps find the bad guys and rescue the pretty girl.


New York Lights – 1929
Gilbert Roland, Norma Talmadge, Roscoe Karns


He appeared in nearly 150 films from 1915 to 1964.

     On the TV, he played the title role in the DuMont series;  ” ROCKY  KING, Inside Dectective ” from 1950 -1954.

Roscoe and Mary Karns

*****  See Rocky King, Inside Dectective…..


He died in Los Angeles, leaving his wife Mary ( 50 years ) and 2 children.

Roscoe Karns




                              ALLEN  JENKINS

                  aka:  David Allen  Curtis Jenkins

     Born: April 9, 1900 —– Staten Island, New York

     Died: July 20, 1974 —– Santa Monica, California


Allen Jenkins


Allen Jenkins was an American actor of stage, screen, and television.  Jenkins’ parents were both musical comedy performers.  Jenkins studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and in his first stage appearance he danced next to James Cagney in the off Broadway Musical  “ Pitter  Patter “.


Allen Jenkins

Allen appeared one thousand times in Broadway plays between 1923 and 1962, including  ” The Front Page ” (1928).  His break came when he replaced Spencer Tracy for three (3) weeks in the Broadway play  “The Last Mile”

He went to Hollywood with Darryl F. Zanuck and was signed first to Paramount, but shortly thereafter he found his place at Warner Bros. There he perfected his slow witted but good natured character.

Allen Jenkins and Pat O’Brien

Jenkins first role in films came in 1931, when he appeared as an ex-convict in  ” Straight and Narrow “.  With the advent of talking pictures, he made a career out of playing comic henchmen, stooges, policemen, taxi drivers and other types of   ‘tough guys ‘.

Allen Jenkins

Allen Jenkins was labeled the  ‘greatest scene-stealer’  of the 1930′s.

Allen Jenkins & Bogart

As for television, he made his mark there too….

Jenkins voiced the character of  ‘ Officer Dibble ‘ on the Hanna – Barbera cartoon,  “Top Cat” ( 1961-1962 ). ;  was a regular on  ” Hey Jeannie “  ( 1956 – 1957 ); and often portrayed  Muggsy on the   “Red Skelton Show”  (1950′s  -  1970′s). He was also a frequent guest star on other television programs such as:  ” The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” — ” I Love Lucy” —  ” Your Show of Shows”.


          Eleven (11) days before his death, he made his final appearance, at the end of Billy Wilder’s the 1974   “The Front Page”.

Allen Jenkins & Joan Crawford
” Jitterbug “

Jenkins died of lung cancer on July 20, 1974……….


               He went public with his alcoholism, and was the first actor to speak to the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate about it.  He helped start the first Alcoholics Anonymous in the California prisons for women.

               Jenkins, James Cagney, Pat O’Brien, and Frank McHugh were the original members of the  ” Irish Mafia ” and Jenkins was the seventh (7th) member of the Screen Actors Guild.



                              ROBERT  PAIGE

                           aka:  David Carlyle

                                         Robert  Paige…

          Born:  Decmber 2, 1911 —– Indianapolis Indiana

          Died: December 21, 1987 —– California

               Born John Arthur Page in Indianapolis, Indiana.  He began his screen career in 1934. His handsome features and wonderful speaking voice earned him many prominent roles in the motion picture industry. In 1938 he signed with Columbia, then moved to Paramount, and then found his home at Universal.  He became one of their most reliable stars, playing romantic leads.


Robert Paige & Ellen Drew

He worked in many comedies and musicals, including those of Abbott and Costello,Olsen and Johnson, Gloria Jean, and Hugh Herbert.  In 1943 Universal gave him important roles in it’s biggest productions.  During his life time he made 65 films and was the only actor ever allowed to sing on film with Deanna Durbin.  ( 1944′s  Can’t Help Singing ).  Paige left Universal after a corporate shakeup in 1946.



Robert Paige

Robert Paige was an independent film producer and host of  ‘ The Colgate Comedy Hour’.    In 1955 he won an Emmy for  “Best Male Personality”  and in the 1960′s he became a Los Angeles newscaster.

          From 1966 – 1970 he was a newscaster/political correspondent for ABC news in Los Angeles. He left the news desk to become Deputy Supervisor of Los Angeles under Baxter Ward,  then moved into public relations.  He retired in the late 1970′s.

Robert Paige

Paige died from an aortic aneurysm in 1987.



















Sorry we have not published for a few weeks.  Our main contributer has been seriously ill since mid-March.  We are in hopes of resuming  our exciting topics within the next couple of weeks.  Thank you for your support….ADMIN…

CAIN and MABLE ( Ladies first )



          Born: May 17, 1896 —– Trenton, New Jersey

          Died: November 17, 1982 —– New York City, New York






Ruth Donnelly (atgb)
Convention City

Ruth was an American stage and film actress who was a feisty, ebullient comedienne that enlivened Hollywood films with her droll and quick responses. She made her stage debut in 1913 and four (4) years later was on Broadway. Her Hollywood career actually began in 1931 and lasted until 1956 when she made the movie   ” Autumn Leaves “ with Joan Crawford.


Autumn Leaves
Joan Crawford & Ruth Donnelly

For most of the films she was in, Ruth played acid-tongued secretaries,

Blessed Event
Ruth Donnelly & Lee Tracy

wisecracking friends or shrewish wives

Ruth Donnelly
Cain and Mable

She played Mary Brian’s domineering mother in  ” Hard to Handle ” (1933)

Hard To Handle
Jimmy Cagney, Ruth Donnelly, Mary Brian


was excellent as Edward G. Robinson’s wife in  ” A Slight Case of Murder ” (1938)

A Slight Case of Murder
Ruth Donnelly & Edward G. Robinson

yet she was versatile enough for the dramatic roles, playing a worldly nun in  ” The Bells of St. Mary’s ” (1945)

The Bells of St. Mary’s
Ruth Donnelly, Ingrid Bergman, Bing Crosby


Except for a number of TV guest appearances, Ruth retired, living with her husband Basil de Guichard until his death.  She lived for the remainder of her life at the Wellington Hotel in Manhattan.



Ruth Donnelly

Ruth Donnelly

Check out some of the movies and see what it was that made Ruth popular.



                               PERT  KELTON

     Born: October 14, 1907 —– Great Falls, Montana

     Died: October 30, 1968 —– Ridgewood, New Jersey


Pert Kelton

     Pert, the Broadway actress, the vaudevillian, radio, movies, TV.  Between 1925 and 1968 she was all over the place.

     Pert was a young comedienne in A-list movies during the 1930′s.


Lighting Strikes Twice
Pert Kelton
Walter Catlett

She often played the leading lady’s wisecracking and equally attractive best friend. In 1933 she was a dance hall singer in  ” The Bowery “….

The Bowery
Pert Kelton


as the witty young prostitute in the 1933  “  Bed of Roses “

Pert Kelton

Then of course there was  ” Women of Glamour “…..

Women of Glamour
Pert Kelton & Virginia Bruce

In 1939, Pert made her last movie for a number of years due to blacklisting.

            For   ’baby boomers’, of a certain age they will remember Pert as the original ‘Alice’ in the Honeymooners with Jackie Gleason.  Her abrupt departure was due to blacklisting, but was explained as a heart ailment  .


The Original Honeymooners
Pert Kelton…Jackie Gleason
Art Carney … Joyce Randolph


She was the only person in the history of the Honeymooners to play both Alice  (1949) and her mother (1966).

       Another interesting TV appearance was the 1963   ” Twilight Zone “, playing the overbearing mother of Robert Duvall in the episode  ‘Miniature’.

Twilight Zone
Robert Duvall & Pert Kelton

Pert Kelton

On Broadway, she was nominated twice for a Tony;  (1960) Best Supporting Actress in a Musical for “Greenwillow” and (1967-68) Best Supporting Actress for Drama in  “Spofford”.  Her most memorable Broadway appearance was as Mrs. Paroo in the 1957 show  “The Music Man” which she reprised in the film in 1962.

  Pert was also part owner of the Warner Kelton Hotel, built in the late 1920′s in Los Angeles which catered to actors and musicians such as Cary Grant, Orry Kelly, and Rogers and Hart. It had a small outdoor theatre and a wishing well and for those in the want, a lovely speakeasy in the basement. The sign above the Hotel entrance read ” JOYOUSLY ENTER HERE “

Pert Kelton

  Our famous lady died of heart disease in 1968… and was cremated , with the ashes given to the next of kin.



     Please to remember our ladies with joy and happiness………….

























C A I N and M A B E L





Starring: Marion Davies —– Mabel O’Dare

Marion Davies

Starring: Clark Gable —– Larry Cain

Clark Gable

with a wonderful cast of notable actors and actresses:

Allen Jenkins – as – Dodo

Allen Jenkins

Roscoe Karns – as – Aloysius K. Reilly

Roscoe Karns (atgb)
Cain and Mable

Walter Catlett – as – Jake Sherman

Walter Catlett (atgb)
Cain and Mable

Robert Paige – as – Ronny Cauldwell

Robert Paige

Hobart Cavanaugh – as – Milo, the stage manager

Hobart Cavanaugh

Ruth Donnelly – as – Aunt Mimi

Ruth Donnelly

Pert Kelton – as – Toddy Williams

Pert Kelton

William Collier, Sr. – as – Pat ‘Pop’ Walters

William Collier, Sr.


Cain and Mable was a 1936 romantic comedy designed as a career booster for Marion Davies who had been a long time love of both audiences and of William Randolph Hearst, whose end of career was quickly approaching……  Hearst convinced  Warner Brothers to hire Clark Gable from MGM to co-star with her.  It is the story of a talented boxer and a gifted dancer who hope to increase their waning popularity by inventing a fictitious love affair for the benefit of the tabloids.

Clark Gable and Marion Davies


1936  Clark Gable and Marion Davies


Lest we forget….. this was a musical production….. the following is one of the favorite songs.



1936 Marion Davies on the set with director Lloyd Bacon and actor Roscoe Karns

The story had been filmed before by the William Randolph Hearst production company in 1924 then called ‘ The Great White Way ‘.

Cain and Mable was no masterpiece, but the film still had great charm.  The musical numbers were lavish and Davies’s flair for comedy is very apparent.

The film was released September 26, 1936 and ran a full 90 minutes. It was directed by Lloyd Bacon and the cinematographer was George Barnes




          ***** For more Information  go to   BEHIND the LENS

          ***** For more on our actors and actresses check out Reel People






CAIN and MABLE behind the lens


Director of Cain and Mable

Lloyd Bacon

Born: December 4, 1889 —– San Jose, California

Died: November 15, 1955 —– Burbank, California

Marion Davies & Lloyd Bacon ( director )


      There was more to Loyd Bacon than ‘Cain and Mable’.

          Lloyd Bacon was an American screen, stage, and vaudeville actor and film director. As a director he made films in all genres —– westerns, musicals, comedies, gangster films, crime dramas ….. and was one of the workhorses at Warner Bros. in the 1930′s who helped give the studio its reputation for gritty, fast-paced, action films. Very few of us remember his name; but I’m sure there are some of his movies we will not forget.


The Tramp

Moby Dick

42nd Street



Footlight Parade



Ever Since Eve

A Slight Case of Murder

Knute Rockne, All American


Wake Up and Dream

Although Lloyd never became known for a particular style, other than well placed close ups, his ability to bring in an entertaining film on time, and with in budget earned him enormous respect.  During his years at Warner Brothers he gained a reputation as a clothes horse.  The dapper director would arrive on the set dressed to kill wearing expensive hats that he would hurl about the room when expressing dissatisfaction. He continued to turn out profitable films for Warner’s until 1944 when he moved to 20th Century Fox. He stayed with Fox for 5 years, then moved around from one studio to another. He worked until his death in 1955 of a cerebral hemorrhage.  He was buried at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills.

          In his honor Lloyd Bacon received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.


Lloyd Bacon ( Director )
Hollywood Walk of Fame
7011 Hollywood Blvd.



          GEORGE  BARNES

     (cinematographer for Cain and Mable)

     Born: October16, 1892 —– Pasadena, California

     Died: May 30, 1953 —– Los Angeles, California


George Barnes  ( right )
George Pal ( left )

George S. Barnes was an American cinematographer from the era of silent films to the 1950′s. Over the course of his career he was nominated for an Academy Award eight ( 8 ) times; but only winning once. He had a well earned reputation for reliability and a knack for combining artistry with economic efficiency.  As a result he was never out of work. He was able to spend time at about every major studio in Hollywood.


George Barnes (cinematographer)

George Barnes (cinematographer)


George Barnes (cinematographer)


George Barnes (cinematographer)


The Greatest Show on Earth
George Barnes (cinematographer)
Golden Globe Award

So much more than we thought….  George Barnes did his best work in the 1940′s, which is when he won his Academy Award for “ REBECCA “.  and  in the 1950′s he won a Golden Globe for  ” THE GREATEST SHOW on EARTH “.

          Barnes was very popular with directors, producers, and the cast members; especially with the ladies. ( seven (7) marriages ).


George Barnes

Barnes died at the age of sixty (60) in Los Angeles after having worked on at least 142 films.












” Frank “ly “Ed”, I’m “Keenan” over “Wynn”ing…..


Frank Keenan —– Ed Wynn —– Keenan Wynn —–



Frank Keenan
father -in-law



Born: April 8, 1858 —– Dubuque, Iowa

Died: February 24, 1929 —– Hollywood, California


Frank Keenan was a stage and screen actor, and a stage director and manager during the silent film era. He was among the first of the stage actors to star in Hollywood and pursued work in films for a number of years.  In New York City he was a Broadway star and matinee idol, a celebrated Shakespearean actor ( King Lear ), and operated his own theatre, ( Berkeley Lyceum ) which brought him even more recognition as an actor and director.


Frank Keenan

          Frank made his screen debut in the 1915 film   ‘The Coward ‘.

Frank Keenan
The Coward

Frank Keenan
The Coward

His career lasted into his late sixties ( 60′s), during which time he was a leader in the Actors Equity Association.  His last stage appearance, at 68, was in  ‘ Black Velvet ‘.

Frank Keenan

He was married many years to Katherine Long with whom he had 2 daughters; Frances and Hilda. His Wife died in 1924….. he remarried again the same year to a young music teacher from Los Angeles, who he then divorced three (3) years later.  At age  70 he remarried for a third time to actress Leah May.  Keenan died of pneumonia in his Hollywood home, and is buried next to his wife at  Hollywood Forever Cemetery.


Frank Keenan residence

     Frank’s daughter married an actor named Ed Wynn ….. they in-turn had a son, Keenan Wynn.




Ed Wynn
son-in law

aka:  Isaiah  Edwin  Leopold

               Born: November 9, 1886 —– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

               Died: June 19, 1966 —– Beverly Hills, California

     Ed Wynn was a popular American comedian / actor remembered mostly for his  ” Perfect Fool “  comedy character, his radio show of the 1930′s, and his later career as a dramatic actor.  He began his career in vaudeville in 1903 and was a star of the Ziegfeld Follies beginning in 1914.  Wynn wrote, directed, and produced many Broadway shows in the following years and was known for his silly costumes, props, as well for the giggly voice he developed for the 1921 musical review, The Perfect Fool.


Ed Wynn
The Perfect Fool

  Ed Wynn was a Jewish – American comedian born of a father from Bohemia-Czechoslovakia and a mother of Romanian / Turkish ancestry. He ran away from home in his teens, working as a hat salesman or utility boy to get by. He eventually used his middle name ( Edwin ) and changed it to Ed Wynn to save his family embarrassment.  For most of the 1930′s Ed hosted a popular radio show; The Fire Chief  . Wynn, being a stage-trained performer insisted on playing for a live audience, doing each radio show as an actual stage show. He would wear colorful costumes with a red fireman’s hat and usually bounce his gags off his announcer / straight man, Graham McNamee. Although many gag writers provided material for the radio, T.V. , and films….Wynn was proud to boast that he had written every line he spoke during the early days of his career. Near the height of his career ( 1933 ) he founded his own short-lived radio network which nearly destroyed him.  According to radio historian Elizabeth McLeod, the failed venture left him deep in debt, divorced, and suffering a nervous breakdown.


Ed Wynn

Ed Wynn
Stage Door Canteen

               In the 1949-50 T.V. season, Ed Wynn hosted one of the first comedy-variety shows on CBS and won an Emmy Award.  It was the first CBS variety show to originate in Los Angeles. During the same time Wynn was also a rotating host of NBC’s  ‘Four Star Revue’.

Ed Wynn



After the end of Wynn’s third television series, his son, actor Keenan Wynn suggested he make a career change…… Ed began as a dramatic actor in television and films with the first being the 1956  Playhouse 90 broadcast of  ‘ Requiem for a Heavyweight ‘.  Ed was terrified of dramatic acting and kept goofing his lines in rehearsal; … but come the live broadcast night his performance was perfect!


Requiem fo a Heavyweight
Keenan Wynn, Jack Palance, Ed Wynn

In the same year   , Ed and Keenan also worked together in the film ‘The Great Man’ ,establishing Ed as a serious dramatic actor.

Ed Wynn &  Keenan Wynn
The Great Man

In 1959 Ed Wynn received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his role in  ” The Diary of Anne Frank “.


Ed Wynn
The Diary of Anne Frank

For the rest of Ed’s life he moved easily between comic and dramatic roles. He appeared in feature films and on television, endearing himself to a new generation of fans. 

          His performance in ‘ The Great Man ‘ earned him  a nomination for  ” Best Supporting Actor ” ( Golden Globe Award ) and a  ” Best Foreign Actor ” (BAFTA). Six years later he would appear in the epic motion picture  “ The Greatest Story Ever Told “.

Ed Wynn
The Greatest Story Ever Told

Ed Wynn
The Greatest Story Ever Told


Ed Wynn also lent his special talents to a number of Disney Productions encluding   ‘ Alice in Wonderland’ and ‘ Babes in Toyland ‘.


Ed Wynn
Babes In Toyland

His possibly best remembered film appearance was as Uncle Albert in the 1964 film  ‘ Mary Poppins ‘.   He floats —– He laughs —– He sings —–

Ed Wynn
Mary Poppins
I Love To Laugh


Ed Wynn in
Mary Poppins
‘ I Love to Laugh ‘

Ed Wynn was also popular at another Disney venue……….’ The Golden Horseshoe Review ‘…..



Loren Greene, Ed Wynn, Dan Blocker, Buster Keaton


We lost a special man in 1966 to throat cancer….. His gravestone reads  ” Dear God,  Thanks … Ed Wynn ” —–  Red skelton, who was discovered by Wynn, stated  ‘ His death is the first time he ever made anyone sad.’


Ed Wynn
Forest Lawn Memorial Park

Ed Wynn was honored with three (3) stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Ed Wynn
Hollywood Walk of Fame
6333 Hollywood Blvd.

Ed Wynn
Hollywood Walk of Fame
6426 Hollywood Blvd.

Ed Wynn
Hollywood Walk of Fame
1541 Vine Street





Keenan Wynn

                    KEENAN  WYNN

     aka: Francis Xavier Aloysius James Jeremiah Keenan Wynn


          Born: July 27, 1916 —– New York City, New York

          Died: October 14, 1986 —– Los Angeles, California

     Keenan Wynn was an American character actor; the son of vaudeville comedian Ed Wynn and his wife, Hilda Keenan, daughter of actor Frank Keenan.  Keenan, took the stage name after his mother’s father, one of the first Broadway actors to star in Hollywood.  Ed Wynn had encouraged his son to become an actor and they appeared in a number of productions together.

Keenan Wynn

Wynn appeared in hundreds of films and television shows between 1934 – 1986. ie; 1950 ( Annie Get Your Gun ) —–1953 ( Kiss Me Kate ) —– 1956 ( The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit ) —– 1961 ( The Absent-Minded Professor ) —– and  1964 ( Dr. Strangelove ).


Keenan Wynn

Keenan Wynn

Keenan Wynn
Dr. Strangelove

In the 1959 – 1960 television season, he co-starred  with Bob Mathias in NBC’s  ‘The Troubleshooters ‘ an adventure program about strange events surrounding an international construction company.  He also appeared on several television shows on ABC.

Keenan Wynn
The Trouble Shooters
T.V. 1959

In the 1965 comedy, ‘ The Great Race ‘,  he played the bald Hezakiah.

Keenan Wynn
The Great Race



Then there was some other Disney films;  1974 ( Herbie Rides Again ) —– and  1976 ( The Shaggy D.A. ).  There were musicals, comedies, and dramas ….. guest appearances on television.  In 1979 to 1981 Wynn joined the cast of …..


                         D A L L A S


Keenan Wynn
T.V. ” Dallas”
Digger Barnes

Who of us wouldn’t love to watch a family who ‘loved’ each other and money too.


         Keenan Wynn was married three (3) times.  He has a son, Ned Wynn who is an actor / writer —– another son, Tracy Wynn who is a screenwriter —– and his daughter, Hilda.


Keenan Wynn

In his later years he supported several charity groups and undertook a number of philanthropic endeavors. We lost Keenan to pancreatic cancer in 1986….. he rests now in Glendale’s Forest Lawn Memorial Park.

          Keenan Wynn was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.


Keenan Wynn
Hollywood Walk of Fame
1515 Vine Street


                            I think we finally did  ” Wynn ” …..












































Shubert Theatre Certificate

Music          Live Theatre          Film






Old New York Theatre District


Even before most of us were born, the beginning of  families of actors and actresses were present.  In our different sections we will talk about some of these people who were related and worked in and for both the stage and the movies.





     Born:           1816 —– Boston, Massachusettes

     Died: September 1, 1877 —– Canton, Pennsylvania

Edward Loomis Davenport
Stage actor

Edward was an American actor who made his first stage appearance in Providence, Rhode Island after which he made his way to England and worked his trade in the company owned by Anna Mowatt. While in England he met and married an actress from the Mowatt company by the name of Fanny Vining.

Fanny Vining Davenport

They returned together to the United States in 1854 and appeared in Shakespearian plays and Dickens dramatizations. They were blessed with 2 children, Fanny in 1850 and Harry in 1866.  Both children became actors.


Edward Loomis Davenport
” Much Ado About Nothing “

Edward Loomis Davenport as
Marcus Brutus in  Julius Caesar 1876


Edward Davenport died in 1877…..



                    FANNY  LILY  GIPSY  DAVENPORT

          Born: April 10, 1850 —– London, England

          Died: September 26, 1898 —– Duxbury, Massachusetts


Fanny Davenport

         Fanny Davenport   was an Anglo-American stage actress born in England; educated in Boston, Massachusetts. When she was seven (7)  years old she appeared at the Howard Athenaeum in Boston, but her real debut was February, 1862 in New York at age twelve (12) as the King of Spain in  “ Faint Heart Never Won Fair Lady “. In 1883 she acted, with great success in Sardou’s  “Fedora “  and other similar plays.

Fanny Davenport

She took over Sardou roles that had originated in Europe by Sarah Bernhardt.

Fanny  Davenport

Her last appearance was at the Chicago Grand Opera House on March 25, 1898 a few months before her death.   She died at her home in Duxbury, Massachusetts.

Fanny Davenport

Fanny Davenport Home in
Duxbury, Mass





                         Harry  Davenport

     Born: January 19, 1866 —– Canton, Pennsylvania

     Died: August 9, 1949 —– Los Angeles, California

Harry Davenport


Harry Davenport was an American stage and film actor who was descended from a long line of stage actors. He debuted on the stage at age five (5) and on film in 1914 at age 48. He appeared in over 100 films; with his twinkly eyes and grandfatherly types he represented a commanding, comforting wisdom whether playing drama or comedy.   His specialty was grandfathers, judges, doctors, and ministers.  He is probably best know for playing Dr. Meade in “  Gone With The Wind  “ in 1939.

Harry Davenport
Dr. Meade
Gone With the Wind



Harry Davenport
Hunchback of Notre Dame



He appeared in numerous Oscar-caliber films, ie; (1937) “The Life of Emile Zola” ….. (1938) ” You Can’t Take It With You ” ……( 1939 )  ” Gone With The Wind “…..  (1939)  ” The Hunchback of Notre Dame “


Harry Davenport / Bette Davis
All This and Heaven Too

Harry continued his film career up until his death in 1949.

In 1913, he co-founded, with actor Eddie Foy,  the Actor’s Equity Association  as a means to confront the exploitation of actors by theatre owners.  It was originally called  The White Rats.  Their actions caused the closure of all the theatres on Broadway except the theatres owned by the George M. Cohan Company.

Harry was married twice:  the first was to Alice Shepard Davenport, with whom he had his actress daughter Dorothy Davenport.  Soon after his divorce from Alice he married musical-comedy star Phyllis Rankin with whom he had three (3) more children;  Kate …..Edward …..and Fanny who all, also, went into the film business.    After his wife Phyllis died, he moved to California to live with his grown children.  He died of a heart attack and was buried in the Vallhalla cemetery in New York.





                               DOROTHY  DAVENPORT

     Born: March 13, 1895 —– Boston, Massachusetts

     Died: October 12, 1977 —– Los Angeles, California


Dorothy Davenport

          Dorothy Davenport was an American actress, screenwriter, film director, and producer.  She comes from a well known theatre family; her grandfather being Edward Loomis Davenport, her aunt Fanny Davenport was considered one of the great actresses of her time, and her father was a Broadway star and excellent film character actor.


Dorothy Davenport in Human Wreckage


With her stage background, she started in films in her early teen years.  By the time she was seventeen (17) she was a star at Universal. During her time at Universal she met a young actor/assistant director/gopher/scene writer by the name of Wallace Reid whom she married October 13,1913.

Dorothy Davenport &
Wallace Reid

They continued to work together, he directing and she starring in two (2) films per week for the next year.  Dorothy was a very good horsewoman and did many of her own stunts.  When Wallace Reid left Universal, Dorothy also left.


Wallace Reid, Dorothy Davenport
and their son and dog

After her husband, Wallace Reid died, she co-produced ” Human Wreckage “, a film about narcotic addiction.


Dorothy Davenport Reid in
Human Wreckage

Dorothy and Wallace had two (2)  children  ….. She never remarried  ….. Her remaining years were spent writing, directing, and producing.  She died at the Motion Picture Country House in Woodland Hills and is buried with her husband at Forest Lawn Memorial Park.


Dorothy Davenport




                         WILLIAM  WALLACE  HALLECK


Wallace   Reid

Wallace Reid

     Born: April 15, 1891 —– St. Louis, Missouri

          Died: January 18, 1923 —– Los Angeles, California

     William Wallace Halleck aka; Wallace Reid was an American actor of silent films referred to as ” the screen’s most perfect lover”. Wallace was born into a show business family, his mother was actress Bertha Westbrook and his father was James Halleck ( Hal Reid ) who worked in a variety of theatrical jobs.

          As a boy, Reid was performimg on stage, but acting was put on hold until he had finished his formal education.  As a gifted athlete he played in a number of sports while also having a great interest in music, ( learning to play the piano,banjo,drums, and violin ).  In his teen years he spent time in Wyoming where he also became an avid outdoorsman.


Wallace Reid

Reid was became interested in the new film industry by his father who acted, wrote and directed.  In 1910, Wallace appeared in his first film “ The Phoenix ” filmed at Selig Polyscope Studios in Chicago. He then took a script his father had written to Vitagraph Studios hoping to be given the chance to direct.  Instead, studio executives , capitalizing on his sex appeal  cast him in a major role, plus had him direct. Reid’s good looks and powerful body made him the perfect matinee idol.


          Reid was happy acting but equally satisfied with roles behind the scenes and often worked as a writer, cameraman, or director.  In 1913, while working at Universal Studio he met and married Dorothy Davenport.

          He was featured in the 1915 Birth of a Nation and the 1916 Intolerance.  He was paired with many of the leading ladies of the time ie; Gloria Swanson, Lillian Gish, and Geraldine Farrar as he made his way to becoming one of Hollywood’s major hearthrobs.


          Already having been in more than 100 motion picture shorts, Reid would star in another 60 + films for Lasky’s Famous Players film company.  His action hero roles brought both the young girls and their mothers to see his daredevil thrillers. One of his auto racing films,  ‘ Across the Continent ‘ (1922) was selected as the opening night film for San Francisco’s Castro Theatre which opened June 22, 1922.


Wallace Reid
Theodore Roberts

While on location in Oregon filming  ‘ The Valley of the Giants ‘, Reid was injured in a train wreck, and in order to be able to continue filming he was prescribed morphine for his pain.  He soon became addicted, but continued to work in films that were becoming more physically demanding and longer in duration.  When he stopped working, he entered a sanitarium and attempted to recover….it did not happen…..at the age of  31 he died.



Home of Wallace Reid

Wallace Reid home

          Wallace Reid was buried in the Holly Terrace portion of the Great Mausoleum at Forest Lawn Park Cemetery in Glendale California.


Wallace Reid
Hollywood Walk of Fame
6627 Hollywood Blvd.




                             Come join us again for more ‘relative’ information…..


































               LADIES OF THE FILM / STAGE …..1892  to  1984


Olive Borden


Born: July 14, 1906 —– Richmond, Virginia

Died: October 1, 1941 —– Los Angeles, California

Olive was an American actress in silents and early talkies who was nicknamed ;  ” The  Joy  Girl “.  She was known for her jet black hair and total beauty. She started her career as one of the Sennett Bathing Beauties in 1922.


Olive Borden

Soon she was appearing as a vamp in the Hal Roach comdey shorts and in 1925 became a WAMPAS Baby Star.


Olive Borden

Olive Borden
ca. 1925


Olive Borden

Olive Borden



Borden quickly became one of the most popular and highest paid stars.  When Fox cut her salary in 1927 she walked out on her contract.  Even though she was a major star, she found the transition to ’talkies’  difficult.  She worked hard to get rid of her accent, but could not get rid of the reputation of being difficult.

Olive Borden
film still

Olive cut her hair into a short bob and turned herself into a  ‘flapper’.  She made movies into the 1930s, but her career stalled.  Her last screen credit was in the 1934 film  ” Chloe, Love is Calling You “.  She moved to New York City where she had a brief stage career and then made a living on the vaudeville circuit.

Olive Borden

By the late 1930′s, Olive had filed bankruptcy and worked at Macy’s department store.

Olive had two (2) failed marriages….. had been involved with actor George O’Brien from 1926 to 1930 and had other affairs.  For most of her life, she lived with her mother, Sibbie.

Olive Borden

In 1942, Olive joined the WAC where she received an army citation for bravery in turning over an enemy ammunition truck.  She was hospitalized at the Walter Reed Medical Center with a severe foot injury which ended her time in the Army.  After her honorable discharge she attempted an unsuccessful comeback in film, but she was already struggling with alcoholism and many health problems.  She   spent her final years in the skid row area of Los Angeles scrubbing floors at the Sunshine Mission, a home for destitute women.  She died from a stomach ailment and pneumonia at age 41; her only possession being a signed photo of herself.


She is  buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale , California —– her mother’s grave is next to hers.  Olive Borden received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame; one of the first eight (8)  stars chosen in 1958.

Olive Borden
Hollywood Walk of Fame Star
6801 Hollywood Blvd.




Grace Darmond


                          GRACE  DARMOND

                                      aka;  Grace Glionna

     Born: November 20, 1893 —– Toronto, Ontario, Canada

     Died: October 8, 1963 —– Los Angeles, California



Grace Darmond
ca. 1920′s



               Grace was a Canadian-born American actress from the early 20th century who was active on screen between 1914 – 1927.  She starred in the first Technicolor film,  ‘ The Gulf Between  ‘ ( 1917 ) which was only in limited release and was a critical and commercial failure due to the early technicolor process which suffered from   ” fringing” and ” haloing”  of colors.


1917 Movie
The Gulf Between
surviving cell

1917 Movie cell
The Gulf Between
Grace Darmond


               Grace Darmond was pretty, slender and starred in many films, but never was able to break through as a leading lady in the big budget films.  Most of the time her starring roles were in the small budget / lesser known films or she played a supporting part for a big name star in the big budget ones.


Grace Darmond

Grace, according to research was married twice….. to her first husband for 9 months in 1926 and then to the second in 1928.  It is unknown how long that marriage lasted.   Although she was in a goodly number of films for over 13 years, she was best known in Hollywood’s inner circle as the lesbian lover of actress Jean Acker , who had been Rudolph Valentino’s first wife.

Jean Acker

It is not known for sure whether Grace was lesbian or bisexual as she had also been friends of powerful actress Alla Nazimova. who was an ex-lover of Acker. Darmond and Acker were reported to have been lovers for most of the 1920s.  Grace’s last notable film was the 1927 “  Wide Open “, but with the start of the talkies, Darmond was not able to make the transition successfully and like so many others of the silent screen era, ended her acting career.

Grace Darmond

It is not known for sure, but for the most part Grace disappeared from the public eye until her death in Los Angeles in 1963.





Marguerite De La Motte


                          MARGUERITE   DE LA  MOTTE

     Born: June 22, 1902 —– Duluth, Minnesota

     Died: March 10, 1950 —– San Francisco, California


          Marguerite De La Motte was an American film actress from the silent screen who began her entertainment career studying ballet. In 1919 she became the dance star of Sid Grauman at his theatre. The year before, at age sixteen (16), she made her screen debut in the Douglas Fairbank’s Sr. directed film  ‘ Arizona ‘. The same year both of her parents died in an automobile accident.  Film producer, J.L. Frothingham became the guardian of both Marguerite and her younger sister.

          De La Motte spent the 1920′s appearing in numerous films, often cast by Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. to play opposite him in his swashbuckling adventure films ie;  ‘ The Mark of Zorro ‘ and  ‘The Three Musketeers ‘.  During this time she developed a close friendship with both Douglas Fairbanks and his wife Mary Pickford.



Marguerite De La Motte in
The Three Musketeers ( 1920 )

Marguerite De La Motte and
Rod La Rocque in
Red Dice (1926 )

Marguerite De La Motte and
Alan Hale Sr. in
Flattery (1925 )

Marguerite De la Motte


Marguerite’s acting career slowed at the end of the silent era and although she did continue acting into the talkies, most were bit parts.  She made her final film appearance in the 1942 film  ‘ Overland Mail ‘ opposite Noah Beery, Sr. —  Noah Beery, Jr. — and Lon Chaney, Jr.

          Marguerite was married twice….. first to silent film, matinee idol of the silver screen,  JOHN  BOWERS  in 1924.

Marguerite De La Motte &
on the left, her husband
actor, John Bowers

John Bowers

JOHN  BOWERS    aka:  John E. Bowersox

        Born: December 25, 1885 —– Garrett, Indiana

        Died: November 17, 1936 —– Santa Monica, California

               John Bowers began his  film career in 1914 and within 5 years became one of the most popular leading men.  Like many of the silent film stars, Bowers ‘s career collapsed with the advent of talkies.

               In 1936, Bowers heard that an old friend was directing a movie off Santa Catalina so he rented a sloop and sailed out to the island, hoping to secure a part.  He learned the part had already been cast and unfortunately he never returned the sloop to shore.  A few days later, his body was found on the beach in Santa Monica


John Bowers
Hollywood Walk of Fame
1701 Vine Street

For his contribution to the motion picture industry, John received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

          John’s life and death was part of  the inspiration for the character Norman Maine in the 1937 movie   ‘A Star is Born ‘.  Errol Flynn and Norman Kerry were also part of the character’s make up.


          After De La Motte’s film career ended she worked as an inspector at a California war plant during World War II.  Later she worked in San Francisco at the Red Cross office.


Marguerite De La Motte

Marguerite died of cerebral thrombosis just three (3) months before her 48th birthday.   For her contribution as an actress she was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Marguerite De La Motte
Hollywood Walk of Fame Star
6902 Hollywood Blvd.





Edith Storey

                    EDITH  STOREY

          Born: March 18, 1892 —– New York City, New York

          Died: October 9, 1967 —– Northport, New York


               Edith Storey was an American born actress of the silent film era who was an unusual combination of an intelligent actress and an outdoor athlete.   She started when she was a teenager and retired at the ripe old age of 29. She began acting as a child….. her film career began in 1908 with the movie;  ‘The Two Brothers ‘.


Edith Storey

Edith had a total of seventy five ( 75 ) films under her belt by 1913, many of which were Westerns, as she reportedly was an excellent horseback rider and performed her own stunts.


Edith Storey

Edith Storey



Edith worked for Vitagraph Studio for most of her career, but also spent a year under contract to Star Film Company in Texas. In total she appeared in nearly 150 films between 1908 to 1921.

Edith Storey and Antonio Moreno


Edith was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Edith Storey
Hollywood Walk of Fame Star
1523 Vine Street





Ruth Taylor


               RUTH     TAYLOR

     Born: January 13, 1905 —– Grand Rapids, Michigan

     Died: April 12, 1984 —– Palm Springs, California

          Ruth was an American actress of the silent films and early talkies.  She enjoyed amateur dramatics as a youth and as a teenager talked her mother into taking her to Hollywood.  In 1920 she played opposite Babe Ruth in his biopic   “  Heading Home “.


Ruth Taylor

                  Ruth was chosen, out of 200 girls by Mack Sennett in 1925 when he was looking for a blonde to play in a Harry Langdon comedy.  She was also selected as one of the WAMPAS Baby Stars in 1928.

               In 1927, Ruth was cast as Lorelei Lee in the silent movie  ” Gentlemen Prefer Blondes “.  The movie co-starred Alice White and Sterling Ford.


Ruth Taylor

           Her final screen roles were in the 1929 movies ‘ A Hint to Brides ‘ ….. ‘ The College Coquette ‘….. and  ‘ This Thing Called Love ‘ ….. plus the 1930 ‘ Scrappily Married’.

Ruth Taylor

              Ruth died in Palm Springs, California at age 79.


Ruth Taylor



               Join us again for another trip down Memory Lane…………..






























     What have they said in the past ?   LOVE  makes the world go ’round…..

          Saint Valentine’s Day, commonly known as Valentine’s Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine is observed on February 14 each year.  It is celebrated in many countries around the world and is the 2nd most celebrated world holiday only New Year’s Day ranks first.

          Bishop Demetri of the Orthodox Research Institute stated that  ” Saint Valentine was a priest near Rome in about 270 A.D., a time when the church was under great persecution.  His ministry was to assist the Christians in escaping this persecution and to provide them with the sacraments”.

          The real truth behind  ” Valentines”  is a bit on the murky side, but all stories / legends emphasize his appeal as sympathetic, heroic, and most importantly romantic.

          During the middle ages, it was commonly believed in France and England that the birds began mating on February 14th;     so why not have that day be the day of romance for all.  

          Valentine’s greetings were popular as far back as the Middle Ages, but the written ones didn’t start to appear until after 1400.


Valentines Poatcard
ca. 1909  (atgb)






          By the 15th century, Valentine’s Day had become an occasion in which lovers expressed their feelings for each other by the giving of flowers, offering confectionery, and or sending cards.

          Americans probably began exchanging hand-made Valentines in the early 1700′s, but the first mass produced cards came in the 1840′s.



Valentines Postcard
ca. 1909  (atgb)



Valentines day symbols now are hearts, Doves, and the figure of the winged cupid…..

My Little Cupid of Red


Since the 19th century, handwritten valentines have given way to the  ‘mass- produced greeting cards’.   The fancy Valentines were made with real lace and ribbon with paper lace introduced in the mid- 19th century.  Around the world, billions of dollars are spent yearly on cards , flowers, chocolates , and other gifts.     All in the name of LOVE…..




Valentines Card
1980  (atgb)

Valentines card
1980 (atgb)




These cards are not as old as the ones in the beginning, but they do have a personal story.     In 1935 the couple in question above were married….. their “song” was ‘ Let Me Call You Sweetheart’…..little did they know that 1980 would be their last Valentine’s Day together.  Three (3) days later,  on their 45 th  Wedding Anniversary, the husband passed away.  The lady in question was never the same….. he was her life and she was his.   May we all be blessed with  this kind of love everyday , not just on Valentine’s Day.


Will You Be Mine ?










Boston Blackie and the Runt



                        BOSTON  BLACKIE


          Chester  Morris  (aka)  John Chester Brooks Morris

Born: February 16, 1901 —– New York City, New York

Died: September 11, 1970 —– New Hope, Pennsylvania



Chester Morris 1932




Chester Morris was the son of Broadway stage actor William Morris and performer Etta Hawkins who made his Broadway debut at age 17 in Lionel Barrymore’s  ” The Copperhead “.  At that point he billed himself as;  ‘ the youngest leading man in the country ‘.  His film career began with the 1917  ‘An Amateur Orphan’.



Chester Morris

Morris was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor for the 1929 film ” Alibi “, plus starred in the 1930   ‘ The Bat Whispers ‘ and 1931  ‘Corsair’.   He also starred in the early prison film, 1930′s  ‘ The Big House ‘  with  Wallace Beery.

The Big House
1930  with
Chester Morris, Wallace Beery and Robert Montgomery




          Morris’s career gradually declined in the late 1930′s; but was revived from 1941 – 1949 with the character of Boston Blackie.


Chester Morris

Chester Morris was also a well known stage magician and often performed magic during his personal appearance tours.  During World War II he performed hundreds of free magic shows for the U.S.O. at Army and Navy camps.  In 1944, a B-17   “  Flying Fortress ” was christened ‘ The Chester and Lili Morris ‘ in honor of him and his wife for their contributions to the United States war effort.   Morris was also known to use magic tricks in his film performances ie; ‘ Boston Blackie and the Law ‘ (1946).

Chester Morris ca.1960′s

In the 1950′s and 1960′s, Morris worked mainly in TV as detective Lieutenant Max Ritter in the CBS series  ” Diagnosis: Unknown “.  After his final Boston Blackie film, he was only in three (3) more films, including his final role in the 1970  ” The Great White Hope”, which was released after his death.

          Chester Morris was dying of cancer when he committed suicide by taking an overdose of barbiturates  at the former Holiday Inn in New Hope, Pennsylvania.




                                                 THE ” RUNT “


                   George E. Stone  (aka)  Gerschon  Lichtenstein

     Born: May 18, 1903 —– Lodz, Congress Poland

     Died: May 26, 1967 —– Los Angeles, California



George E. Stone


          George Stone was a Polish-born American character actor of radio, TV, and movies.  His slight build, expressive face and pleasant slightly nasal tenor voice made his transition to talking pictures very successful.  He was typecast in streetwise roles, often playing a Runyonesque mobster or gangland assistant. He was a delight to many movie goers for decades with that dapper pencil thin moustache. His characters often possessed a  ‘ yellow ‘ streak and many times he ended up in the morgue before the end of the film.


George E. Stone as
condemned killer Earl Williams
in the 1931 film ” The Front Page “

     In 1939, producer Hal Roach hired Stone for the film  “  The Housekeeper’s Daughter ” . It was a difficult role as he was to play a mentally retarded murderer in a sweet, sympathetic manner.

     Stone’s most familiar role was ” The Runt ” in the “Boston Blackie ” adventure, action comedies. These performances were well received and he played scenes for laughs ( doing dialects, being disguised in women’s clothes, posing as a child, or reacting in wide-eyed amazement or frustration as the story’s plot did twists and turns ).


George Stone in
Boston Blackie

Stone did many guest appearances in the 1950′s on comedies ( Burns and Allen ) and adventures ( Adventures of Superman ). When it came to playing tough guys, Stone could be just as convincing as the biggest, brawniest men  In the 1954 film   ” The Man With the Golden Arm “, Stone plays the vindictive mobster who attacks the dealer, Frank Sinatra in a brutal fist fight.

          Stone’s vision was deteriorating in the late 1950′s and was limiting him to walk-on roles or undemanding parts. In the 1959 comedy “ Some Like it Hot ” he plays the nervous stool pigeon,  ‘ Toothpick Charlie ‘.


George E. Stone as
Toothpick Charlie in
1959 ” Some Like It Hot “


One of Stone’s closest friends was reporter-humorist Damon Runyon who used Stone in movie adaptations of his work;   His last film the 1961 ” Pocketful of Miracles “, Stone was cast as a blind beggar.

          For his contribution to motion pictures, Stone received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

George E. Stone
6932 Hollywood, Blvd.
























BOSTON BLACKIE — Radio — T.V. — Film –





Boston Blackie is / was a fictional character created by author Jack Boyle. Originally on the wrong side of the law as a jewel thief and safecracker, he became a detective for films, radio, and television.

          The earliest films were silent, from 1918 – 1927. Columbia Pictures restarted them  in 1941 with “ Meet Boston Blackie “. It was a 58 minute ‘B’ feature starring Chester Morris.


Chester Morris
as Boston Blackie
Boston Blackie




The film was successful, and was followed by a series.  Morris gave  the ‘Blackie’ character his own personal charm:  he could be light and flippant or stern and dangerous.  His sidekick, ‘The Runt’ was always on hand to be of help.  For most of the series George E. Stone played  ‘Runt’.


George E. Stone
as Runt



As was mentioned earlier, Blackie is a reformed jewel thief who is always suspected when there is a robbery.  In order to clear himself, he investigates the crime and personally brings the bad guy to justice.  There is an undercurrent of comedy that runs throughout the series.

          What follows is one of the films with both Morris and Stone…..Confessions of Boston Blackie  (1941 )…..



Blackie, of course had what was termed, friendly adversaries….Inspector Farraday and his assistant Sgt. Matthews…….also a group of friends; cheerful but flustered millionaire Arthur Manleder…..streetwise pawnbroker Jumbo Madigan…..and of course the ever present gal Friday characters.


Boston Blackie
Chester Morris & George Stone

Boston Blackie Goes Hollywood
Chester Morris & George Stone

Boston Blackie Goes Hollywood
Chester Morris, George Stone, etc

Chester Morris as
Boston Blackie in
The Phantom Thief 1946


          On the radio, Boston Blackie ran from 1944 – 1950  with both Chester Morris and / or Richard Kollmar playing Blackie. Over 200 episodes of this series was produced.


Richard Kollmar
radio’s Boston Blackie


          On TV, Kent Taylor starred in the 30  minute series ‘ The Adventures of Boston Blackie’ which ran for 58 episodes.


Kent Taylor as TV’s
Boston Blackie




There was another ‘great’ actor who brought Boston Blackie to life…..

          This actor did the gig with Warner Brothers Pictures in 1957




Daffy Duck as
Boston Quackie


‘ Quackie ‘  is an American agent spending time in Paris with his girlfriend Mary.


Boston Quackie and
his girl

His boss follows him to Paris with an assignment…… a briefcase that must be delivered to the American consulate…..

Daffy with Porky Pig
who plays ‘Quackie’s’ boss

The case, of course is stolen….with help from his friends ‘Quackie’  eventually  gets the briefcase to the consulate


Boston Quackie
on the case

What was in the briefcase was a huge suprise…..   The bottle in the case says; add water, shake, and pour.   When the consulate follows the directions out pops a beautiful woman in an evening dress….. ( the consulate needed a date for the embassy ball;  the label on the bottle read   ” Acme House Instant Girl ” ).



More information on our two (2) main actors can be found under Reel People…















Long ago and far away, in a time that we of today have nearly forgotten, there were many men who were actors / directors  in the land of make-believe ….. either on the stage, or in early films.     We will look at these men;       maybe some of them were the “ Brad Pitt “  or the  ” George Clooney “ of their era.  They worked with others named:  Pickford, Fairbanks, Barrymore, and Chaney.  Each have their own story to tell….



Snitz Edwards
character actor

Born: January 1, 1868 —– Budapest, Hungary

Died: May 1, 1937 —– Los Angeles, California

Born Edward Neumann, of Jewish heritage in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, now known as Budapest, Edwards emigrated to the United States where he became a successful Broadway stage actor of the early twentieth century.  Edwards easily transitioned into a notable character actor in the early years of silent films and on into the 1930′s. He has an expressive and homely face and was considered by many directorsto be well-suited to light, comedy roles and played the comic foil opposite the starring actors. His features made Edwards a household name during the 1920′s.  At his peak in the late 1910′s and early 1920′s , he appeared with many famous actors. In 1925 he appeared as Florine Papillon in the box-office hit, ” The Phantom of the Opera “, opposite Lon Chaney, Sr. and co-starred with Douglas Fairbanks in  “The Thief of Bagdad “.




Snitz Edwards


Snitz married actress Eleanor Taylor and had three (3) daughters.  He was very popular in Hollywood where he and his wife hosted numerous  ‘ lively ‘ parties and were often guests of Marion Davies at San Simeon Castle.

Snitz was personally chosen by actor / director Buster Keaton to act in three (3) of his films:  1925′s —– Seven Chances ;     1926′s —– Battling Butler ;     1927′s —– College .




In the early 1930′s and the beginning of  ‘ talkies ‘,  Edwards was in his sixties (60′s)  and suffering from crippling arthritis.  He remained active through his final role in the 1931 crime drama  The Public Enemy ,  opposite  Jean Harlow, James Cagney, and Joan Blondell.

Snitz Edwards died of natural causes in 1937….. Eleanor died in 1968




Holbrook Blinn

Born: January 23, 1872 —– San Francisco, California

Died: June 24, 1928 —– Croton-on-Hudson, New York

Holbrook Blinn was born the son of a Civil War Veteran and began appearing on the legitimate stage as a child.  As he grew older he appeared in numerous silent films. He was also the director of many popular one (1) act plays at the Princess Theater in New York, City.

Princess Theatre, NYC 

Holbrook Blinn
in The Duchess of Dantzic
Napoleon 1903

Holbrook Blinn as
Chief Rain-In-The-Face
in the play ” The Great Silence “
( Sunset Magazine November 1905 – April 1906



A number of his silent film accomplishments include:  1916 —– McTeague,  1923 —– The Bad Man,  1924 —– Yolanda, and Janice Meredith, both of which starred Marion Davies.


Holbrook Blinn
in The Bad Man


Blinn died at an early age due to complications from a fall off his horse near  ‘ Journey’s End ‘, his Croton-on-Hudson home and is buried in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Sleepy Hollow, New York.




Ben F. Wilson


Born: June 7, 1876 —– Corning, New York

Died: August 25, 1930 —– Glendale, California

Ben Wilson was a prolific American film actor, director, producer, and screenwriter of the silent screen era. He got his start, as most actors of the era , as a member of an East Coast theatrical stock company.  His first movie was  Thomas Edison’s 1911 film  ” Silver Threads Among the Gold ” which is among the first silent films about a song in which the theater would hire live musicians to accompany the film.

Ben F. Wilson


Ben appeared in 168 films, 88 of which he also directed —– directed a total of 123 movies —– produced 69 films —– and wrote 11 screenplays.  By 1916, he was popular enough to be  featured on trading cards from Piedmont cigarettes and in 1917 received the same honor by Egyptian Oasis .  He served on the board of directors of the  ‘ Motion Picture Directors’ Association of America an organization created in 1915 to promote the interests of movie directors.  He wrote, produced, and directed silent films into 1930 for Morris R. Schlank Productions.

Ben made the transition to sound movies as an actor only:  his last acting  was in the ” Buck Jones ” 1930 film, ‘ Shadow Ranch ‘ for Columbia Pictures.  It was his only sound pictures as his career was cut short by ill health.

Ben F. Wilson
silent screen cowboy


Ben F. Wilson died from complications of heart disease in 1930 ….. He was 54….




Earle Williams

Born: February 28, 1880 —– Sacramento, California

Died: April 25, 1927 —– Hollywood, California

Earle Williams was a silent film star who was regarded as a film pioneer and one of the world’s most handsome stars.  He began acting on the stage in San Francisco at age  twenty (20) and started films in 1908, at the age of (28). He was Vitagraph studio’s  leading man of the 1910′s and 1920′s.

Earle Williams

Earle Williams

His most popular film was Vitagraph’s  action  melodrama  .’The Juggernaut ‘ in which a real train was wrecked.



His most frequent leading lady was Anita Stewart who was also teamed with Earle in the popular serial  The Goddess.  Earle continued his popularity streak into the 1920′s playing stalwart military heroes.

Earle Williams
infront of
Cooper-Hewitt lights

Earle Williams died of bronchial pneumonia  just weeks after completing his  final film.  Among honorary pallbearers were Irving Thalberg and Louis B. Mayer.

Earle Williams
star on Hollywood walk of Fame
at 1781 Vine Street




John G. Adolfi


Born: February 19, 1888 —– New York City, New York

Died: May 11, 1933 —– British Columbia, Canada

John was an American silent film actor, director, and screenwriter who, during his short career was involved in over 100 productions.  He began as an actor in the 1907   ‘The Spy: A Romantic Story of the Civil War ‘.  After about thirty films, he concentrated on directing, especially George Arliss in several films, including  ” The Millionaire  “  1931.

Unfortunately his life and career was cut short due to a brain hemmorrhage while in British Columbia, Canada hunting bears.




Ivor Novello  aka:  David  Ivor  Davies


Born: January 15, 1893 —– Cardiff, Wales

Died: March 6, 1951 —– London, England

David Ivor Davies, born into a musical family whose father was a rent collector and mother an internationally-known singing teacher and choral conductor.


Clara Novello Davies
mother of
Ivor Novello

Born: April 7, 1861 —–

Died: February 7, 1943 —–

As a child, Clara’s father , a leader of a church choir, taught her to play the harmonium.  In 1883 she founded the Welsh Ladies Choir which won prizes at the World’s  Columbian Exposition in Chicago (1893) and the Paris exposition (1899).  She was in her 70′s and still conducting when her New York-based Novello Davies Artist Choir was invited to the 1937 Paris Exposition.


Clara Novello Davies…
David Davies…
Ivor Novello

Ivor Novello and
his mother
Clara Novello Davies


Ivor Novello was a Welsh born singer, actor, composer and one of the most popular British entertainers during the first half of the 20th century.  As a boy he was a successful singer and prolonged youthful exposure to sacred choral music had turned his taste, in reaction, to lush romantic music.

Ivor Novello
A Belief in Love


His first big hit was the enormously popular World War I song:  “Keep The Home Fires Burning”.


After the war he wrote several musical comedies and eventually scores for complete shows.  In the 1920′s he tried acting in films and then the stage with success in both areas.  In 1913, he moved to London and took a flat above the Strand Theatre, which became his London home for the rest of his life.

In 1914, he reported to the Royal Naval Air Force. After twice crashing an aeroplane, he was moved to the Air Ministry in London performing clerical duties. In 1917, he was introduced to actor Bobbie Andrews who became his life partner. In turn, he was then introduced to a young ( 6 years his junior ) Noel Coward who was envious of Novello’s effortless glamor.

Ivor Novello

Coward wrote;  ” I just felt suddenly conscious of the long way I had to go before I could break into the magic atmosphere in which he moved and breathed with such nonchalance”.

After the war Novello continued to write sucessfully for musical comedy and revue. He also was making a career as an actor, with his classic profile gaining him matinee idol status.

Ivor Novello
Screen Idol

Ivor Novello ( postcard )


Novello made his stage debut in 1921 and about the same time had a short lived affair with writer Siegfried Sassoon. In the words of Sassoon’s biographer, Novello    ‘ was a consummate flirt who collected lovers as he gathered lilacs’.


Ivor Novello

Ivor Novello


In 1923 Ivor made his American debut in D.W. Griffith’s ‘ The White Rose ‘ . He went on to star in other films ie:

Ivor Novello
in The Rat



and the 1926 Alfred Hitchcock thriller  ” The Lodger



Ivor Novello
in The Lodger

The British film company Gainsborough Pictures offered him  a well-paid contract, which enabled him to buy a country home in Littlewick Green, near Maidenhead which he named  Redroofs. Ivor intertained there famously in excess, and coined the phrase ” the Ivor / Noel naughty set ”

In 1929, Novello returned to composing for the lyric stage. In 1935 there was  ‘Glamorous Night’  which was the first in a series of popular musicals.





followed by Careless  Rapture…..


Novello’s music dominated the British musical theatre from the mid 1930′s to the early 1950′s.  His shows were influenced by the operettas he had grown up with.  Blending musicals with opera, operetta and both modern  and classical dance they were considered something of an anachronism  in their time, but that was part of the appeal.

Ivor Novello


Novello’s last full-scale production was the 1949 ‘ King’s  Rhapsody ‘ which was a ” selfconscious romantic counter-blast to the modern musical;  crown princes, ballrooms, royal yachts, beautiful princesses, and a full-scale coronation “.




Ivor Novello died suddenly from a coronary thrombosis a few hours after completing a performance of  ‘ King’s Rhapsody ‘.  He was cremated and his ashes were buried beneath a lilac bush . Only a few weeks before Novello’s death, Noel Coward wrote:  ” Theatre— good, bad, and indifferent — is the love of his life.  For him, other human endeavors are mere shadows ………. The reward of his work lies in the indisputable fact that whenever and wherever he appears the vast majority of the British public flock to see him.”

Grove’s Dictionary of Music and Musicians writes;  ” until the advent of Andrew Lloyd Webber, the 20th-century’s most consistently successful composer of British musicals was Ivor Novello”.

Ivor Novello
and His Music


The Ivor Novello Award for songwriting, established in 1955, is awarded each year by ( BASCA ) to British songwriters and composers as well as to an outstanding international music writer.

In 2005, the Strand Theatre, above which Novello lived for many years, was renamed the Novello Theatre.

The Strand Theatre in London now the Novello Theatre


TRIVIA:  Novello was portrayed in the Robert Altman 2001 film, ‘ Gosford Park ‘, by Jeremy Northam.  Several of his songs were used for the film’s soundtrack.


     Thank you for joining us on this adventure from our  past…………………….