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Archive for the ‘Classic movies’ Category

Happy Birthday, Chester Morris!

Chester Morris starred in several Boston Blackie movies during the 1940s (Alias Boston Blackie, Boston Blackie and the Law, etc.). In a number of these films, Morris allowed his character Horatio “Boston Blackie” Black to be quite a skilled practitioner of prestidigitation.  (That’s a fancy way of saying “magician.”)  Chet had a lifelong love for magic, and he would […]

Happy Birthday, Ronald Colman!

In February of 2012, an auction by Nate D. Sanders Memorabilia successfully sold fifteen Academy Awards Oscars for a total of slightly over $3 million (a record-breaking amount at that time).  The top ticket item was Herman Mankiewicz’s 1941 screenplay statuette for Citizen Kane, which went for $588,455.  But I’m willing to bet that there were […]

Happy Birthday, Conrad Binyon!

“Why are you so extra nice to me?” asked sixteen-year-old Conrad Binyon of his mother in 1947.  Ma Binyon wouldn’t admit it…but she was still trembling from her son’s recent experience involving a crash landing with a friend on an aviation trip to Arizona.  Binyon—born Conrad Ambress Binyon on this date in 1931—had just become […]

Happy Birthday, Lionel Stander!

Lionel Stander, the character actor best remembered by fans as chief-cook-and-bottle-washer Max on the TV detective drama Hart to Hart, also had a lengthy radio career—notably playing “stooge” to Fred Allen on The Hour of Smiles and Town Hall Tonight in the 1930s.  Stander—born in The Bronx on this date in 1908—used his trademark gravelly voice and skill with dialects […]

“…the stars’ own theatre…”

The glamour of the motion picture industry often disguised an uncomfortable truth—that it was an enterprise that rarely had any further use for those movie colony individuals who had fallen on hard times.  To lend a helping hand to their former colleagues, luminaries like Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, and D.W. Griffith banded together in 1921 to create the Motion Picture Relief […]

The Robin Hood of Modern Crime

His creator described him as “a buccaneer in the suits of Savile Row, amused, cool, debonair, with hell-for-leather blue eyes and a saintly smile.”  That creator was author Leslie Charteris, and the “buccaneer” in question was Simon Templar—a roguish ex-thief who had gone straight and now made it his mission to relieve the “ungodly” (those […]

Happy Birthday, Humphrey Bogart!

“The young man who embodies the sprig is what is usually and mercifully described as inadequate,” noted legendary critic Alexander Woollcott of an actor’s second appearance on Broadway in 1922 in a play entitled Swifty.  Woollcott (who would eventually go on to radio fame as The Town Crier over CBS Radio in the 1930s) had a reputation for […]

Happy Birthday, Jane Morgan!

She possessed one of the most distinctive voices heard over the radio airwaves—but you might be surprised to learn that the woman born Jennie Morgan on this date in 1880 had a rather highbrow show business career during her early years of performing.  Jane Morgan made her name as a violinist and classical singer on stage and […]