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Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Premieres and Premiere Parties

Just came across some neat images with various stars attending premieres and the parties afterward. Douglas Fairbanks Senior and Junior arrive together in what looks to be a mid-thirties shot, but I have no idea what the movie may have been. The Prisoner Of Zenda maybe? Senior observed that Junior’s role in that one (as Rupert Of Hentzau) was absolutely foolproof and would have made a star out of anybody. As it is, Rupert was one of the few murderers to go free at the end of a Code movie. A sequel had been contemplated and the idea was that he’d be punished in the follow-up. Mr. and Mrs. Spencer Tracy are checking their ducats here. I saw a recent picture of Tracy’s son (at an autograph show, I believe) and he was an absolute dead ringer for Spence. Norma Shearer and George Raft were an item when this pic was taken with Hedy Lamarr. As I understand it, Norma and George finally split because George’s wife wouldn’t give him a divorce. Party time sees Hedy with dashing Basil Rathbone and a dancing couple I’m not certain about. Anyone want to hazard a guess as to who they are? Tyrone Power and Annabella are greeted by someone at their table, but again, I’m not sure who that someone is. I do know that’s Priscilla Lane talking with Ronald Reagan. As I recall, Priscilla retired to Connecticut, and as far as I know, was never interviewed during those years. Too bad, as I’d like to have heard her reflections on those days she spent at Warners.


Blogger silentfilmlegend said...

Great photos! If you can pry your eyes off Tyrone Power's handsome gob and look over his shoulder you can see Clark Gable and David O. Selznick at their own table. Gable looks quite haggard actually, I wonder what year this would have been?

6:32 AM  
Blogger John McElwee said...

Reader Ed Hurley sent along the following e-mail comment about Priscilla Lane ---

Hi John!
A friend just directed me, to your Greenbriar Movie page, and I thought, that I could supply some additional, Priscilla Lane info, for you. When I was a kid, Priscilla commuted from her Conn. home, to Boston, Mass., where she was the hostess, of a daily, movie broadcast, on WBZ Channel 4. Since WBZ, at this time, had the recently released, Warner Bros. film package, she showed films, from that studio, and contributed her personal memories, of working there. Maybe the TV station would have transcripts, of these shows, in their files. I recall seeing her numerous times, but can't recall any specific comments. Anyway, I thought you'd be interested, in this info.

I sure am interested --- Thanks, Ed.

9:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh my god. I LOVE Priscilla Lane and I would KILL for transcripts or video clips of her hosting classic movies! I wish I'd been born in Boston. Geez. Does WBZ even know what treasures they possess? Priceless memories! Priceless! Somebody needs to contact WBZ and *BEG* them to release this footage. License to Warner for use on their DVDs or something. Please please please...if anyone reading this blog has connections at WBZ or something!

By the way, I envy everyone who lived in Boston. Hate you all. :)

2:24 AM  
Anonymous "r.j." said...

John -- It's a Sunny Sunday morning here in L.A., and I'm having a great time here at our office, looking thru some of your past offerings -- how do you come up with this stuff -- each one's more fascinating than the last! Aren't photos like these just wonderful -- more than the films themselves, they really tell the story of what was happening in our town -- and in the industry itself at that time -- those really were the days! I'm fairly certain the "dancing couple" your wondering about, well, the man definately looks to me like Fairbanks,Jr. and I'll hazard a guess that the lady he's with is Joan Blondell. I've no idea either who the young man is over Tyrone Power's shoulder -- a studio publicist, possibly -- one of Zanuck's toddys,who knows? But I do love the image of Gable and Selznick directly behind them -- do you think they were just forming their alliance on you know what -- or could this have been after the fact? Intriguing! The shot of Priscilla Lane and our former Pres. is doubtless taken in a dressing room at Warners -- you can tell pretty much from the layout. If you want some Priscilla Lane stories, suggest you check around for a copy of my father's book -- 'Those Crazy Wonderful Years When We Ran Warner Bros' by Stuart Jerome (Pub. in '83 by Lyle Stuart). Believe me, John, if I had an extra copy to spare, I'd send it -- I'm hoping to get Turner Classic Movies' marketing arm to re-publish it -- think it would a natural tie-in for them! Your photos here reminded me of a still in my father's collection that for years intrigued me: A party (business meeting?) at my grandparents house with a group seated around a sofa -- get this line-up: my dad, Linda Darnell,Mickey Rooney, Sidney Miller (you remember him, John, worked with Mickey in "Boy's Town", and later became a televsion director) and some fat-man in the middle, who looked like the illegitimate - son of Roscoe Arbuckle. (I do remember asking dad who he was -- and he couldn't remember,either -- or maybe he told me, and I can't remember). Doesn't matter. What DOES matter, is the way my father and Linda are looking at each other {My father at that time was quite the boy-about-town, dating starlets like Ruth Roman and a Goldwyn Girl named Martha Montgomery -- darn him!) This was of course well before he married my mother (who, believe me, was quite a beauty, herself) The other thing that always intrigued me about that photo was what the occasion must have been about. The group is close toether, all giving each-other the 1940's version of "high-fives" -- could they have been forming a partnership on some project that never happened -- this might have been right after Mickey broke away from MGM(which I thought you covered very well in your post on "Words and Music"), but what would Linda (Who must have still been under contract to Fox)have been doing with that? I guess I'll never know, all this is probably now vanished in the mists of time. Finally, speaking of Tyrone Power, I only heard his name come-up at the dinner table once, very briefly , but the context is, in Spence's words, "Cherce!" However, I'll hold that until your next posting on Mr. Power! As always, best regards, John, and my best to your nephew! R.J.

5:20 PM  
Blogger John McElwee said...

Great Heavens, RJ!! Stuart Jerome is your father? That book of his is one of my absolute all-time favorites! I've read it several times. Thanks again for your reflections from inside the Golden Age industry. Your memories are priceless.

8:00 PM  

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