ANNOUNCING THE THIRD ANNUAL BARRYMORE TRILOGY BLOGATHON

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I’m proud to announce that for the third consecutive year the blogathon that is dedicated to the illustrious theatrical family known as the Barrymore’s is back.

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Two years ago when this event first commenced, a constellation of bloggers coalesced together to pay tribute to the Barrymore siblings, and made it a triumphant success. Last year the blogathon was well received, and this year I’m hoping for even better results.

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 Anyone that knows me would know that I’m a Barrymore enthusiast. I have always marveled over the talents of this prominent theatrical family who have graced the stage and screen with their versatile acting ability and unique artistry that has been showcased since before the birth of cinema and right up to the present day.

Ethel Barrymore was born on August 15th, 1879, so in commemoration of what would have been her 137th Birthday, I’m paying tribute to Ethel and her family by hosting my third blogathon dedicated to the Barrymore’s.

BLOGATHON RULES:

1. Bloggers are enabled to write about any film or subject relating to any member of the Barrymore family. The Barrymore’s are a long linage of show business personalities, so it’s only fair that I include the whole family, starting from Louisa Lane Drew, and continuing on to the present day with Drew Barrymore.

To get your juices flowing, here is a list of the Barrymore’s that bloggers are allowed to write about or write about films that star any of these names:

Ethel Barrymore, John Barrymore, Lionel Barrymore, Drew Barrymore, Louisa Lane Drew, John Drew Barrymore ( John’s son ), Georgina Drew, Maurice Barrymore, Sidney Drew, John Drew, Diana Barrymore or Ethel’s children, Samuel, Ethel and John.

2. Due to the diversity of the subject matter, I will be allowing no more than two duplicate entries. There are a wide range of topics or films to go around, and remember, you can write about any member of this illustrious family.

3. To express your interest in participating in the blogathon, please leave a comment on my blog along with the name and URL of your blog, and the topic you choose to write about, or if you wish to register by email, my email is: carolelombardforever@yahoo.com. Once you get confirmation, please spread the word about this blogathon by advertising the event on your blog. Below are a few banners, so grab yourself a banner, and get ready to join the Barrymore party.

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THE BARRYMORE TRILOGY ROSTER:

In The Good Old Days Of Classic Hollywood: TBA

The Wonderful World Of Cinema: Dinner At Eight ( 1933 )

Thoughts All Sorts: Never Been Kissed ( 1999 )

Maddy Loves Her Classic Films: Grand Hotel ( 1932 ) & The Portrait of Jennie ( 1948 )

Taking Up Room: Lionel Barrymore on the radio, Ever After ( 1998 ) & Marie Antoinette ( 1938 )

Caftan Woman: Ah Wilderness ( 1935 )

Charlene’s Mostly Classic Movie Reviews: Twentieth Century ( 1934 )

ANNOUNCING THE SECOND ANNUAL OLIVIA DE HAVILLAND BLOGATHON + ERROL FLYNN

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Olivia de Havilland, the critically acclaimed actress who first rose to super stardom when she played cousin Melanie in the 1939 blockbuster epic, Gone With The Wind, celebrated her 100th centenary on July 1st last year.

For the memorable occasion, Laura from Phyllis Loves Classic Movies, and myself from my blog, In The Good Old Days Of Classic Hollywood, hosted the Olivia de Havilland Centenary Blogathon, which proved to be a success. On the days of the event a myriad of bloggers coalesced to honor Miss. de Havilland, and her illustrious body of work.

As of 2017, Olivia de Havilland is one of the last stars who hold the key to the golden age of Hollywood. It is for this reason that Laura and myself have decided to make the blogathon an annual event. As a bonus we’re adding Olivia’s frequent co-star, Errol Flynn to the blogathon.

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THE RULES:

1. Bloggers are welcome to write about any topic pertaining to either Olivia de Havilland or Errol Flynn. If you have a subject in mind, but your not sure if its worthy for the blogathon, ask Laura or myself, and we’ll clarify it with you.

2. Due to Olivia and Errol’s extensive body of work and a diverse range of topics, we’re allowing no more than two duplicate entries. If there is a topic you really want to cover, act fast. It’s first in best dressed.

3. When: The Blogathon will be held on July 1st – 3rd, 2017, so you can post on any of those dates.

4. To express your interest in participating in the blogathon, leave a comment on my blog or on Laura’s blog along with the name and URL of your blog, and the subject you wish to cover, or you can always register by email at: carolelombardforever@yahoo.com or by contacting Laura at solidmoonlight@gmail.com. For those of you who wish to register by email, please be sure to include the name and URL of your blog, and the topic you wish to cover. Once you get confirmation, please spread the word about this blogathon by advertising the event on your blog. Below are a few banners, so please help yourself to a banner, and advertise the event on your blog.

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ROSTER:

In The Good Old Days Of Classic Hollywood: Olivia de Havilland and Bette Davis.

Phyllis Loves Classic Movies: My Journey with Olivia, and “Never Say Goodbye” ( 1946 )

The Dream Book Blog: The Heiress ( 1949 )

Musings Of A Classic Film Addict: Dodge City ( 1939 )

Maddy Loves Her Classic Films:  Dodge City ( 1939 )

Charlene’s Mostly Classic Movie Reviews: The Snake Pit ( 1948 )

Real Weedgie Midget Reviews: The Swarm ( 1978 )

Pop Culture Reverie: Light In The Piazza ( 1962 )

Love Letters To Old Hollywood: Cry Wolf ( 1947 )

Old Hollywood Films: Captain Blood ( 1935 )

Life With Books & Movies: To Each His Own ( 1946 )

Critica Retro: It’s Love I’m After ( 1937 )

SUNSET BOULEVARD ( 1950 )

“You’re Norma Desmond. You used to be in silent pictures. You used to be big.”

” I *am* big. It’s the *pictures* that got small.”

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A quintessential star with a personified urbane appearance, William Holden will forever be immortalized as the consummate actor whose successful career transcended his alcohol fueled personal life.

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When one thinks about William Holden, the image of him as Joe Gillis in Sunset Boulevard is eternally etched in the memories of a plethora of people worldwide, but while this is the role that he is best remembered for, Holden endured a meritorious tenure in motion pictures, and appeared in many critically acclaimed productions along the way. His first claim to fame came in 1939, when he secured the pivotal role as Joe Bonaparte in Golden Boy, which starred his close friend and mentor, Barbara Stanwyck.

Although, Holden was still relatively unknown at the time that Golden Boy was released, it didn’t take long for him to make his ascent to super-stardom. During the 1940’s, he was a welcoming presence in an array of notable films that featured stars who were placed in the top ranks of the movie industry. A large majority of these films were a commercial success, and Holden was often praised for his performance, but they never led to any immediate distinction. However, they did pave the way for future prosperity, and greater achievements that would plant William Holden in a reputable position among Hollywood’s constellation of stars.

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When William Holden did come into prominence, it came in droves. In 1950, Holden reached his zenith when he was cast in the Academy Award winning film, Sunset Boulevard, which starred, Gloria Swanson in the role of Norma Desmond, a faded silent movie star who dreams of making her comeback, and hires Holden’s character, Joe Gillis, a fruitless screenwriter to revise her script.

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The story of how the film first came to life can by quite fascinating, especially for movie enthusiasts who are interested in learning about the pioneering days of cinema. The street name itself is a glorified landmark in Hollywood, and to have a famous road commemorate a motion picture holds its own distinction, but there is much more intrigue to the background than what the title may suggest.

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Sunset Boulevard, the famous palm tree lined street in Hollywood, plays an integral part in cinematic history. The road which stretches twenty two miles in length, and that traces the arc of the mountains that form the northern boundary of the Los Angeles Basin, has been widely used in films since the birth of motion pictures, and it is known today for being the destination of the towns first movie studio that opened there in 1911.

“There once was a time in this business when I had the eyes of the whole world! But that wasn’t good enough for them, oh no! They had to have the ears of the whole world too. So they opened their big mouths and out came talk. Talk! TALK!”

Adorning a large area of the street are opulent, majestic mansions with incongruous architecture, and a rather distinct appearance. These homes were built for film makers and actors when the Hollywood Star System was first introduced. Towards the end of the 1940’s, some of these luxurious abodes were still occupied by former members of the motion picture community, who were now living reclusive from the rest of the world.

“Without me, there wouldn’t be any Paramount studio.”

To many people, the ghostly ambiance that surrounded these homes were fascinating. Director, Billy Wilder, who originally hailed from Berlin was interested in American culture, and later admitted that the countries films enhanced his passion. Wilder, who was a resident of Los Angeles often drove past these houses, and wondered what type of lives the occupants were leading now that their Hollywood glory days were over.

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Imagining the kind of lives that were being led by former movie stars drew great inspiration. How were these iconic legends from the bygone days of cinema spending their time? And why did they want to lead a reclusive lifestyle alone in a collateral mansion?. These were some of the questions that constantly resurfaced. Billy Wilder saw potential in this story, and started picturing a perfect scenario for a movie. After slowly piecing together different plot points, he came up with an intriguing idea that revolved around a silent film actress who lost her box-office appeal when her successful career was eclipsed.

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There were a myriad of ways that a disillusioned star could be portrayed, but Wilder wanted it more realistic, and decided that the character of Norma Desmond should emulate the personalities of a plethora of real-life silent film stars in their twilight years. Some of the traits depicted in Sunset Boulevard mirrored the reclusive years of Mary Pickford, and the mental disorders that affected Clara Bow and Mae Murray. However, many sources state that Norma Desmond was based on the decline of Norma Talmadge, while a few film historians believe that Norma Desmond’s name is a combination of Mabel Normand and Norman Desmond Taylor, because these two stars served as the main source of inspiration for the character, but whatever the truth, the character known as Norma Desmond was inspired by a conglomerate of movie folk.

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A lot of work went into conceptualizing the character of Norma Desmond, but the developmental stage of delving into the history of the character, and mapping out a story proved to be more difficult. Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett began working on a script in 1948, and in August of that year they hired D.M. Marshman Jr., a former writer from Life magazine to expand on the story-line. By the time filming commenced in early May 1949, only the first third of the script was completed. At this point in time Wilder did not know how the film was going to end, but as production on Sunset Boulevard progressed, Wilder had conjured up the perfect finale.

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The casting aspects of the film were not as complicated. However, some suggest that finding the perfect Norma Desmond was an arduous battle, but according to Charles Brackett, he and Wilder never endured any problems. Gloria Swanson was the only actress they ever considered for the role, and in Brackett’s opinion, she was the one actress who could fulfill the demands and perfectly execute the role of a disillusioned silent star with a formidable existence. On the other hand, Billy Wilder expressed his recollections of the casting process, and stated that he had initially wanted Mae West and Marlon Brando for the leads, but never approached either star with the offer. He also said that Pola Negri was being favored for a while, but her heavy Polish accent made him detour away from that idea, and instead he approached Norma Shearer, Mary Pickford and Greta Garbo, who all declined the part.

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One of the most common myths is that Billy Wilder consulted with George Cukor for his advice, and it was Cukor who suggested that they hire Gloria Swanson. Noted for her exotic beauty, and her extravagant lifestyle, Swanson shared many similarities with Norma Desmond. Like Desmond, Swanson had also lived in a colossal Italianate palace on Sunset Boulevard for a large part of her life, and like Desmond, her transition into talking pictures was not smooth and successful. However, their lives weren’t always parallel. While Norma Desmond renounces her decline, Swanson accepted the fact that her career was floundering, and when she realized that her tenure in motion pictures was about to be dimmed, she relocated to New York, where she secured work on television, radio, and the New York stage.

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The last thing that Gloria Swanson had expected was making a Hollywood comeback. At this point in her career she was prominently established in New York, and she was a revered member of the entertainment circuit. Even though she thought that making a return was out of the question, she was eager to learn about the role, and was absorbed in the prospects of portraying a character, who she felt was identical to her in many ways.

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William Holden wasn’t the first actor in mind to play Joe Gillis. Initially the role was assigned to Montgomery Clift, who was going to receive $5,000 per week for a guaranteed twelve weeks, though problems arose just before filming commenced when Clift withdrew from the project, stating that he thought the role was too close to the one he had played in The Heiress. He was after something more convincing, and refused to play a character who was having an affair with an older woman. In response to Clift, Wilder replied, “If he’s any kind of actor, he could be convincing making love to any woman.”.

“She was the greatest of them all. You wouldn’t know, you’re too young. In one week she received 17,000 fan letters. Men bribed her hairdresser to get a lock of her hair. There was a maharajah who came all the way from India to beg one of her silk stockings. Later he strangled himself with it!”

At the last minute, Wilder and Brackett were forced to select another Paramount player, who they thought would be compatible for the role. The only star that really impressed them was William Holden, an underappreciated individual who was yearning to be recognized. As an actor, Holden had displayed great potential since making his starring debut in 1939’s, Golden Boy, and in the years that followed he had appeared in a string of moderately successful films that did nothing to augment his appeal.

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Upon hearing that he was being closely considered for the role, Holden displayed a spectrum of happy emotions. This was a film that spelled success, and Holden knew that this part would help him endure a much needed career Resurrection. What he didn’t know is that his salary would be $39,000 less than what Montgomery Clift would have received, but at this stage of his life, Holden’s primary focus was to attain the role of Joe Gillis in Sunset Boulevard.

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Sunset Boulevard also reunited Gloria Swanson with Erich Von Stroheim, a prolific film director of the 1920’s, who had directed Swanson in an array of successful productions during her prime. Stroheim was cast in the role of Max, Norma’s faithful servant who will never admit to Norma that she is now a fading obscure star of the past. Stroheim received an Academy Award nomination for ‘Best Supporting Actor’, but lost to George Sanders who attained the award that year for his performance in All About Eve. 

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Joining the stellar cast of lead players was Nancy Olson, who portrayed Betty Schaefer, an aspiring screen writer, who witnesses potential in Joe, and wants to work on a script with him. Prior to Sunset Boulevard, Olson had only appeared in two pictures, one of them being an uncredited part in Portrait Of Jennie ( 1948 ). Despite the fact that Olson was still only an amateur, she exhibited enough prowess to prove that she was more than capable of taking on a notable role in a picture that was set to be a staple.

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THE PLOT

Directed by Billy Wilder, and produced by Charles Brackett, Sunset Boulevard is a chilling tale of unrequited love and jealously, which lead to tragic consequences. Set in one of Hollywood’s famous locales, the story revolves around Joe Gillis ( William Holden ), a struggling screenwriter, who unexpectedly lands in the driveway of an incongruous and atmospheric mansion when his car gets a flat Tyre. Occupying the decaying residence is Max Von Mayerling ( Erich Von Stroheim ), and Norma Desmond ( Gloria Swanson ), a faded silent movie star whose career was extinguished many years earlier. Embittered with her current existence, Norma plans to make her motion picture comeback by playing the lead character in her proposed production titled, Salome, a film in which she has written the script for.

What Joe Gillis didn’t realize is that he selected the wrong driveway to pull into. Instead of a quick visit inside the dwelling to call for help regarding his current situation, Joe finds himself in a complex entanglement when Norma hires him to edit her script. At first it seems like a plan for Joe who is heavily in debt, but the deal comes at a high price. If Joe is going to work on her script, he is required to move into the mansion. Reluctantly, he accepts the offer, a decision that proves to be disastrous when Joe discovers that he is being swept into an enigmatical love triangle, which is fueled by jealousy, irrational psychotic behavior, and danger.

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 Sunset Boulevard is a sordid account of Hollywood, and the torture associated with being a star. The film examines the demons that control one prominent individual whose career has gone to wreckage. Norma Desmond was a star of the highest magnitude. She had churned out film after film to mounting success. The studios loved her, and audiences worshiped her, but just when she thought that she had it all, talking pictures were introduced, and Norma Desmond made a hasty descent to debris.

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Making a transition into talking pictures was difficult for a large majority of stars from the silent screen. Some actors had a smooth run, but others struggled to cope with the sudden transformation, and were left to face the harsh realities of life. The abrupt change didn’t register with Norma Desmond. She was convinced that she was the only star of all, and when the convoluted particles began to control her mind, she was sent on a downward spiral.

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Sunset Boulevard paints a clear picture of what can happen when your mind has been emotionally destroyed by tragic events of the past. Even though the film is fictionalized, many of Norma’s traits resembled the characteristics of other stars from the bygone era. Loneliness and seclusion are common factors. A multitude of silent film actors were living as a recluse by the time the 1940’s and 1950’s progressed. In Norma Desmond’s case, the only interaction she got with the outside world is when she played bridge at her mansion with other Hollywood luminaries, like, Buster Keaton, and Hedda Hopper, who made cameo appearances as themselves, or when Norma visited Paramount Studios to consult with Cecil B. Demille, who also played himself. Apart from that, the only person who broke Norma’s solitary and trifling existence was her butler, past directer, and ex husband, Max, who continues to support Norma, and encourages her to turn a blind eye on the fact that her public has forgotten her by sending her fan letters.

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The stellar array of stars worked well under Billy Wilder’s masterful direction. In a part that was tailor made for her, Gloria Swanson received an Academy Award nomination for her towering portrayal of Norma Desmond. Playing the part of a former Hollywood luminary whose once recognizable name is in clouds was no easy feat, but Swanson’s performance took high precedence. She graced the screen with her immaculate presence, theatrical delivery, a gamut of emotions, and memorable dialogue. To serve as a great counterpart to Desmond, William Holden’s character, Joe Gillis epitomizes the working class man who is fighting for a dollar, but realizes that he will never be on the same pedestal that Norma Desmond once was.

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An as accompaniment, Sunset Boulevard features some of the best cinematography ever seen in a motion picture. John F. Seitz, who had been employed as a cinematographer and inventor since 1916, is the mastermind behind the films dark shadowy themes, and being no stranger to Film Noir, he applied some unique effects that enhances the ghostly ambiance that surrounded the production. Edith Head, who was well revered in Hollywood for her prolific work as a costume designer created the gowns in the film. Since Head was well versed in fashion, she suggested that Norma Desmond should be sporting the contemporary attire of the day, so she created costumes that mirrored the Dior style of the 1940’s. However, some changes were applied to personalize and reflect Norma Desmond’s taste. In her autobiography, Swanson stated that the costumes were a “trifle outdated and a trifle exotic”. On the other hand, Edith Head later recalled that her work on Sunset Boulevard was the “most challenging of my career”.

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In Sunset Boulevard, hopes are crushed, and dreams are buried, but Norma Desmond continues to embody positiveness, and believes that one day she will make a comeback.

DORIS DAY, AND HER UNDYING LOVE FOR ANIMALS

 

“I have found that when you are deeply troubled, there are things you get from the silent devoted companionship of a dog that you can get from no other source.”

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A consummate actress and musician, who enchanted millions with her golden voice, and indelible flair for comic artistry, Doris Day epitomized superstar success, and embodied all the ideals of the perfect role model.

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Doris Day may have called Hollywood her home for many years. She was highly revered in the film industry, and she had immortalized several classics during her tenure as an actress, but, first and foremost, the legend born, Doris Mary Ann Kappelhoff had another interest that was of greater importance than her distinguished status as a movie star. She was passionate about animals, and instead of keeping in the spotlight, she enthusiastically embarked on a new career that would have her caring for the welfare of those four-legged creatures with the same degree of exhilaration that she approached stardom with many years earlier.

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Many people have often wondered why Doris Day, the quintessential star of motion pictures would abandon Hollywood to pursue a career as an animal activist? The truth is that this is something that seemed to motivate Day. She had always wanted to get to the core of her strong adoration for her beloved companions. The actress’s lifelong passion for animals can be dated back to her teenage years when Day was a victim of a car accident in 1937, which left her confined to her bed for months. Distraught at the prospects that her dreams of becoming a professional dancer may be curtailed, Doris spent these torturous months in darkness. The only thing that had the power to cheer Day up was her dog, Tiny, who was always present during that difficult time. Doris later recalled the incident in her autobiography and stated, “He never left my side, understood my moods and gave me the kind of companionship that only a dog can bestow… It was during this time that I began a lifelong love affair with dogs, a sentiment known only to dog lovers – and cat lovers, too. Their affection and caring is a relief from tensions and anxiety.” From that moment on, Doris Day instilled the notion that all creatures must be protected.

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Although it would be many years before Doris Day would form her own animal foundation, she never forgot about her passion, and she always inhabited the aspiration that one day she would change the lives of all creatures, big, and small. During her years as an actress, Day’s passion was clearly apparent, and in all most all of her movies her character owns a pet. She was also notorious when it came to the way the animals were being handled and used in the films, but while she was generally happy with the way they were treated, she had enough authority to pull rank whenever she witnessed something that was not up to her standards.

“I’ve never met an animal I didn’t like, and I can’t say the same thing about people.”
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Luckily for Doris, the motion picture industry has strict regulations for the hiring of animals in filmed entertainment. However, one famous case almost sparked a war between Doris and the production company while she was in Morocco filming Alfred Hitchcock’s, The Man Who Knew Too Much. Day, who always modeled civility, and who was known for being easily accessible, was appalled when she noticed the deplorable condition the animals were in. Disheartened with Hitchcock, and the fellow crew members for allowing the animals to be malnourished, Day refused to continue working on the film unless the animal welfare measures were drastically improved. At this stage of her career, Day was at the pinnacle of her fame, and the production company couldn’t afford to lose an esteemed star, so they went ahead and complied with her requirements, while Doris oversaw the feeding and care of these animals. Doris later stated, “By the time our photography was finished, I had succeeded in fattening up the animals used in the picture.”

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As the 1960’s progressed, Sexual Liberation in the United States was beginning to take charge. The films being made displayed a strong emphasis on sex, and audiences were detouring away from Doris Day films. With her popularity waning, Day only appeared in a few more motion pictures before retreating to the television medium, but when she realized that she will no longer be at the top of her zenith, Day ventured into the animal territory, which was an uncharted landscape at the time.

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The animal world was a far cry from the bright lights of Hollywood, and all that glamour that was associated with being a star. After retiring from acting in 1973, Doris was free to devote her time to animal welfare activism. However, she did return to the television medium in 1985, when she hosted, Doris Day’s Best Friends, but even then the focal importance of the show relied solely on the animals, and to give Day the chance to address the subject of animal welfare to the public eye.

“I’m going to do as much as I can for the animal world, and I’ll never stop.”

The show was a commercial success. Viewers were enthused to see Doris Day step out of semi-retirement to host her own television program. They were even more elated to see some of Day’s real life friends, including, Rock Hudson, Howard Keele, and Kaye Ballard, among others make guest appearances. Despite the worldwide publicity that it received, Doris Day’s Best Friends was cancelled after twenty-six episodes. This occasion marked the final time that Doris Day’s presence would showcase television screens.

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Doris Day, and Rock Hudson.

For Doris Day, helping and rescuing animals was her pursuit of happiness. She knew right from the start that saving the lives of helpless dogs and cats, and bringing them joy and comfort would be more rewarding than the recognition she achieved as a motion picture actress. In 1971, Day became a co-founder of Actors and Others for Animals, an organization that eliminates pet overpopulation, and protection for pet companions.

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Actors and Others for Animals was initially conceived by actor, Richard Basehart and his wife, Diana. Basehart, who shared the same passion as Day, made it his mission to make sure that all pets are properly cared for. Since its establishment in 1971, this organization has become one of California’s leading animal care facilities.

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Despite the fact that Doris Day was miles away from Hollywood soil, and was now permanently established in Carmel, where her primary endeavor was her beloved pets, and the care and nurturing of animals, the challenge became quite overwhelming. Because of her work, Day was prominently featured in news articles and entertainment magazines, which gave readers great insight into the actress’ life now, and what it was like to live in an 11 acre property in Carmel that was surrounded by dogs. For many pet owners this became their invitation. Doris found that her home was becoming a refuge for stray and abandoned pets. People were dropping their dogs and cats over her property gates at night, and each morning Day was greeted to a deluge of unwanted pets, who were in need of homes. Even though the task was quite perplexing, she got all the animals the veterinary care they required, and found them loving homes.

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This was a common occurrence for Doris, and even though she welcomed every pet she received, and always found them homes, she realized that the possibilities of encountering turbulence was imminent. She wanted to make a difference in the lives of the animals, and the best way to do this was to open up her own foundation.

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In 1978, Doris Day founded the Doris Day Pet Foundation, which is now known as, The Doris Day Animal Foundation. Focusing on animal rescue, and spay/neuter, the organization continues to maintain a caring interest in animal health and welfare, while making it their mission to place all animals in a compatible environment with people who love them.

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The Doris Day Animal Foundation were rescuing a large number of animals a year. More lives were being saved, and more pets were being adopted into loving families, but Doris was still not satisfied with her efforts, and felt that a lot more could be done. She wanted to get to the core of homeless pet overpopulation. The key to addressing this issue was through spay/neuter. As a result, she set up a grassroots campaign, and in 1987, she formed The Doris Day Animal League, another nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting animals through policy initiatives, education, and corporate engagement.

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As time progresses, Doris Day continues to be actively involved in helping animals from all walks of life. In 1995, she created the annual event known as, World Spay Day, and in the most recent years she formed, The Doris Day Horse Rescue and Adoption Center, which is located at, Cleveland Amory’s Black Beauty Ranch in Murchison, Texas. In addition to her foundation work, and her other animal engagements, Doris, who is now 95 years of age finds joy in taking care of her many four-legged friends at her Carmel estate. She has often been quoted as saying, “Maybe I might make a movie just to take a rest.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

ALF: FAVORITE TV EPISODE BLOGATHON

“On Melmac, we have 1st class, 2nd class and ham.”

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The motion picture industry has certainly had their fair share of films featuring extraterrestrials who raid the earth and spark a war on humanity, but when the movies introduced E.T, a new form of alien, who is lost on earth and forms an inseparable bond with a young boy, the television medium tried to duplicate its success with a similar story, where a 229 year old alien must adapt to a family environment.

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The name of the television series is ALF, a science fiction situation comedy that ran on NBC from September 22, 1986 to March 24, 1990, and lasting for four seasons. Although not as successful as E.T: The Extra Terrestrial, ALF, provided viewers with quality entertainment, and a good dose of laughter that was ineffectual in real life for a lot of people at that time.

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The idea of having a television show featuring an alien as the protagonist first came to the fore in 1984, when Paul Fusco created the character of ALF, by employing an alien resembling puppet that he used as a house prop to irritate his family and friends. The puppet served as great annoyance to those close to him, but Fusco who was attached to the toy saw potential in him, and realized that children and adults alike would get pleasure out of a television series where an alien is the central figure. When Fusco approached the famed American producer, Bernie Brillstein with his proposed idea, he was automatically introduced to Tom Patchett, who agreed with this concept, and together Fusco and Patchett started conjuring up ideas for their upcoming project.

“To get a couple back together on Melmac, we’d recreate the happiest moment of their marriage.”

Their final decision was their most intelligent, and so, after much negotiation, the television industry familiarized audiences with ALF, a furry and cute alien from the planet Melmac, who is forced to become accustomed to life on earth when his spacecraft makes a crash landing in the garage of a suburban American family in California’s San Fernando Valley.

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It didn’t take long for audiences to fall in love with ALF, the cantankerous alien, who despite of his cravings for the family cat, became a welcoming presence in the Tanner home. All most every episode revolves around the dilemmas that the Tanner family face when ALF causes some perplexing crisis, but no matter how many times ALF gets himself into mischief, the Tanner’s will always remain loyal to him, and will do all they can to protect and hide him from the outside world.

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By the time the second episode titled, Strangers In The Night aired, ALF was already a household name. In this episode, Kate and her daughter Lynn ( Anne Schedeen & Andrea Elson ) are booked to attend a wedding ceremony, which means that Willie ( Max Wright ) has got the job of minding the house, but when Willie is unexpectedly called into work, the Tanner’s are forced to hire a babysitter, which proves to be difficult with ALF in the house. Faced with a last minute emergency, they call their snoopy neighbor, Mrs. Ochmonek to watch over their son Brian who is asleep in the back bedroom. While Mrs. Ochmonek is there, ALF is required to stay in the bedroom, but ALF, who is known for his immoral acts and pranks, decides to cause a stir by creating trouble that has Mrs. Ochmonek on the edge of her seat.

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ALF was a delightful and entertaining television experience for audiences, but the filming process was less than pleasurable. The strong demands and onerous nature of having hand- operated puppets was technically difficult for the lead players. The constant challenge of getting everything right fueled high levels of tension on the set. In a 2006, interview for People magazine, Max Wright stated that he despised supporting a technically demanding inanimate object that received most of the good lines of dialogue, and later admitted that he was “hugely eager to have ALF over with.”. Anne Schedeen, who played Kate Tanner, recalled an incident on the last night of filming, and said “There was one take and Max walked off the set, went to his dressing room, got his bags, went to his car and disappeared… There were no goodbyes.”. In the same interview, Schedeen herself recounted the numerous nightmares that were endured on the set. The whole process was like torture. “There was no joy on the set, and nobody ever shared a laugh. It was extremely slow, hot and tedious”. However, Schedeen did talk about the close relationship she had with her screen children, but the constant adversities and the differing personalities of the adults seemed to eclipse the fond memories that she shared with Andrea and Benji.

“I don’t want to be an orphan. I saw “Annie.” Orphans have to eat gruel and tap dance with mops.”

The time on the set was not a joyous occasion for Andrea and Benji either. During the second season, Andrea Elson was suffering from Bulimia, which exacerbated the process of shooting. She later stated, “If ALF had gone one more year, everybody would have lost it.”. On the other hand however, Max Wright finally conceded that “It doesn’t matter what I felt or what the days were like, ALF brought people a lot of joy.”.

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The artistic approach that was employed in ALF is to be commended. To create the set they used a high platform that was raised four feet above the ground, with trap doors that was constructed at many points so that ALF could appear almost anywhere. On almost all occasions, a puppet was usually used for ALF. However, there are quite a few scenes that show ALF doing physical movement, such as walking or running around. This was achieved by the help of, Michu Meszaros, the Hungarian born actor, who worked as a stuntman for a part of his career. Meszaros masqueraded around in a costume for these scenes, but because the costume was thick, hot, and uncomfortable, he couldn’t do it for long periods of time under the bright studio lights.

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Despite the fact that filming days were frustrating due to the technical difficulties that ensured, there is no doubt that the cast members found the process fascinating. Benji Gregory, who was only eight years old when he started his stint on ALF, later stated that he enjoyed watching the way that Fusco operated ALF from underneath. He also remembered Fusco using his right hand to control ALF’s mouth, while he used his other hand to control ALF’s left arm. Assisting Fusco along the way was Lisa Buckley and Bob Fappiano, who both pitched in ideas of how to go about controlling other movements, etc.

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A few years after ALF went off the air, DIC Entertainment tried to capitalize on the success of the series by producing a spin-off animated series that took place on ALF’s home planet of Melmac before it exploded. There was no way that the show could surpass its predecessor, but audiences were entertained with the new story-line that revolved around ALF, and his relationships with his family, friends, and girlfriend, Rhonda.

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ALF may have came to its cessation back in 1990, but the series still lives on through its never-ending deluge of merchandise. My brother and I were lucky enough to attain an ALF doll years ago, and to this day we still deeply cherish it. We are also proud to say that ALF was the first television series that we were introduced to when we were children.

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TRIVIA

The name of every episode is also the name of a song. Each is relevant to the episode’s plot.

The character ‘ALF’ was ranked #8 in TV Guide’s list of the “25 Greatest Sci-Fi Legends” (1 August 2004, Vol. 52, No. 31) and appears on one of three collectible covers.

ALF’s name is Gordon Shumway, and he’s from the planet Melmac.

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CAST

Max Wright: Born, George Edward Maxwell Wright, on August 2nd, 1943, in Detroit, Michigan.

Anne Schedeen: Born, Luanne Ruth Schedeen, on January 8th, 1949 in Portland, Oregon.

Andrea Elson: Born Andrea Elson, on March 6th, 1969, in New York, New York.

Benji Gregory: Born, Benjamin Gregory Hertzberg, on May 26th, 1978, in Los Angeles, California.

THE SECOND ANNUAL BETTE DAVIS BLOGATHON HAS NOW ARRIVED

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I can’t believe how fast the time has gone since I first announced this blogathon. These past few months have not been easy for my family due to the death of my aunty on New Years Eve, and because of it I’ve been taking a break from blogging, but now I’m back, and I’m anticipating another successful blogathon dedicated to the inimitable Bette Davis.

During the course of the next few days a plethora of bloggers will be paying tribute to Bette Davis and her illustrious career by writing about all facets of her life. A big thank you to all participants. I look forward to reading all the entries.

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THE SECOND ANNUAL BETTE DAVIS BLOGATHON ENTRIES:

Cinematic Scribblings: In This Our Life ( 1942 )

Love Letters To Old Hollywood: Bette Davis and Errol Flynn

Thoughts All Sorts: All About Eve ( 1950 )

Silver Screenings: Phone Call From A Stranger ( 1952 )

Maddy Loves Her Classic Films: Mr. Skeffington ( 1944 )

 Taking Up Room: Of Human Bondage ( 1934 )

Old Hollywood Films: Bette Davis, and the Hollywood Canteen.

Charlene’s Mostly Classic Movie Reviews: The Whales Of August ( 1987 )

Finding Franchot: Bette Davis and Franchot Tone.

Classic Movie Treasures: Dead Ringer ( 1964 )

Wolffian Classic Movies Digest: Deception ( 1946 )

Taking Up Room: Now Voyager ( 1942 )

The Stop Button: The Little Foxes ( 1941 )

Karavansara: Death On The Nile ( 1978 )Death On The Nile ( 1978 )

A Shroud Of Thoughts: Now Voyager ( 1942 )

Christina Wehner: Kid Galahad ( 1937 )

Phyllis Loves Classic Movies: Bette, hats and reviews

Goose Pimply All Over: Bette Davis on the Dick Cavett Show.

Life’s Daily Lessons Movie Blog: Of Human Bondage ( 1934 )

Taking Up Room: Bette’s real life involvement with the war effort.

Real Weedgie Midget Reviews: Burnt Offerings ( 1976 )

Whimsically Classic: Whatever Happened To Baby Jane ( 1962 )

Critica Retro: Bette Davis and William Wyler.

The Wonderful World Of Cinema: The Letter ( 1940 )

Pop Culture Reverie: Satan Met A Lady ( 1936 )

The Dream Book Blog: Career vs. Family in All About Eve & The Star.

ANNOUNCING THE JUDY GARLAND BLOGATHON

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As some of you would know, my aunty passed away on New Years Eve. Even though it was expected, the shock of seeing her make her transition has left me emotionally scarred. As a result I’ve taken a long hiatus away from blogging, but after a few months of not writing anything, I’ve started to miss blogging, and I now feel that I am ready to get back into the fold, and what better way is there to return than hosting a blogathon?

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I have always been a movie enthusiast for as long as I can remember. Growing up, I have marveled over the likes of many talents, but nobody has ever had the effect on me that Judy Garland has had. She was the first person who I obsessed about, and she was the one star who established my profound interest and sheer passion for classic cinema. I have often said that if it wasn’t for Judy Garland, I may still be watching the productions from today’s popular culture, but luckily Judy came to my rescue, and now I couldn’t be happier.

Some people may think it strange, but Judy Garland has shaped my life in many ways. At a time when I was lonely and despondent, I could always rely on Judy to cheer me up. All of my friendships were formed because of Judy, and my biggest goal of traveling to New York was achieved because of Judy. I will always be in debt to Judy for all she had done. It is because of this reason that I am hosting a blogathon dedicated to this legendary figure of the stage and screen who has influenced me in every way possible.

Judy Garland was born on June 10th, 1922, so hosting a blogathon is the ideal way to celebrate this special day. I wanted to hold this event last year, but all other blogathons were cropping up on those dates, which prevented me hosting it. Because Judy was my first love, I am excited about this blogathon, and I’m hoping that it’s a success.

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BLOGATHON RULES:

1. Participants are welcome to write about any subject relating to Judy Garland or any aspect of her life and career. As long as the topic relates to Judy or her filmography, I’ll accept it.

2. Because Judy Garland has an extensive resume of films, I will be allowing no more than two duplicates. There are a wealth of topics to go around. Remember, your choice doesn’t have to be a movie. Judy wasn’t just an actress. She was an entertainer who performed numerous concerts, and she was a person whose life was an interesting story in itself. I encourage people to think outside of the box.

3. When: The Blogathon will be held on June 8 – 10, 2017, so please post your entries on either of these dates.

4. To express your interest in participating in the blogathon, leave a comment on my blog, along with the name and URL of your blog, and the subject you wish to cover, or you can always register by email at: carolelombardforever@yahoo.com. For those of you who wish to register by email, please be sure to include the name and URL of your blog, and the topic you wish to cover. Once you get confirmation, please spread the word about this blogathon by advertising the event on your blog. Below are a few banners, so grab yourself a banner, and let’s celebrate the unparalleled talents of Judy Garland.

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ROSTER, WITH THE LIST OF PARTICIPATING BLOGS:

In The Good Old Days Of Classic Hollywood: My memories of attending Judy In New York in 2011, and Judy At Carnegie Hall.

Goose Pimply All Over: Judy Garland in Summer Stock ( 1950 )

Love Letters To Old Hollywood: A Star Is Born ( 1954 ) and Gay Purr-ee ( 1962 )

Wolffian Classic Movies Digest: Judy Garland Tribute ( A Vaudevillian Legend of the Screen )

The Flapper Dame: A Star Is Born ( 1954 )

Maddy Loves Her Classic Movies: The Clock ( 1945 )

Back To Golden Days: The Wizard Of Oz ( 1939 )

Phyllis Loves Classic Movies: My Judy Garland and Wizard Of Oz collection.

Champagne For Lunch: The Harvey Girls ( 1946 )

Caftan Woman: Thoroughbreds Don’t Cry ( 1937 )

Pop Culture Reverie: The Clock ( 1945 )

Critica Retro: Judy Garland and Liza Minnelli.

Old Hollywood Films: The Pirate ( 1948 )

Silver Screenings: Babes In Arms ( 1939 )

A Shroud Of Thoughts: TBA

Taking Up Room: Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney, Judy’s homes, and John Fricke’s Judy books.

Real Weedgie Midget Reviews: Life With Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows ( 2001 )

Christina Wehner: Girl Crazy ( 1943 )

The Wonderful World Of Cinema: A Child Is Waiting ( 1963 )

Karavansara: Judgement At Nuremberg ( 1961 )

The Stop Button: The Wizard Of Oz ( 1939 )

Charlene’s Mostly Classic Movie Reviews: Meet Me In St. Louis ( 1944 )

Lauren Champkin: Judgement At Nuremberg ( 1961 )

Musings Of A Classic Film Addict: In The Good Old Summertime ( 1949 )

Finding Franchot: The similarities between “A Thousands Cheer”, and “Star Spangled Rhythm”.

Life’s Daily Lessons Movie Blog: The Pirate ( 1948 )

Thoughts All Sorts: Judy Garland singing “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” to Margaret O’Brien in “Meet Me In St. Louis” ( 1944 )

LA Explorer: Presenting Lily Mars ( 1943 )

Apocalypse Later: A Child Is Waiting ( 1963 )

Peyton’s Classics: Love Finds Andy Hardy ( 1938 )

Portraits By Jenni: Judy’s appearances in the Andy Hardy films.

Oh So Geeky: For Me And My Gal ( 1942 )

Big V Riot Squad: Judy’s film debut in “The Big Review” ( 1929 )

Tranquil Dreams: The Wizard Of Oz ( 1939 )

I Found It At The Movies: Easter Parade ( 1948 )

Whimsically Classic: Judy Garland and Gene Kelly.

Because We Have The Stars: The Judy Garland Show.

Little Bits Of Classics: Meet Me In St Louis ( 1944 )

The Dream Book Blog: Judy Garland and Marlene Dietrich

Pure Entertainment Preservation Society: Judy Garland in the Andy Hardy series