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Sharing a Love of Animals with Classic Film Stars & Helping Those in Need

Quincy WrigleyIt’s so hard for me to believe that it’s been one month already since I had to say goodbye to my beautiful baby girl Wrigley, the gray and peach cat in the picture, and on the same day also found out my baby boy Quincy, the handsome orange and white cat, has incurable cancer.  To say the last few months have been tough for me is an understatement to say the least.

Spending quality time with Wrigley as she neared the end of her life and subsequently grieving her loss and Quincy’s diagnosis are big reasons why I haven’t posted on my blog in over two months (yikes!). Throughout August and September, Wrigley spent many hours sitting on my lap as I watched lots of fun summer themed movies and also indulged in my new found love of Paul Newman and his films. I’m so thankful I had that time with her.

For some reason for the first few weeks after she was gone though, I just had absolutely no interest in watching old movies. I admit I spent a lot of time numbing myself in front of the tv watching The Voice, episodes of The Office on DVD, and the ultimate therapy for me . . . football! But thankfully I am starting to feel like myself again and my desire to watch old movies and get back into blogging is finally coming back. I hope to start watching more movies and get back to posting here regularly soon.

I’m sure many of you love animals as much as I do, and perhaps you’ve also had to endure the difficult loss of one of your beloved pets. One great suggestion I’ve heard on how to help with the grieving process is to make a donation to a local animal shelter or other charity that benefits animals, and that’s just what I plan on doing to honor Wrigley’s memory.

Joan Fontaine with Cat

I’m guessing that like me most classic movie fans are aware of the great work Doris Day has done over the years to help animals in need including her work with the Doris Day Animal Foundation, but did you know that actress Joan Fontaine also had an immense love for animals, especially dogs?

I didn’t until I read recent articles discussing how proceeds from the sale of her beautiful home in Carmel, California will be donated to the Monterey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Joan adopted three of her beloved dogs from that organization. The SPCA said it will use her gift to improve its Animal Care and Adoption Center and will dedicate a wing of the Adoption Center to her memory. You can see several sweet pictures of Joan with her many dogs in this nice tribute to her on the blog Sister Celluloid.

If you love animals and decide you’d like to someday help out those in need, please consider donating to one of the many wonderful organizations out there like the SPCA or your local humane society.

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Saturday State Post with a Twist: Classic Movie Actors from Europe/Asia

A list that doesn’t include Cary Grant, no matter the topic, just doesn’t seem right to me. So in this week’s Saturday State Post I’ll be mixing things up a little by venturing outside of the United States and into Europe and Asia. There are sooo many great actors and actresses including Cary Grant who were born in other countries that it only seemed fair to “bend the rules” a little bit and include them in my “state’ series.

A few of the actors and actresses from Europe and Asia are:

Claude Rains

Claude Rains

Born:  November 10, 1889 in Camberwell, London, England

Died:  May 30, 1967 (age 77)

Married six times

Known for the Movies:  Mystery of Edwin Drood, The Adventures of Robin Hood, Four Daughters, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Now Voyager, Casablanca, Mr. Skeffington, Notorious, Lawrence of Arabia

My Favorite Claude Rains Movie:  Casablanca

 
 
Interesting Facts About Claude Rains:

  • He once had a very serious Cockney accent and a speech impediment, which were corrected with the help of elocution lessons paid for by Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree, founder of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. Rains later served as a teacher there before coming to Hollywood, with Laurence Olivier being his best known student.
  • He was one of Bette Davis’ favorite actors (she had great taste!), and they made four films together; Jaurez (1939) Now Voyager (1942), Mr. Skeffington (1944) and Deception (1946).
  • Unlike many Hollywood actors, he is not buried in Hollywood but in New Hampshire, a state in which he lived for a brief time. He is buried at Red Hill Cemetery in Moultonborough, New Hampshire. You can read more about his burial place and see a few cool pictures including his headstone on J.W.’s blog Odd Things I’ve Seen. I would love to go visit the site myself someday.

Charles Boyer Continue reading »

Remembering the Multi-Talented Actor & Humanitarian Danny Kaye

Danny Kaye in White Christmas (1954)

Every once in a while it will dawn on me that I barely know anything about a certain actor or actress even though I’ve heard their name a million times and probably should be more familiar with them.

That happened to me again recently, this time in regard to actor Danny Kaye. All I really knew about him was that he starred in the movie White Christmas (1954), which is the only movie of his that I had seen up until this week. I don’t know why, but I always hate having to admit that about someone, even though it certainly wasn’t intentional!

After reading a blog post by speaker Barry Bradford titled Unexpected Movie Teams, I set out to watch the movie On the Riviera (1951), which starred Danny Kaye and Gene Tierney. It was in part because I figured it was about time I got to know more about Danny Kaye, but it really had more to do with the fact that I am a big fan of Gene Tierney.

I can’t say that the movie as a whole left that much of an impression on me, but Danny Kaye’s versatile performance and the things I learned about him while watching the DVD’s special feature called “A Portrait of Danny Kaye,” caused me to gain a new found respect and admiration for him. I had no idea he was such an interesting, multi-faceted person who certainly lived up to the quote below! Continue reading »

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Saturday State Post: Classic Movie Actors from the Carolinas

This week’s Saturday State Post highlights actors and actresses from both North and South Carolina. I am combining both in one post, not because I think they aren’t worthy of being covered individually, but I just simply could not find enough familiar names from South Carolina to fill a separate post.

A few of the actors and actresses from North and South Carolina are:

Actress Esther Dale

Esther Dale

Born: November 10, 1885 in Beaufort, SC

Died: July 23, 1961 (age 75)

Married Once

Known for the Movies: Curly Top, Fury, The Awful Truth, The Mortal Storm, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Holiday Affair, The Egg and I, Monkey Business

My Favorite Esther Dale Movie: The Awful Truth

 

Interesting Facts About Esther Dale:

  • Before she became an actress, she studied music in Berlin, Germany and had a career as a lieder singer. The Encyclopedia Britannica can explain what that means better than I can. :-)
  • She appeared in three of the nine Ma and Pa Kettle films that were made following the success of the The Egg and I (1947), the movie in which the characters first appeared.

Actor Barton MacLaine

Barton MacLaine

Born: December 25, 1902 in Columbia, SC

Died: January 1, 1969  (age 66)

Married twice. He was married to his second wife Charlotte Wynters for 30 years.

Known for the Movies: High Sierra, Come Live With Me, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Maltese Falcon, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, The Glenn Miller Story

My Favorite Barton MacLaine Movie: The Glenn Miller Story Continue reading »

Rest in Peace Shirley Temple Black

Shirley Temple

My heart is heavy today after learning of the passing of beloved film star, Shirley Temple Black. I’ve had a special affinity for Shirley ever since I first saw her in the movie Bright Eyes (1934) and fell in love with her sparkle and talent. I’ve enjoyed so many of her movies over the years including my ten favorites, which I wrote about a few years ago.

When I think of Shirley’s movies and some of my favorite scenes, the one that always seems to stand out and will forever be special to me was the song and dance routine she performed with co-star Buddy Ebsen, set to the song “At the Codfish Ball” in the movie Captain January (1936).

 

My thoughts and prayers go out to Shirley’s family and friends on this very sad day. Rest in peace, Shirley. Thank you for all the joy you brought to me and your many fans.

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Saturday State Post: Classic Movie Actors from New Jersey

My inspiration for choosing which state to cover next in this series was Joan Bennett, who starred in a few movies I’ve watched recently including, Secret Beyond the Door (1947) earlier this week. She was born in the state of New Jersey so that is the state I’m covering today.

A few of the actors and actresses from the state of New Jersey are:

Actor Thomas Mitchell

Thomas Mitchell

Born: July 11, 1892 in Elizabeth, NJ

Died: December 17, 1962 (age 70)

Married twice

Known for the Movies: Lost Horizon, The Hurricane, Make Way for Tomorrow, Stagecoach, Only Angels Have Wings, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Gone With the Wind, The Dark Mirror, It’s a Wonderful Life, High Noon

My Favorite Thomas Mitchell Movie: It’s a Wonderful Life

Interesting Facts About Thomas Mitchell:

  • A very versatile performer, Thomas Mitchell worked on Broadway in various capacities for almost 20 years before starting his very successful film career. He then worked extensively on television in the 1950’s and early 1960’s.
  • When he won the Tony Award for his performance in the musical Hazel Flagg in 1953, he became the first actor to win the “triple crown” of acting awards. He had previously won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in the movie Stagecoach (1939) and an Emmy for his performance as Father Devlin in The Good of His Soul on “The Ford Television Theatre” in 1953. Thomas Mitchell is the second actor I’ve featured in this series to have won the triple crown. Melvyn Douglas from my post about the state of Georgia also accomplished the feat in 1967.
  • In what is often considered the greatest year of movies, 1939, he starred in three of the films that were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture, Stagecoach, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, and Gone With the Wind. Continue reading »