Mini Saturday State Post: Wisconsin Born Actress Nancy Olson

Sunset Blvd (1950)

When  I first watched the movie Sunset Boulevard (1950) many years ago, frankly, I didn’t care for it at all. I know that’s considered a sin by many classic movie fans, but you have to realize that was back in my early days of watching classic movies when I didn’t really enjoy film noir. The movie I guess you could say was just a little too dark and strange for me. But because my tastes have really evolved over the years, I decided to give it another try.

Nancy Olson and William Holden in Sunset Boulevard

Much to my surprise, I liked it a lot more than the previous time and understand now why it’s considered such a brilliant piece of filmmaking. Although it will never be near the top of my favorites list, I came to appreciate many of the aspects that make it such a respected classic.

I especially came away with a renewed  interest in actor William Holden but another person who came to my attention this time around was actress Nancy Olson. Nancy was definitely a bright ray of light in an otherwise dark movie, and I wanted to learn more about her.

I finally did after I watched her in the movie Union Station (1950) in which she once again starred with William Holden. I got the idea to look up which state she was born in with the intention of making that the next subject of my Saturday State Post series. I was excited when I found out that she was born in my home state of Wisconsin, but unfortunately I had covered that already. I decided just to do it in the form of a mini-state post anyway, which you’ll find below. Continue reading →

Stories from a Podcast: Julie Garfield Remembers Her Father, John Garfield

 

John Garfield

Yesterday was the 102nd anniversary of the birth of one of my favorite actors, John Garfield, who I just don’t feel gets enough attention or recognition. At least I don’t hear his name mentioned as often as I do many other classic movie actors. I have been meaning to share more “stories from a podcast” ever since I posted one last year about James Garner, so I thought this would be a perfect time to do that since I know of one that involves John Garfield.

In an interview from a June 2014 episode of the Warner Archive Podcast, John’s daughter Julie shared some of her memories of her father with host George Feltenstein. When asked what it’s like when people find out who her father was, she expressed that she really wishes more people would remember her father, a sentiment I know many of his fans share.

John Garfield Joan Crawford Humoresque (1946)

In one story I found interesting, Julie talked about one of the things that made her father stand apart from his peers, that he looked his fellow actors and actresses directly in the eye when doing a scene. She mentioned that on the set of the movie Humoresque (1946) Joan Crawford initially felt uncomfortable with it, at one point complaining, “why does he keep looking at me in the eyes?”

She eventually got used to it, and thanks in part to Garfield’s unique method of acting, turned in one of the best performances of her career. Humoresque is probably my favorite of the John Garfield movies I have seen so far, and I would encourage you to watch it if you haven’t already. Now you have something to look for as you do. :-)

That was just one of many stories and memories she shared about her father’s life and career. Most importantly, she remembered him as a great dad and a great man who loved his country and remained faithful to his friends. You can hear the interview in its entirety on the Warner Archive Tumblr page or you can download the whole podcast and listen to that and additional episodes through iTunes, which I highly recommend.

I think John Garfield’s fans would agree with George when he said, “For a man who had such a heartbreakingly short life, he left a boundless, amazing film legacy.” I look forward to enjoying more of those films in the future, and I hope you will join me in becoming more familiar with his work.

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If you are interested in learning more about John Garfield, the DVD and Blu-ray versions of his movie The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946) contain the documentary “The John Garfield Story,” which was narrated by Julie Garfield and includes an introduction by film historian Richard Jewell. I’ve watched it myself and it’s definitely worth viewing if you are a fan of John Garfield.

The Madeleine Carroll Blogathon: Madeleine’s Most Frequent Movie Collaborations

Madeleine Carroll Blogathon

This post is part of the Madeleine Carroll Blogathon and Birthday Bash being hosted by Dorian at Tales of the Easily Distracted and Ruth from Silver Screenings.

I was originally going to review Honeymoon in Bali (1939) for this post but decided to go a different route instead. I did watch the movie and even though I found it to be pleasant with enjoyable performances by Madeleine Carroll and Fred MacMurray, the movie didn’t really inspire me to write a review.

I guess you could say the Washington Post summed up my thoughts when in a review on October 5, 1939 they exclaimed, “‘Honeymoon in Bali’ Is Delightfully Easy To Take!” I also realized that another blogger was writing about the movie for this blogathon so to learn more about the movie I will instead direct you to the post by Joey at Wolffian Classics Movie Digest.

Honeymoon in Bali (1939)

In becoming more familiar with the movies of Madeleine Carroll, I discovered that not only did she make four other movies with Fred MacMurray, there were also a few other people in the movie industry that she worked with multiple times. So I thought I would explore a few of those collaborations in more detail. Continue reading →

My Classic Movie Travel Dreams – What’s on Your List?

I’ve been talking a good game the last few years about how I’m going to start doing more traveling, with most of my desired destinations being places somehow related to classic movies or old movie stars and singers. But for various reasons I have not lived up to that talk and pretty soon I’m going to have to start putting my money where my mouth is or I’ll never end up going anywhere.

Hollywood SignOne of my biggest travel goals is to visit the Turner Classic Movies Film Festival held in California every spring. Ever since I first saw that some of my fellow classic movie bloggers were going to the festival a few years ago, I’ve been saying, “next year I am definitely going!” only to have it not come to pass for one reason or another.

I’m not going to lie, the last few years I have really struggled with jealousy as I read all the blog posts and tweets written by those attending the event and this year is no different. But instead of letting envy get the best of me, I decided to focus on all the things I have to be grateful for (which are many!) and to use those feelings as motivation to figure out ways to make my travel dreams come true.

Over the years I’ve compiled quite the list of classic movie related places I’d like to visit someday and following are just a few of them. My hope for this blog is that one day I will be able to post about visiting most if not all of these places.

  1. The Jimmy Stewart Museum in Indiana, Pennsylvania
  2. The Clark Gable Birth Home and Museum and Clark Gable Bed & Breakfast in Cadiz, Ohio
  3. The Ava Gardner Museum in Smithfield, North Carolina
  4. The Rosemary Clooney House in Augusta, Kentucky
  5. The Kate –  A museum inside the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center in Old Saybrook, Connecticut
  6. Malabar Farm in Lucas, Ohio
  7. The Hollywood Museum in Hollywood, California
  8. Gene Autry Oklahoma Museum – Gene Autry, Oklahoma (this would be in honor of my mom who loved Gene and other singing cowboys) :-)
  9. Warner Brothers Studio Tour in Burbank, California
  10. Vienna Walking Tour – In the Footsteps of The Third Man in Vienna, Austria
  11. The Cypress Inn (co-owned by Doris Day) in Carmel, California
  12. The Waldorf-Astoria Hotel and The Surrey Hotel in New York City – several celebrities stayed or lived in these hotels and Cole Porter’s piano is displayed at the Waldorf-Astoria
  13. Las Vegas – although The Sands Hotel is no longer there, an article in USA Today suggests several ways we can still “experience the Rat Pack in Las Vegas”
  14. Los Angeles Union Station – “one of the last grand train depots in America” and a filming location for the William Holden movie Union Station (1950)
  15. Various restaurants frequented by old movie stars including Sardi’s in New York City, Café La Maze Steakhouse in National City, California and Dominick’s in West Hollywood, California
  16. Francis Ford Coppola Winery in Geyserville, California – I don’t drink wine but still think it would be a beautiful place to visit and I’d like to explore the onsite movie gallery

So, what’s on your list of travel dreams, classic movie related or otherwise? If you’ve been to any of the places I mentioned above, I’d love to hear the story of your visit in the comments below!

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How Being a Chicago Cubs Fan Led to a Love of Old Time Radio

Baseball

One thing that surprises a lot of people about me when they find out is that I am a huge sports nut. I love watching sports both live and on tv, and I am more knowledgeable about sports than a lot of guys I know. Thanks to my dad, I have been a Chicago Cubs fan since I was five years old and a Green Bay Packer fan since about seven or eight.

I watched a ton of games with my dad over the years including my first Cubs game at Wrigley Field when I was 6 years old. I also used to love to sit in our backyard with him on warm summer days and listen to Cubs games on his small transistor radio. Oh, what I wouldn’t give to be able to go back to those days especially now that he is gone. Continue reading →