I've begun to notice that in between the Tweets and various blog posts, there are lots of little things, Meld-related for the most part, which honestly slip my mind during the week, yet likely deserve to be noted somewhere. Sometimes it's just a matter of getting something down so I remember it myself, other times I find it helps to proclaim a goal so it is eventually completed, and often, hopefully, I find the information is worthwhile to share. I'm going to allow myself to indulge in a weekly column of sorts, which despite what I just said may not necessarily occur on a strict weekly basis, but which attempts to Meld together all the other little stuff that I'd otherwise let slip by.
For instance, I only just now watched Madame Curie (1943) and I did so with no intentions of writing about it anywhere. So why not give it a brief mention, so at least I remember I've seen it (another one to check off the list) and to share how much I've come to admire the work of both Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon. What a fun supporting cast, despite the often odd facial hair, including Henry Travers (you know him, it's Clarence from It's a Wonderful Life) as Pierre Curie's (Pidgeon) father and the familiar tone and profile of C. Aubrey Smith briefly as Lord Kelvin. Dame May Whitty, who's suddenly cropped up in a run of recent movies I've watched, played Pidgeon's mother, and younger faces on the scene included Robert Walker and Van Johnson. Well, the youngest familiar face I knew I knew, but it honestly didn't click that Margaret O'Brien was one of the Curie's daughters until I popped over to the IMDb. As for facts, I unfortunately don't know the true story of the Curies well enough to claim Madame Curie was accurate, but it was a very entertaining biopic nonetheless, as its 7 Oscar nominations back up.
I'd also watched Tyrone Power in Son of Fury (1942) this week, but that one was a second viewing taken in with a notebook by my side, and so I'll save my commentary for more of an in-depth review on the site, hopefully later this week (goal proclaimed!). Honestly, I'd anticipated putting that together this weekend, but when I received an unusual card to add to my Warren William collection I got sidetracked with a viewing of Under 18 (1931), which I eventually wrote about on my Warren William fan site. Quite honestly I didn't care for how that piece came out, as frankly I didn't like the movie all that much, but I did enjoy reading about Marian Marsh afterwards as during my viewing I couldn't help but to wonder where she went since she possessed some level of skill and charm and quite a bit of beauty. I'd worried for a second that she'd died young, but was instead happy to find she lived a long life, dying just 3 years ago at age 93. I'd also previously enjoyed her alongside William in Beauty and the Boss (1932) and more recently in Columbia's 1935 adaptation of Crime and Punishment. She's probably most famed in the part of Trilby, opposite John Barrymore as the title character in Svengali (1931).
I'm reading two books at the moment, which is never a good sign as all it shows is that neither of them is captivating enough for me to put down the other. No, chances are their markers will only move a few pages per week as I wait for a third title to break ranks and take over my spare time. The first is an older used title acquired for research purposes, Actors and American Culture, 1880-1920, by Benjamin McArthur (1984), which actually I ran into during research for an article I wrote on this site a couple of months ago, “I’d Rather Be An Actor Than His Photograph” – Stars from Stage to Film. There's really nothing wrong with the title beyond the fact that my stage knowledge does not move an inch beyond any collectibles I've handled, so I'd say perhaps there's an interest-curve at work here that I need to wrap my mind around before digging in further. The other is Hollywood's Censor", about the Breen and the code itself, which holds promise now that I've glazed past the mini-biography on Breen himself at the beginning of the book. I've recently stuck it up at the top left of the page on the VintageMeld under the heading "What I'm Reading," and I do hope not to keep it up there too long.
I'd had a good run of reading before running into these twin roadblocks, though with much easier material in a run of biographies, the most recent being John Oller's title about Jean Arthur, which while an excellent work on a tough subject may have served to put me off biographies for a little while. It's tough to love the actor on the page 1 and then leave the book finding them seriously flawed. I don't think I'd ever let this color my judgment on Arthur's performances, though at the same time I've yet to watch anything with her in it since finishing the book. There were little introverted eccentricities about Arthur's character that I found charming, and could even to some degree relate to, however no matter how Oller painted it I couldn't help but come away thinking she was beyond weird (which is okay!), but rather an unpleasant person. On the other hand, the book may be a testament to her talent considering how Arthur's characters, while often still a little strange, are always very pleasant! Interesting, how I almost would have preferred to read about her being in some sort of scandal or having done something a little shady than to just have it turn out that I didn't like her!
Listed the last of the large batch of R95's I'd purchased this week. The initial sell-through rate at auction has been disappointing, however the fixed priced sales have been encouraging. It has me dwelling on a possible Collectors Site post about how even rarer collectibles are being commoditized, not by eBay, but by the online market in general and customer's current spending habits, however that's a large subject which I'm in no rush to tackle. I won't name the item, in case the buyer is reading this, but I find it very strange when an item passes at auction for $9.99 one week, and then less than two weeks later sells for just under $40 without any haggling whatsoever. Of course, the buyer never saw the auction, or they would have bought then, but when folks bemoan the death of online auctions I think incidents such as that in part show why. As a side note, I don't believe that the auctions have died, but have always said certain items aren't meant to be auctioned. The gray area is which items deserve which sales format?
Speaking of sales, I took in a collection of 1950's and early 60's movie magazines this week, all featuring Elizabeth Taylor on the cover. I expect to list them all for sale this week and the good news is that upon first inspection they're in much better than expected shape. Another interesting item I've had sitting here for awhile now is an October 1947 issue of Horizon magazine which contains the first published portion of Ralph Ellison's The Invisible Man--the complete title wasn't published in book form until 1952, so this is a pre-first edition which should carry some demand. It's in very nice shape on the whole, though it's overall grade is going to suffer because of a faded spine and especially a piece torn from the top edge of the front cover. I'd like to do a little more research on it before listing for sale.
Our friend Charles Triplett, who shared his fantastic Judy Garland collection with us just last week, has emailed me several photos from the Ava Gardner Museum in his local Smithfield, North Carolina. I'm hoping to cobble together a really good Ava post in this space with his photos sometime next week.
I continue to debate the value of my Movie Profiles & Premiums Newsletter. Published since 2002 to update the interested about the latest happenings on things-and-other-stuff.com, I've found it very tough to put together regularly due to all of the work I've been putting into this site and the Examiner.com column recently. At the very least it's now being published irregularly enough that I believe this will be my last month paying Constant Contact for the pleasure of my own inactivity. That said, the next edition features a profile on silent star Olga Petrova by Tammy Stone and will hopefully be sent prior to my next payment due date of July 15.
Moving to the modern era, I'm ready to enjoy the Home Run Derby and All-Star Game the next couple of days--also reminds me, I've got to list some more vintage issues of The Sporting News for sale sometime soon. For obvious reasons the Home Run Derby lacks the luster of the days of McGwire and Sosa, but beyond the obvious the event is hurt by the better players choosing to sit it out for fear of spending all of their second half power. At least the N.L. is giving us a couple of traditional power hitters in Ryan Howard and Prince Fielder, plus the Great Pujols, but the A.L. field is kind of pathetic with non-power hitting Joe Mauer headlining. I know Brandon Inge is having a great season, but is does anybody outside of Detroit care that he's in the Derby? Instead of "Wow!" this Derby's most common exclamation may well be "Who?!" as Inge and Nelson Cruz take their cuts. I still find the All-Star Game special, but my favorite part since childhood remains the pre-game introductions.
That's about all that's slipping from my fingers right now, at least without trying too hard. Talk to you soon!