Born on this date: Reginald Barlow in 1866; Flora Finch in 1867; Grant Mitchell in 1874; Russell Simpson in 1877; C. Henry Gordon in 1884; Louise Fazenda in 1895; Ralph Bellamy in 1904; and Evalyn Knapp in 1908.
All links lead to each actor's IMDb page, set to open in a new tab.
Classic Movie Daily subscribers will find images of Louise Fazenda, Ralph Bellamy, and Evalyn Knapp, along with a couple of stars mentioned in the TV section, inside today's email.
TCM TV Alerts through tomorrow at 7 am:
These titles play on TCM's US schedule and all quoted times are for my own local Eastern time zone.
—8:15 am - Trouble in Paradise (1932) - Who do you root for, Kay Francis or Miriam Hopkins? (Me: Miriam.) Charlie Ruggles or Edward Everett Horton? (Me: EEE.) And you've got to pull for Herbert Marshall the entire time! Lubitsch accomplishes the near impossible in getting the rest of this movie to live up to outstanding opening scene between Marshall and Hopkins (Still remember dropping my jaw the first time I saw this). The even more sinful Design for Living is my favorite of his films, but I don't have any trouble calling this his best.
Visit this post from the archives to travel through Miriam Hopkins incredible list of pre-Code credits.
—10:00 am - The More the Merrier (1943) - George Stevens WWII Washington-based housing shortage romantic comedy sparkles during the romance between Jean Arthur and Joel McCrea with the best laughs emerging from Charles Coburn, who deservedly picked up an Academy Award for his supporting performance here.
To read about a lesser WWII Washington-based romantic comedy that also touches upon the housing shortage (apparently its own sub-subgenre) see my post about Government Girl (1943) with Olivia de Havilland and—Sonny Tufts.
—2:00 pm - The Awful Truth (1937) - Birthday boy Ralph Bellamy grates on me some during The Awful Truth, but then again, he's supposed to. I get a few more laughs out of Cary Grant and Irene Dunne in My Favorite Wife (1940), but this one is right there as well. I've mentioned my fondness for Dunne in comedy before and while screwball comedies aren't my favorite, the two with Grant and Dunne are at the top of the list of those I do like. Correction, love. Great movie. Directed by Leo McCarey.
How great is it that all-around meek nice fella Grant Mitchell and almost always nasty C. Henry Gordon share a birthday? Two of my '30s character actor favorites! I have an extensive biography of Grant Mitchell on the site, and if you're looking for anything about Evalyn Knapp you may want to scroll down towards the middle of my review of Smart Money (1931) (She has her own subheading immediately following "The Women of Smart Money" section).
Spent a good portion of overnight Tuesday agonizing over RKO's absorption of Pathe for a few important paragraphs inside my Twelvetrees biography. It's so simple—until you go to write it down! So many names of various companies and executives, very hard to word without making myself glaze over. Managed to make the section brief, to the point, and as punchy as possible, but betting I give it another fierce attack on the next draft!
Anyway, the best source for RKO's story in all its detail has got to be Richard B. Jewell's RKO Radio Pictures: A Titan Is Born. I pulled the basic outline of my few paragraphs out of 25-30 pages near the front of his book, then went through the old trade magazines, via Lantern, to make sure all of the names and dates lined-up properly and picked up, as well as filled in, some Helen-specific details that filter through the section.
Tomorrow night I hope to get her through the Selznick regime to her maternity leave, which is going to be an important section when it comes to both her life and career.
Back at you tomorrow—
Issue count: Since going Daily on April 6, I've mailed posts to subscribers 70 out of 72 days.