Born on August 7: Phillips Smalley in 1875; Greta Meyer in 1883; Billie Burke in 1884; Gordon Harker in 1885; Sydney Howard in 1885; Irene Purcell in 1896; Ann Harding in 1901; Nicholas Ray in 1911; June Travis in 1914; Jane Adams in 1918; and Carl Switzer ("Alfalfa") in 1927.
All links lead to each actor's IMDb page, set to open in a new tab.
In addition to the "birthday" images found at the bottom of this post, Classic Movie Daily subscribers will find larger images of Billie Burke, Gordon Harker, Greta Meyer, and a few of Ann Harding inside today's mailing. Plus some Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer news clippings.
TCM TV Alerts through Monday, August 10 at 7 am:
These titles play on TCM's US schedule and all quoted times are for my own local Eastern time zone.
—TCM Friday, Katharine Hepburn Summer Under the Stars (TCM's page) - After Little Women (1933 - 6:00 am) TCM sticks with '30s Hepburn in the morning, following with Sylvia Scarlett (1935 - 8:00 am), Quality Street (1937 - 10:00 am), and the screwball comedy classic Bringing Up Baby (1938 - 11:30 am). After that it's a block of three Hepburn and Spencer Tracy movies: Pat and Mike (1952 - 1:15 pm), Adam's Rib (1949 - 3:00 pm), and Woman of the Year (1942 - 4:45 pm). In the evening they jump throughout time beginning with a nice selection in the 8:00 pm time slot, Booth Tarkington's Alice Adams (1935) with Fred MacMurray. Then it's The Lion in Winter (1968 - 10:00 pm), Mary of Scotland (1936 - 12:30 am), and Undercurrent (1946 - 4:00 am) to wrap up. While Bringing Up Baby is the best of Friday's offerings, I'm (no surprise) partial to the best of the '30s titles, Little Women, Sylvia Scarlett, and Alice Adams. That said, my favorite Katharine Hepburn playing on Friday are the Dick Cavett Show episodes from 1973. They've split them up, playing Part 1 at 6:45 pm and Part 2 at 2:45 am. It could be worse: you would have had a three-week wait for Part 2 back in 1973.
I wrote about the fanfare surrounding Hepburn's Hollywood arrival during Summer Under the Stars 2012, when Hepburn was also featured. I revisited the post earlier tonight and still chuckled over a few of her quotes.
—Weekend Summer Under the Stars subjects are Raymond Massey on Saturday (TCM.com link) and Robert Walker on Sunday (TCM.com link). I love The Scarlet Pimpernel (1935 - Sat. 9:45 am), though not for Raymond Massey. Massey highlights include back-to-back John Brown portrayals in Santa Fe Trail (1940 - Sat. 11:30 am) and Seven Angry Men (1955 - Sat. 1:30 pm), and his masterful Lincoln in Abe Lincoln in Illinois (1940 - Sat. 10:15 pm). He and Jo Van Fleet are about all I can stand in East of Eden (1955 - 8:00 pm), based on a favored novel by a favorite author. The movie—and Dean—are a huge turn-off. Massey makes a convincing Nazi in Desperate Journey (1942 - Sat. 12:15 am), though an even more convincing Karloff in Arsenic and Old Lace (1944 - Sat. 5:45 pm). I tell you, the idea of "Raymond Massey day" might make you yawn, but it offers an interesting collection of movies. Robert Walker day winds up less impressive, though I always enjoy the classics Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (1944 - Sun. 11:30 am) and Strangers On a Train (1951 - Sun. 8:00 pm). From the less obvious department The Beginning Or the End (1947 - Sun. 1:45 am) about the Manhattan Project is a fascinating movie, possibly my top pick for this weekend. I also love Madame Curie (1943 - Sun. 3:45 am) but, like the first Massey movie I mentioned, not for Walker. It's all Garson & Pidgeon.
—TCM Summer Under the Stars Monday features 24 hours of Joan Crawford (TCM.com link) movies beginning with Tod Browning's bizarre The Unknown (1927 - 6:00 am) starring Lon Chaney. Good silent film for beginners because of general weirdness, plus lots of twists. Lots of missing limbs in this one. It will keep your eyes glued to the screen. I should also mention West Point (1928) with William Haines because it plays next at 7:15 am, when Monday's mailing will be hot off the presses. Another silent film.
—Since I've covered Katharine Hepburn during Summer Under the Stars 2012, and I didn't have any good images on hand picturing Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer, I decided to focus on the latter in today's clippings post.
—That was quick department: early bird routine off, night owl back on.
—This section was originally conceived to comment on my larger writing projects. It's turned a bit dry lately because, unfortunately, editing is not the most thrilling activity to share. Let me correct that: it's fun while you are doing it, especially when you read a paragraph and think to yourself, damn, that's good, as if you were reading another writer. It's frustrating too, difficult not to glaze over reading the same words so many times; moving a comma here or there; suddenly discovering you've used the same word three times within two sentences. The biggest challenge is not getting lazy. So many months and hours put into this project, you don't want to skimp at the finish line. I've found myself inserting full new paragraphs, moving pieces that it pains me to move, removing full old paragraphs, backtracking to find source articles when I read something I don't really remember putting there in the first place. And, like every other aspect of this project, it's taking longer than planned. I'm still reading it on the screen in my word processing program, though I really hope to shape it well enough to print out a hard copy soon. Anyway, boring to talk about. Just a few bits about process, like this, but not much on old movies because that research has already been done. I'll type up my next update on the project once I reach my next challenge or the next step. I know I keep saying it's getting close, but I really think it is. It will pass into other hands for the first time very soon. In short, current message to myself is: don't get lazy!
—If you're looking for some weekend reading, here's a great post from Cameron at The Blonde at the Film on bits of history gleaned through old Hollywood movies. It covers aspects of train travel, WWII housing shortages, doughnuts, and—my favorite—those old movie British accents. It's really four posts in one, every part filled with deep research. Incredible job, packed with images that probably took as long to collect as the research did. A labor of love, absolutely wonderful: History Through Hollywood: 2nd Edition.
Several photos follow, plus those Alfalfa clippings. Enjoy, and have a great weekend—