Born on this date, October 1: Minta Durfee in 1889; Stanley Holloway in 1890; Alice Joyce in 1890; Ted Healy in 1896; Louise Lorraine in 1901; George Coulouris in 1903; Everett Sloane in 1909; James Whitmore in 1921; and Laurence Harvey in 1928.
All links lead to each actor's IMDb page, set to open in a new tab.
Cliff's Notes, Part 1
Just butting in to say hello up here, near the top of this post, but I'll return with a few announcements after the October TV recommendations.
Work on the book is progressing—dare I say it—at a speed I had anticipated. The main body of the book is all but done, though I'm trying to meld a few last minute findings into the text. Endnotes have helped, especially when I don't want to force info where it doesn't naturally belong. I've sent a copy to the gentleman who will be writing the foreword and, good news, he still wants to do it! In fact, last I heard he was reading it over a second time. I'll reveal that name once I have his finished copy in hand. I'm probably about 10-14 days from sending my best effort out to a few selected beta readers, which will then give me time to finish formatting endnotes and start scanning and organizing images. Once I hear back from the beta readers I'll make necessary changes and have a copy that's final except for the index. That comes last, and I hear it's going to be a lot of fun to tackle! It's going to need it though. The tentative title is the very simple Helen Twelvetrees, Perfect Ingenue, with a subtitle to follow. I don't want to say when I'll be done, I'm just going to cross my fingers that it continues at a speed I am anticipating.
Okay, here's what's on the tube this month. I'll be back with more site-related notes underneath ...
TCM TV Alerts through ... October 31:
These titles play on TCM's US schedule and all quoted times are for my own local Eastern time zone.
TCM's Star of the Month for October is David Niven, who's featured in 38 movies playing on Monday evenings throughout the month. The TCM Spotlight focuses on "Trailblazing Women," which starts strong but turns out very heavy on the recent "classics." I suppose that's a statement about the subject, but I wish the majority of it could be made on another channel. And it's October, so all of the usual horror titles are rolled out, usual in this case defined as non-Universal horror titles. But October does have its charms (I always say that!), most especially in a couple of birthday marathons and several silent films including an evening of formerly lost titles.
—Selective recommendations for the month of October on TCM ... don't miss these:
Thursday, October 1, beginning at 8:00 pm - October opens with the TCM Spotlight, this month focusing on "Trailblazing Women." The early stuff plays tonight beginning with six from pioneer director Alice Guy-Blache, the first of which is from the nineteenth century! They are followed by features from Lois Weber and Frances Marion, and then the highly recommended Frances Marion documentary Without Lying Down (2000 - 1:45 am).
Saturday, October 3, 8:00 pm - Victor Seastrom's The Wind (1928) starring Lillian Gish is the first Saturday night TCM Essential this month. Silent film, also one of the most gripping you will ever see.
Tuesday, October 6, 6:00 am - Dodsworth (1936) featuring a titanic performance from the great Walter Huston.
Tuesday, October 6, 3:15 pm - Finishing School (1934). Sweet rich girl Frances Dee falls in love with middle class Bruce Cabot, who is decent in these early leading man roles, even if I keep waiting for him to be nasty! Ginger Rogers also on hand as Dee's roomie at the finishing school of the title.
Thursday, October 8, 9:00 am - Colleen (1936). To emphasize, I'll steal a bit from the Leonard Maltin critique found on TCM's page: "neglected Warner Bros. musical is quite good," though I'm not sure I agree with it being Hugh Herbert's "definitive performance." With all of your favorites: Dick Powell, Ruby Keeler, and Joan Blondell.
Thursday, October 8, 12:15 pm - The Toast of New York (1937) starring Edward Arnold as Jim Fisk with Cary Grant in support in this historical look at high finance in the nineteenth century. Good stuff from Donald Meek as Uncle Dan'l Drew.
Friday, October 9, 7:45 am - The Silk Express (1933). Okay, I should mention that Buster Keaton's The General (1927) plays just before this, but you've seen that before. This B release features Neil Hamilton atop a cast with Sheila Terry as leading lady, plus several great character actors in important roles: Arthur Byron, Guy Kibbee, Dudley Digges, Arthur Hohl, Allen Jenkins, Harold Huber, and Robert Barrat. I mean, come on, that's the full roll call! Basically a Warner Bros. quickie riff on Paramount's Shanghai Express. Fast and fun.
Sunday, October 11, 12:00 am - Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1920) starring John Barrymore. Small early supporting role for Louis Wolheim in the classic as well.
Wednesday, October 14, 6:00 am - 8:00 pm - A Lillian Gish birthday marathon of six movies including Broken Blossoms (1919) at 11:15 am.
Thursday, October 15, 6:00 am - 8:00 pm - A Mervyn Leroy birthday marathon of eight movies including quintessential pre-Code Three on a Match (1932 - 7:15 am); top flight musical Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933 - 9:45 am); a sometimes shocking look at the personalities surrounding a controversial murder case in They Won't Forget (1937 - 2:00 pm); and sweet romance over the ages and amnesia in Random Harvest (1942 - 3:45 pm). All among my favorites.
Sunday, October 18, 8:00 pm - 3:45 am - "Lost and Found" features four early (1916-1920) features that were formerly considered lost movies: Harry Houdini in The Grim Game (1925 - 8:00 pm and 11:45 pm); William Gillette in Sherlock Holmes (1916 - 9:30 pm); and Roscoe Arbuckle in The Round-Up (1920 - 1:15 am) and The Life of the Party (1920 - 2:30 am).
Friday, October 23, 11:15 am - 8:00 pm - A seven-movie Genevieve Tobin marathon includes a couple of favorites that I've covered in detail, Dark Hazard (1934 - 12:30 pm) starring Edward G. Robinson, and Snowed Under (1936 - 6:45 pm) with George Brent.
Thursday, October 29, 7:45 am - Freaks (1932). Yup, it's that time of year.
Friday, October 30, 8:15 am - 8:00 pm - Seven Hammer Horror features include The Mummy (1959 - 8:15 am) and, my personal favorite, Dracula A.D. 1972 (1972 - 6:15 pm). Yeah, that last one is way outside the boundaries of this site, but Cushing and Lee plus London hippies? Always a winner here. I don't think I've seen Crescendo (1972 - 4:45 pm), so I'll be sure to circle that one for myself.
Saturday, October 31, Halloween. Highlights include Doctor X (1932 - 7:00 am), White Zombie (1932 - 8:30 am), and, probably my favorite of TCM's October horror selections, the Ealing Studios portmanteau Dead of Night (1945 - 11:30 pm).
Jeesh, they couldn't license even one Universal horror classic this year?
Other titles TCM plays this month that I have reviewed or otherwise written about on the site:
Sunday, October 4, 12:00 pm - The Killers (1946)
Sunday, October 18, 6:00 am - Andy Hardy's Private Secretary (1941)
Sunday, October 25, 7:45 am - Kings Row (1941)
Cliff's Notes, Part 2
New posts will continue to be sporadic as I continue work on the book, but knowing that I need the occasional kick in the pants to keep myself from disappearing too much, I've gone and volunteered new material for several upcoming blogathons. Here's what's coming up:
October 19-24, the CMBA Fall Blogathon: Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. Well, I don't drive and I won't fly, so it's no surprise that I'm taking to the rails for this one with coverage of Josef von Sternberg's Shanghai Express (1932). I'll be honest, I waited on choosing a topic for this blogathon, planning to go with the title I mentioned up above, The Silk Express, after I saw somebody had volunteered their efforts towards this one. But nobody did. So here I am.
By the way, my blogging absence has kept me from showing off this shiny banner I was recently awarded by the same Classic Movie Blog Association:
Oh yeah! I earned that baby with a touch of Twelvetrees in my post about the Real-Life Society 'Honor Slaying' and the two 1932 movie releases that were based on it. Thanks very much to all of my fellow CMBA members who voted for my article, and congratulations to all of the other CMBA Award Winners! You'll find a list with links to the winning posts HERE.
Up next on the blogathon list:
October 24-26, the Silent Cinema Blogathon, hosted by In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood and Lauren Champkin. The subject is a bit wide, so I had to brainstorm a bit and decided to stick with the theme established up above. I'll be covering Josef von Sternberg's Underworld (1927) on one of the dates this one is running, so you can bet I'll be having some Fun in a Chinese Laundry in between my other work this month.
You can see a list of contributing blogs and the subjects they've chosen to write about HERE.
October 29-31 - Shhh, this one hasn't been announced yet, so out of courtesy to the host I'll just let you know what I'll be covering. Another one that took some thought, but I managed to tie to Helen Twelvetrees by selecting The Cat Creeps (1930), which ought to be a doozie of a post since the film is lost. Don't worry, it's covered in the book, so I've got a pretty good grip on it.
Banner to come on this one. Once I have access to that, I'll post banners for all four of these blogathons to the Immortal Ephemera sidebar for easy access.
November 14-16, the return of WHAT A CHARACTER! hosted by Kellee at Outspoken & Freckled, Paula at Paula’s Cinema Club, and Aurora at Once Upon a Screen. I love this blogathon! This year's edition if the fourth annual and will also be the fourth that I participate in. In previous years I've used this blogathon as an excuse to write detailed biographies of David Laudau, Hugh Herbert, and Grant Mitchell, and this year I've decided to go with Guy Kibbee.
You'll find a running list of contributors and their topics on, let's see, Aurora's blog, right HERE.
Will I be back before the first of those blogathons? I do hope so, since it's nearly three weeks away. I have a backlog of Warner Archive DVD-Rs to review, so perhaps I can jump in with one of those before I get going on the von Sternberg pieces.
Have a great month, and I'll talk to you soon!