Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Temple Tuesday: Lions, Rebels, and Cake

In the 1934 Paramount Production, “Little Miss Marker,” Shirley Temple catapulted to stardom thanks to her performance and a solid supporting cast. From left to right, Charles Bickford, Dorothy Dell, Shirley, Adolphe Menjou, and director Alexander Hall. Bickford played Big Steve, a gang kingpin, who helps little Shirley live by allowing for a blood transfusion between the two.

A year later, the two were cast together again in “The Littlest Rebel,” Shirley’s first production for the newly merged 20th Century-Fox film corporation. Playing a similar role, Bickford was a Colonel for the Union army, whereas Shirley’s father was a soldier for the Confederacy.

Although Bickford’s name can be seen on this publicity still, he never made it into the film. Instead, the role of Colonel Morrison went to Jack Holt, since Bickford was mauled by a lion during the filming of “East of Java” over at Universal. Despite the attack, Universal had no problem featuring it in their promotion for the film!

“East of Java” was held up because of Bickford’s bite. He returned for added scenes on November 4, 1935, allowing the film to be released a month later on December 2, 1935; “Rebel” was released December 27. Not only did Bickford lose the role in “Rebel,” he lost his contract with Fox and leading-man status thanks to extensive neck scarring from the attack. On top of that, he was pushing 44, which was considered over-the-hill for a romantic lead. Making lemonade out of lemons, Bickford went on to play a number of memorable character roles, including that of Oliver Niles, the studio head in Judy Garland’s “A Star is Born” (1954).

Although it would have been interesting to see Bickford and Temple together again, Jack Holt did a fine job. You can see from these photos that Virgie (Shirley’s character) eventually won over Colonel Morrison in the film.

Virgie even visited him in prison, since Morrison tried to help her father, Captain Carey (John Boles) escape Union soldiers to get his daughter to safety. No less than President Abraham Lincoln pardoned both Colonel Morrison and Shirley’s father.

Other changes were made along the way. According to the script dated September 12, 1935, the end scene was to have Virgie singing while flanked by Uncle Billy (Bill Robinson) and James Henry (Willie Best). Captain Carey and Colonel Morrison were watching while standing under a flower covered arbor. The two men would be dressed in the uniform of their respective armies, as seen in the still below.

Instead, the film ends with Virgie singing a reprise of “Polly Wolly Doodle” to all the Union Soldiers in the stable where the two men had been imprisoned. An odd place for a celebration!

Unfortunately, this still is somewhat blurry in key areas; I have a feeling it was more of a printing than a lens error.

Holt and Temple also celebrated career milestones during the filming of “Rebel.”

From a vintage publicity blurb (thanks, Melissa, aka “The Colonel”!):

Two popular screen stars celebrated their respective screen anniversaries with a private party consisting of cake, ice cream, etc. Shirley Temple, child screen star, eats cake with Jack Holt, film actor, on the anniversary of her second year as a star and Holt’s twenty-third year before the cameras. The party was held on a film set at 20th Century-Fox Studios. October 16, 1935.

See more Shirley Temple photos at my main website.

Sunday, February 18, 2024

Sexy Sunday on Main Street

One of the most infamous shops at Disneyland was the Intimate Apparel Shop on Main Street, U.S.A., which (not surprisingly) didn’t even last a year.

See the stuffed granny in the rocking chair on the porch? She would welcome you into the splendor of a “museum” that taught you everything you wanted to know about women’s undergarments dating back to the late 19th century. Naturally, you could buy current merchandise, too. I wonder if the tree was put there to intentionally cover the signage from the little kiddies?

This angle from October 1955 gives an unobstructed view:

For those eagle-eyed viewers, you might have noticed the HM Company circle on both sides of the Intimate Apparel shop sign. Here’s an ad from the Hollywood-Maxwell Company, aka “The Wonderful Wizard of Bras.” The little wizard on the left can also be seen on the Disneyland sign between the H and the M.

Edited from the underpinningsmuseum website:

Hollywood-Maxwell was the first in a line of Californian brassiere manufacturers which entered the American market in 1929. Hollywood was a place of glamour and aspiration in the 1930s and it wasn’t long before the American woman’s desire for a movie star look had boosted the sale of the latest bra innovations from these companies, simply via their association with this famous Los Angeles neighborhood. Although most brassiere adverts did not feature movie stars, Hollywood-Maxwell claimed that its products were used exclusively in motion pictures made by Paramount. Hollywood-Maxwell founder Joseph R. Bowen patented a cup stabilization technique he called ‘Whirlpool stitching’ in 1935. This much imitated innovation used concentric rings of stitches to produce a rounded shape in the 1930s and a more pointed cup in the 40s and 50s.

Want to see a Hollywood-Maxwell  label? Of course you do.

The location of the former Hollywood-Maxwell company on Hollywood Boulevard is now the Stella Adler Academy of Acting and Theatre, located next to the Snow White Cafe. I wonder if Snow wore HM brassieres?

This color slide from the opposite angle was stamped August 1956; either the photographer took a long time to develop their slides or the sign (and stuffed lady in the rocking chair) stayed around after the store closed.

By the time of this May 1958 image, all signs of the Intimate Apparel shop had been erased.

From July 1959, a young guest sits on the porch where “granny” used to rock:

The China Closet took over the space; this rare interior shot from October 1960 shows the former location of the Intimate Apparel shop. Note how the trim on the porch matches!

I shot this 2007 image from the Omnibus; the rocking chairs are gone and have been replaced with somewhat uncomfortable wooden chairs.

Today, the door is permanently sealed and there’s a Rolly Crump tribute sign (for Fargo’s Palm Parlor) that hangs over the porch.

Does the Disney Corporation trust its guests? Hell no. NOBODY is walking away with these chairs. They are permanently affixed to the floor.

See more Disneyland Main Street photos at my main website.

Friday, February 16, 2024

Frontierland Friday: Concept Art Comparison

I love comparing concept art with the actual execution of a project. It’s interesting attempting to figure out why changes were made (budget, time constraints, change in direction) and what might have been if plans had been carried out as originally designed. In the art above, it appears that the Indian Village was planned to be located at the entrance to Frontierland. I would agree with the decision to move it behind the gates further back, as it would most likely have created a bottleneck of guests at the entrance. From July 18, 1955, the opening day of Disneyland for the normal folk:

This shot from December 26, 1955 shows the festive holiday decor at the gate:

In this detail view of the concept art, it appears that the original name was to be Frontier Country:

It’s clearly Frontierland in this October 1959 shot! I do like the addition of the flagpole at the entrance inside the “fort.” I can’t remember there ever being a flag ceremony here like the one in Town Square; anyone know about that?

For this piece of concept art facing the river with the Mark Twain in the background, Frontierland looks like your typical movie western main street, with lots of shops and services:

In this July 18, 1955, the final product had fewer shops and a lot of real estate for the miniature horse corral instead.

If you compare this detailed view of the art with photos of Disneyland’s neighbor, Knott’s Berry Farm, it looks very much like that Park’s Ghost Town:

Knott’s Ghost Town, circa May 1966:

A contemporary view of Knott’s

In this third piece of concept art, the name is Frontier Land, but spelled out as two words instead of one (same with True Life Adventure Land in the upper right).

This aerial construction view shows a somewhat similar vantage point. The Mark Twain/Columbia dock area for guests was nowhere to be found in the concept art; that was a nice addition.

Closeup of the construction for the New Orleans Street area (where River Belle Terrace is now):

A color view from October 1955:

Without mature landscaping, it was much easier in the early years to see the other lands in the distance. Still no Matterhorn or Skyway at this point; just the spires of the Castle and the Carrousel.

A 1950s view taken aboard the Mark Twain:

The flagpole or “town square” portion of Frontierland seems to have been closer to the river according to the concept art:

Here’s the flagpole and plaque as shown on Opening Day at the front gate:

The concept art also seemed to include a larger two-story building at the entrance to the Stagecoach/Wagon attraction that took guests through the “desert.” 

Value-engineering at its finest:

You can see the New Orleans inspired balconies on the building connected to the Golden Horseshoe in this detailed view. The bandstand by the river appears to be in the lower right:

The New Orleans Street bandstand on the Rivers of America as it was constructed:

Overall, not too bad as far as building what was promised!

See more Disneyland Frontierland photos at my main website.