Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Temple Tuesday: Citizen Kane, Orson, and Shirley

I have been making it a habit to pop in an old classic film while eating dinner. Recently, I got out my “Citizen Kane” blu ray disc. Gregg Toland’s cinematography is even better when you watch this classic black and white film in high definition. Or is it? For the first time, I noticed a detail that had eluded me on other home video incarnations: after the March of Time newsreel is played, Joseph Cotten has a very tiny cameo as a reporter. A few scenes later, he is playing Kane's best friend, Jed Leland, sitting in a wheelchair in a nursing home.
Were original prints of the film developed darker so that audiences wouldn’t notice this? Or did Orson Welles need an extra in the scene so badly that he had Cotten doing double duty? Or was it some kind of inside joke? I have no idea. However…I also noticed something else. In the newsreel footage that shows Xanadu, the fictional estate of Charles Foster Kane, a swimming pool is shown:
My memory bank went off and I remembered seeing a similar pool in the 1934 Shirley Temple movie “Now and Forever.” I happened to be talking to my friend Melissa (aka “The Colonel”) and told her my theory. A few minutes later she said it WAS the same pool! I pulled out my “Now and Forever” dvd and sure enough! The two frames of film are identical!
In fact, you can even see Carole Lombard and Gary Cooper in the shadows of both movies! Here are two publicity stills from the film, with Shirley in the first one:
Now the REAL mystery; where was/is this pool located? Here’s an establishing shot from the other side in “Now and Forever”:
If anyone out there knows the answer, please comment!

Orson apparently was neighbors with Shirley for awhile. In my collection I have a shot of Orson at her home in 1939, with Shirley playing on her little backyard rollercoaster. This visit was staged for the press.
Shirley recalled it in her autobiography Child Star:

"Did you hear my program about Martians [War of the Worlds]?" "Yes," I stroked my ball and scowled. It had stopped wide of the final wicket. "Nelson Eddy was why I listened." Welles turned and leaned on his mallet, waiting. My evening routine included listening to Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy. I explained that when guest Eddy came on to sing, I switched stations and stumbled on his. "Did you believe my program?" he asked, striking a pleasing pose for our photographers. "No, I knew it wasn't true." Taking careful aim, I knocked his ball slightly away from the mouth of the final wicket, leaving mine in good position. His return shot caromed my ball away into a difficult lie. "How did you know?" he asked. Engrossed with my final chance, I said nothing and concentrated. I missed. "Well," I replied resignedly, "if men from Mars had come here, why would just your program be broadcasting the news? That didn't make sense, so I didn't believe it."

Afterward, one reporter wrote: "The gentlemen of the press passed a pleasant afternoon and left with the conviction that Mr. Welles, who is only 13 years older than Shirley Temple, is as agreeable as he is talented." That was probably one of the last positive things the press wrote about Orson, who was smeared hard by William Randolph Hearst after the release of the not-so-fictional “Citizen Kane” was released.

Here’s another shot of Orson and Shirley, from The Pump Room at the Ambassador Hotel in Chicago with Ruth Gordon, September 15, 1944. Shirley was making appearances selling war bonds at the time.
To think that Shirley came THIS CLOSE to being in “Citizen Kane”! It boggles the mind!

See more photos at my main website.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Temple Tuesday: The Boy Next Door

We often hear about how Shirley Temple came THIS CLOSE to having the role of Dorothy that made Judy Garland a legend. What you probably don’t hear about is something else they actually DID share: the boy next door. Surely you remember him. He’s the guy who lived at 5133 Kensington Avenue that inspired Judy to sing “The Boy Next Door” in 1944’s “Meet Me In St. Louis.” He was played by Tom Drake, who had a moderately successful career but definitely not one that would pop to the top of most memorable. He was born Alfred Sinclair Alderdice; I can see why he changed his name. That’s a mouthful for a billboard. Once was not enough for Judy though; she also made “Words and Music” with him in 1948. They only had a few seconds of screen time together though, as she was only on board for two musical numbers. That’s Janet Leigh (of “Psycho” fame) on the right.

In 1949, Shirley won Drake away from Judy, as she was the one who ended up with him in “Mr. Belvedere Goes to College,” also starring Clifton Webb.

It’s a mildly amusing film with Shirley as a war widow with a son; Drake plays a college student job coordinator. Of course they fall in love, but not without a few little roadblocks along the way.

It may have all been a moot point, as it appears based on a few sources that Tom actually preferred “the boy next door.”

See more Shirley photos at my main website.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Flashback Friday: Balboa Park

It's embarrassing to think how long this post has been waiting for me to shoot a matching contemporary view (not quite as embarrassing as the VERY cool vintage Disneyland post that has been sitting on my computer for a few years). The initial photo is from February 1962 and shows the San Diego Natural History Museum in Balboa Park. Not a stellar photo, but it does show a set of arches that are no longer there; in their place is a large plaza with a fountain. The first time I attempted the similar view I didn't get the angle right and completely left the Natural History Museum out of the shot.

Flash forward to about six months later and round two. Success!

Here’s a better composed vintage view of the Natural History Museum from September 1963:

It was quite odd to see Balboa Park empty at sunset; normally this is a time when the place is packed. Just a sign of the times.

See more Balboa Park photos at my main website.

Thursday, May 07, 2020

Castle Panorama, 1956

One big juicy panorama of Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle is what I present to you today. What do you see as you zoom in to this shot? I see a girl eating from a Disneyland box of popcorn; I see a woman in a fur stole; I see two little boys that may or may not be twins, yet Mom has dressed them up in matching outfits.

As a follow-up to my Sheriff/Badge posts, Disneyland slide collector supreme Bill Cotter graciously supplied this 1956 image of Disneyland’s nefarious villain, Black Bart, who appears to be lost in Central Plaza. Ready for a shoot-out, let’s hope everyone was safe as he made his way back to Frontierland!
See more Sleeping Beauty Castle photos at my main website.

Tuesday, May 05, 2020

Temple Tuesday: Shirley Goes Latin!

What happens when Shirley and Cinco de Mayo collide? You’ll find out today! Cinco de Mayo (aka the fifth of May) celebrates the date of the Mexican army’s May 5, 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War. A relatively minor holiday in Mexico, it has become a commemoration of Mexican culture and heritage here in the U.S.

There weren’t many Latin-themed elements in Shirley’s movies. The only one I could think of was the pitiful “Honeymoon.” About the only thing I can recommend about it are two dance numbers that Shirley performs.

The movie is set in Mexico; the premise is that an underage Shirley is supposed to meet her honey, Guy Madison, in Mexico to be wed. Trouble immediately begins when they have difficulty finding each other. With the help of the American Consul, played by Franchot Tone, things work out...until Shirley falls off a pool diving board and lands on Franchot. When she wakes up, she’s in love with him. She’s 17; Tone was in his 40’s, and his character was engaged. Oh, and falling off a diving board onto Madison was how those two fell in love. Are you with me yet? If you say “no,” I can’t blame you. There’s a bit of an ‘ick’ factor to the Tone-Temple storyline; so bad that actor Joseph Cotten turned the role down, even though it meant he was to be put on suspension. Wise career move, Joseph!

This series of publicity photos was taken by famed LIFE photographer Peter Stackpole:

In early March 1946, RKO announced that the film was to be shot in and around its new Churubusco studios near Mexico City. Because of a workers' strike in the Mexican film industry, filming was delayed by a month. The cast and crew shot for approximately three weeks in and around the Mexican studio. Over two hundred Spanish-speaking extras were hired to appear in the film. I do not believe Shirley went to Mexico; all of the location shots have a very bad double who looks nothing like our gal. Instead, all of her work was back in the U.S. at the studio.

The film wasn’t released until 1947, receiving a not-so-good review from the New York Times:

The friends of Shirley Temple must be getting a little bit tired of seeing this buxom young lady still acting as though she were a kid. Shirley is no Greta Garbo, which is plain enough to see, but she certainly deserves an opportunity to act smarter than she does in “Honeymoon,” her latest RKO comedy…In this frivolous item, for which frivolous is really a flattering word, she plays a flighty little subdeb who arrives in Mexico City to be married to an American soldier-boy who has flown up from Panama to meet her. But she misses connection with him first, and then when she does finally find him, they have all sorts of trouble getting wed—mainly because Miss Shirley is so casual and careless about things. To be sure, her "Dreamboat," Guy Madison, is no mental giant himself, but with all her foolish behavior, it is no wonder he gets provoked with her at times. However, through the frantic assistance of the American vice consul, Franchot Tone—with whom the little lady, at one point, thinks that she has fallen in love—the whole mess is straightened out nicely, but not until poor Mr. Tone has been driven almost to his wits end and to a break with his fiancĂ©e, Lina Romay. Incidentally, Miss Romay sings more sweetly than does Miss Temple, who has a couple of songs.

The joke was on the Times; Shirley’s two songs were dubbed. Why, I have no idea, as neither song would have been out of her capabilities and the voice she is lip-syncing to is obviously not hers.

I hope you’re Cinco de Mayo is a blast; have a margarita for me! And if you decide to watch this movie, you should have at least TWO margaritas!

See more Shirley photos at my main website.

Monday, May 04, 2020

Cruising into another week

Is it Monday? Hard to tell anymore. Every day seems to blend into the next. This 1956 image of the Jungle Cruise dock really speaks to me today. The skipper has just emptied his boat and is about to head to the dock to get another load of guests. While I do feel that I am being very productive during this time of quarantine, there is a sense of monotony in the air.

As a follow-up to last week’s post about the Frontierland Sheriff, I was contacted by Daveland reader and badge collector supreme Michael Hulme.

Here is a poor picture of the Deputy Marshall badge worn in the early days of the park. Your recent photo of Sheriff Lucky is a great photo showing both badges and proving my theory that the Sheriff would rate a different badge than his deputy. I was lucky to obtain the Deputy's badge many years ago on E-bay. As you can see it is badge number 4, so one could assume they are rare. I do not have a Sheriff’s badge and have never seen a good close-up of what it exactly looks like. Judging from the picture I think the Deputy Marshall's badge looks more traditional and is way cooler. It was made by the Sun Badge Company back when Walt wanted everybody to have a themed costume to where they worked in the park. All that started to change around 1962 when the early metal employee badges were phased out for the plastic ones. I doubt the Deputy Marshall's badges lasted that long.

Thanks a million for that info, Michael!

As a follow-up to my post last week giving kudos to Dianne Jacob, I want to thank those who left such supportive comments. In this time of social isolation, knowing that others feel the same way about the restrictions actually made me feel connected again. Irene - I applaud your courage. I also find it funny (but not in a good way) that an entire group of people are being singled out as COVID-19 risks due to their age. In the workplace, that could get you fired! Obviously, a person’s health is not necessarily based on their age. It all depends on how a person has lived their life, genetics, etc. Fifthrider - can I tag along with you on that trip to find common sense?

For the gutless wonder who anonymously posted this:

Please leave the politics out of your site. There are plenty of other places for that, and your views do you no credit -- however much other readers may agree with them.

You are symptomatic of the problem. It’s time that people spoke out for their freedom, even if it’s a little uncomfortable. I rarely get political, but warning: there will be more posts here when I feel the need. That’s why the blog is called “Daveland” and not “Anonymous Land.”

See more photos at my main website.

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Friday, May 01, 2020

A Fair Friday

TGIF with Christopher Fair, the Court Jester of Disneyland, circa 1959. He was hired out of high school to do magic tricks and juggling at the Park; it was his idea to ride around on a unicycle. Here he is in Central Plaza, near the Castle, with the Matterhorn in the background.

See more Disneyland photos at my main website.