Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Temple Tuesday: Shirley Speaks Out!

When the name “Shirley Temple” comes up, most people think of the little girl that cheered up movie audiences during the 1930’s Depression with her songs, dances, and positive attitude. In 1972, Shirley performed an even greater service by speaking publicly about her breast cancer surgery. While this may not seem like much in an era of over-sharing, Shirley’s bravery was incredible as breast cancer was a taboo topic that many women were too embarrassed about to mention in public. Accompanying this publicity shot was the following caption:

11/6/72 STANFORD, CALIF: Shirley Temple Black, former child movie star, disclosed 11/6 that she has undergone surgery for removal of a breast because of Cancer. Mrs. Black is shown recovering at the Stanford medical Center here 11/6. She had the operation last Friday.

My memory was jogged about this courageous action when Shirley expert supreme, Rita Dubas, put a video on her youTube channel showing Shirley’s May 25, 1973 appearance on “The Mike Douglas Show.” Guests included Tony Bennett, Muhammed Ali, Corbett Monica (comedian), and Lorna Luft, (daughter of Judy Garland). “As a child, a star that the whole world adored,” Douglas said in his introduction. “As an adult, a concerned American and special assistant to the chairman of the President's Council of Environmental Quality. Here is Mrs. Shirley Temple Black.” Predictably, Shirley’s entrance was accompanied by a piano arrangement of “On the Good Ship Lollipop.” Douglas immediately mentioned a previous appearance on his show where they had shown a movie clip from one of her childhood films. “What kind of feelings does that evoke?” “I feel all of 45 years old,” Shirley replied, “which is what I am!” Shirley was not one to wallow in the past or rest on her laurels of long ago.

Just a few months before, Shirley had written an article about her experience with breast cancer that appeared in the February 1973 issue of McCall’s magazine.

Douglas asked her why she announced the news in this fashion. “It was a shock to me to find out that I had this malignant problem, and I had one day to make a decision between the biopsy and the mastectomy…in other words, the removal of a breast. And so, during that one day between the biopsy and the operation itself, I thought, ‘What can I do to help my sisters in the United States and in the World?’ And I talked to my daughters and my husband, and my son, and decided that it would be best to announce that it happened to me, and maybe that way I could help my sisters to check for unusual lumps, and unusual symptoms, and to go to the doctors regularly, and to do self-examinations.” Shirley received 50,000 letters in just two short weeks after the surgery. She wrote the article the day she got home and finished it in two weeks. “I hope that ladies will read it.…I titled it, ‘Don’t sit home and be afraid’ because I’ve got three girlfriends at home right now that have lumps, and they are afraid, and they’re not going to the doctor, and I keep calling them up. They don’t like to hear me on the phone anymore! But you know, if you don’t make the decision to do this, the alternatives are worse, because you die. It’s that simple.”

The episode shows a very poised and knowledgeable woman who answered candidly all the questions that Douglas asked about her experience. With humor when it was appropriate, Shirley showed all of the world that she was a brave woman who had much to do with her life and was not about to let cancer get in the way. Here is Shirley’s portion of that show; definitely worth watching.

In chatting back and forth about this episode, Rita remembered a recipe that Shirley had shared on television once (probably on an earlier Douglas episode) for Shirley Temple Black’s Quick Dinner. Rita recalls it being a delicious mixture of chopped beef, tomato paste, and vegetables in a skillet. Her mom sent away for the recipe, but it has been lost to the ages. Anyone out there recall or have this treasured recipe?

See more Shirley Temple Black photos at my main website.

Monday, October 18, 2021

Petrified on a Monday

Don’t get petrified by the start of another week; instead, focus your petrification on the tree at Disneyland’s that has graced the Frontierland landscape since 1957. This June 1961 shows “Anna and June.” Perhaps Anna is encouraging June not to be afraid of Mondays. In the background is Don Defore’s Silver Banjo Barbecue,” the only restaurant in Disneyland history (so far) to bear the name of a non-fictional person that was also owned by said individual.

I found this shot that I had taken in February 2012, offering a similar perspective:

Here’s the plaque that tells the backstory:

I hope your weekend is off to a great start! See more Disneyland Petrified Tree photos at my main website.

Friday, October 15, 2021

TGIF: R&R at the Chateau

Remember when Instagram was about posting pretty pictures? And Facebook was for connecting with friends and sharing your life adventures? Nope…me neither. They have devolved into platforms for people to spew out their opinions and anger. I get it; times have been crazy the last year and a half. I just don’t necessarily need to know everybody’s rants and raves. Neither does Willis. So…we packed our bags and went to our zen place: The Chateau Marmont.

Our burdens lifted the minute we entered its historic walls. When my friends hear I have gone there, they often ask, “What did you do while you were there? Did you go see anything?” The answer is usually, “no.” The Chateau is enough. I park my car, and I literally unwind. 

Willis and I sat by the pool and did some research for future blog posts (as well as continued work on the upcoming Daveland book) and even finished reading a book (gasp!). Willis is good about reminding me that it’s time to eat.

Old habits die hard and I still found myself scrolling through Instagram photos. This one from a painting company was tagged “Chateau Marmont.” See the Chateau through the view of the window on the left?

Lo and behold the view from my window:

 The house getting painted. I let them know they were doing a nice job!

While in the room, the Chateau’s music selection is perfectly eclectic; just the way I like it.

Sometimes I pretend I’m from a 60s rock group and explore the fire escape.

Willis knows I’m busy taking photos so he just sleeps a lot and gives me that “do not disturb” look.

During dinner, classic black and white movies are shown (sans sound) in the living room area off the lobby and sometimes the patio:

Breakfasts were hearty:

…and so were the desserts.

A new gate to the pool had been installed since my last visit; notice the “CM” at the top:

When I left, I felt renewed and ready to take on the world again. Thanks as always, Chateau, for being my safe haven from the rest of the world. Until next time…

See more Chateau Marmont photos at my main website.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Disneyland Tour, July 1958: Alice Appears

Alice in Wonderland was a little late to the game; almost three years late, as her opening at Disneyland didn’t occur until June 1958. These are some of the earliest images of the attraction, from July 1958. What I love about this first image is that it captures the Omnibus on its original route, when it actually drove into Fantasyland. The steps on the right in the detail shot below took guests up to Holiday Hill, which is where the Matterhorn would materialize one year later.

The female cast members were attired like the animate heroine:

This August 1958 was taken from overhead by a guest on a Skyway bucket (as was the first shot):

Three Alices, but no blondes!

Three from September 1958:

This one also shows the path up to Holiday Hill (entrance at the left of the photo):

Yup, themed trash cans were around even in 1958:

This black and white image is also from 1958; Skyway buckets float over Holiday Hill:

Mom takes the three kids out for a spin:

Sadly, no vintage interior shots in my collection. Hopefully these exterior views will suffice!

See more Disneyland Alice photos at my website.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Angelus-Rosedale Cemetery

My Hattie McDaniel post motivated me to visit Angelus-Rosedale Cemetery on a recent Los Angeles trip. There were a number of other notable “residents” that I wanted to check out, too. Armed with my list and camera, I drove to the historic West Adams District just southwest of Downtown L.A. Originally named Rosedale Cemetery, it opened in 1884 and was the first L.A. cemetery open to all races and creeds. Rosedale was also the first to use the concept of lawn cemeteries, which meant the grave marker did not extend above the natural ground level. In 1993, Rosedale was bought by the Angelus Funeral Home and renamed Angelus-Rosedale Cemetery. Hattie’s marker reflects the lawn cemetery concept. Very simple and tasteful, only the years are given; no dates.

A shot of Hattie receiving the Best Supporting Actress Oscar with presenter Fay Bainter at the Ambassador Hotel’s Cocoanut Grove nightclub, February 29, 1940: 

Back to Angelus…I could have spent quite a bit of time here, recording the historic markers and statues. For me, a visit through an old cemetery is like walking through history.

The next one on my list was Dooley Wilson, best known for playing Sam in “Casablanca.” No dates for Dooley and his wife, either; just the birth and death years.

An autographed publicity photo of Dooley for “Casablanca”:

…and one with Humphrey Bogart:

Sam didn’t want to play “As Time Goes By” because he knew his boss, played by Bogie, would not approve.

But how can you say “no” to Ingrid Bergman?!?

Ever wonder what happened to the piano that Sam “played” (Dooley actually faked it; he couldn’t play the piano)?

In November 2014, it sold for $3,413,000 at an auction by Bonhams. From the listing:

A "studio" 58-key piano on wheels, with wood and plasticine keys, likely manufactured by Kohler & Campbell, 1927, serial # 252636, with label of Richardson's of Los Angeles to interior case, and with "FNP" (for First National Pictures, which merged with Warner Bros. in 1927) marking to rear of piano. With original stool. Lid of piano hinged at center as is usual with uprights, but also entirely detached from upper case and instead secured with hook and eye (altered for the production of Casablanca so that Rick can open the piano lid from the rear and hide the transit papers). One-inch notch to center left piano leg (visible onscreen) and three small holes to piano lid (also visible onscreen). Petrified chewing gum wad stuck to underside of keyboard with faint impression of a fingerprint visible under magnification. Moroccan paint restoration executed in the early 1980s under the direction of Warner Bros. studio. Together with a signed photograph of Dooley Wilson as Sam at the piano and a copy of the film. 39" x 41" x 22"

This piano and another were pulled from the Warner Bros. prop room for the film (our piano still has the "FNP" marking on the verso). George James Hopkins, the set decorator on this and many other Warner Bros. films, checked out a book from the Warner Bros. reference library, La decoration Marocaine (Paris: 1925) by Joseph de La Nézière to help him design the look of the film. Inspired by the patterns and colors illustrated in this book, Hopkins created the elaborate Moroccan designs that grace the piano. (The owner confirmed this information via a personal interview with Hopkins in the early 1980s.)

What sets this piano apart from the other is that the lid has been altered to accommodate a pivotal plot point. Even in the stage version, Everybody Comes to Rick's, the piano was always the hiding point for Ugarte's transit papers. In the film, however, the writers come up with the clever "misdirect" of having Rick hide them in plain sight of the entire room by depositing the papers quickly under the lid of the upright as Sam plays. The only way this works, however, is if the lid opens from the rear: otherwise Rick would have to reach over Sam's shoulder to hide the papers, a hardly subtle move. The solution to this staging problem was to have the prop department completely remove the top of the piano, leaving the piece secured by a hook and eye only.

The other piano from “Casablanca,” which appears onscreen in the Parisian flashback sequence, sold in 2012 for $602,500.

From NBC News:

A piano used in the classic film "Casablanca" sold for just over $600,000 on Friday, falling far short of predictions that it could fetch $1 million or more. The 58-key upright piano on which actor and singer Dooley Wilson performed "As Time Goes By," the signature song of the 1942 film's star-crossed lovers played by Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, sold at Sotheby's for $602,500 including commission. The auction house had assigned the iconic prop a pre-sale estimate of $800,000 to $1.2 million, given some astonishing prices attained by movie memorabilia in recent years.

Back to Rosedale (me and those durn digressions)…the next one on my list was Maria Rasputin, the daughter of Russian mystic Grigori Rasputin, aka “The Mad Monk.” Yes, my interests are all over the board.

As is typical with me, I took my time finding my attention being diverted by the other interesting markers, sculptures, and crypts.

A cool pyramid! The inhabitant is Walter Shotto, who was originally buried in Michigan where he died in 1881 at the tender age of seven months. His grave was shifted to Rosedale where his parents were buried and interred in the family mausoleum.

This one went along with what happened next; I was busted by a security guard who told me photos were not allowed. Ok…I’ll play nice. However, he went on at length about Netflix wanting to shoot there, and then about females shooting naked butts in the cemetery, and how he knew it was porn, and even though the girls were pretty…

Good Lord, just get me out of here already.

But yes, I will be back! See more Cemetery photos at my main website.