Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Jazz in Fort Worth

Going through my site I realized that I had never done anything with these photos from my trip to Dallas back in 2016; yes, five years ago. How time flies. One of the places my friends took me to was Scat Jazz Lounge in Fort Worth. Neon at the entrance? Yes, count me in.

Looking at their website, it appears that they are still in operation. I love the summary; it sums up the flavor of the place perfectly:

Like the great old clubs, both real and fictional, Scat Jazz Lounge has the vibe that only exists in our dreams or maybe the movies. Set in the basement of the historic Woolworth building, Scat carries on the New York tradition of the coolest clubs being underground and off the beaten. The idea was to create a club for adults. A place where you can enjoy a great cocktail while listening to some of the best music ever written. Proving that dark and swanky can also be comfortable, we’ve combined rich wood accents with deco curves and rich red curtain to make it easy on the eyes. There are no tv’s and no beer signs, just a great hideaway from every other place.

It was just the kind of experience you would expect from a Jazz club. A little dark, full of conversation, and the kind of music that fills your soul.

I really need to get my saxophone out again and spend some time getting back into shape!

Singing…best left to the pros, like this talented young woman.

At this point in my life, I don’t give a crap if people think I’m weird taking photos of the rest room. It’s neon. Get over it.

See more Dallas, Texas photos at my main website.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Temple Tuesday: Shirley’s Next Chapter

This gorgeous color shot of Shirley was from a photo shoot used on the cover of Photoplay magazine for their November 1950 issue:

Get a load of that jewelry!

Shirley was poised to begin a brand new life. Done with films (for the most part) and (almost) divorced, she gave a (fairly) frank interview to Ida Zeitlin (of course you all know who she is!) titled: “Living Is Fun!”

The tears, the heartache are over. The old unhappy drive is gone. In meeting her troubles halfway, Shirley Temple fell head over heels in love—with life.

This was definitely Ida’s chance for a Pulitzer. What did Ida let us know about Shirley? That she was a completely devoted mother to Susan (“Susu”), that she rarely got to bed before 2am (and no, not because she was out on the town), that she loved Hawaii, that she originally wanted to be a nurse, and that she was spending a good amount of time with a handsome dark-haired man named Charles.

See more Shirley photos at my main website.

Monday, March 29, 2021

Tony at the Chateau

Did anybody hear me go nutz when I discovered this 1960’s image of actor Tony Perkins posing on the balcony of Room 64 (the Penthouse) of the Chateau Marmont? Trust me…I did. The distinctive concrete balcony wall looks the same today, even if the checkered flooring does not.

Apparently Perkins, forever known as Norman Bates in Hitchcock’s classic thriller, “Psycho,” was a frequent resident of the Chateau on Sunset Boulevard. Past owner Raymond Sarlot mentioned the quirky actor him in his book:

Tony Perkins got in the habit of stopping at the desk, removing his shoes, then adjourning to the telephone booth, where he would sit on the floor in his socks.

Fifties actor (and teen idol) Tab Hunter met Perkins at the Chateau, as he recalled in his autobiography:

I was driving back to my apartment, over Laurel Canyon, having just finished my daily chores at the barn. It was one of those sunny winter days that makes everyone want to live in California. Instead of heading home, I decided to stop by the Chateau Marmont for a swim. This famous re-creation of a castle in France’s Loire Valley loomed over a legendary stretch of Sunset Boulevard, directly across from the Garden of Allah apartments, a longtime homestead for many Hollywood stars, and only a stone’s throw from Schwab’s drugstore. The hotel cultivated a bohemian atmosphere and was a home away from home for many New York actors, whom you could spot by their pasty complexions. Despite its prominence, the cloistered Chateau provided plenty of privacy for its tenants, who could laze around the pool without being pestered by starstuck fans. A young movie actor could stop in for a quick dip, even if he wasn’t registered. As I toweled off, someone approached and formally introduced me to a new actor in town, Anthony Perkins. He was living at the Chateau while he made “Friendly Persuasion,” an Allied Artists picture with Gary Cooper and Dorothy McGuire.

From the same photo shoot, Perkins posed against the brick wall located behind the hotel on Marmont Lane:


Author Shawn Levy’s book about the Chateau (definitely not recommended reading; get the Sarlot book instead) would make me think these two shots were from 1964, as he specifically mentions the Penthouse:

In 1964 in the wake of his massive success in Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho,” Perkins came back to Hollywood [from New York] and once again moved into the Chateau, spending the first night by himself sitting on the balcony of his penthouse suite “eating ice cream and looking at the view.”

See more Chateau Marmont photos at my main website.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Temple Tuesday: The Baby Jane Connection

The classic camp horror film “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?” (1962) has a number of Shirley connections. Who knew? At the beginning of the film, we see two little girls in a theatre back in 1917. One is Jane, a famous child star with big blonde curls (more Pickford than Temple, though); the other is her sister Blanche, the wide-eyed and not-so-inwardly jealous one with dark hair.

Julie Allred had her one and only screen appearance in this film as little Jane, apparently due to her family’s religious beliefs. On the flip side, Gina Gillespie (young Blanche), already had quite a healthy number of screen credits by the time “Baby Jane” was made, including two on “The Shirley Temple Show.” Born September 20, 1951, she is the sister of ex-Mouseketeer Darlene Gillespie.

Her first appearance on “The Shirley Temple Show” was in 1960, playing the title character in the “Madeline” episode.

Imogene Coca costarred, doing a beautiful job as Miss Clavel.

Gina’s second appearance was in the January 8, 1961 “Pippi Longstocking” episode. Gina has the distinction of being the first to play Astrid Lindgren’s character in a television or movie adaptation.

And here we have adult Blanche, played by Joan Crawford. Probably the one time you’d ever see this actress looking anything less than glamorous:

Back in 1938, Joan had visited Shirley on the set of “Little Miss Broadway,” giving the star a box of chocolates:

Anna Lee plays the nosy neighbor, Mrs. Bates in “Baby Jane”:

Back in 1948, she costarred with Shirley in the John Ford Western, “Fort Apache.” Irene Rich is the actress in the center:

And there you have it. I didn’t really see any significant connection between Shirley and Bette Davis; perhaps she had heard Vivien Leigh’s famous quote about her when she declined to replace Crawford in “Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte”:

“I could almost stand to look at Joan Crawford's face at 6am, but not Bette Davis.”

See more photos at my main website.

Monday, March 22, 2021

The Return of Allah!

The “lost” Garden of Allah hotel on Sunset Boulevard is one of those vintage Hollywood experiences that I am slightly obsessed with. Located (almost) across the street from the Chateau Marmont, it provided a similar experience for actors, writers, and artists who liked to live on the fringe and play as hard (or harder) than they worked. This aerial view is pre-1951 and shows the Chateau on the fringe left of the shot and Garden of Allah and its distinctive swimming pool top right:

The other day, a friend tagged me in a post about one of the original neon signs reappearing all these years after the hotel closed down and was razed in 1959. How the heck did that happen?!? Here’s a shot of the sign in its heyday:

…and sadly,  how it looks now:

Thinking positively, how incredible is it that it still exists?!?

The main building of the hotel was the residence of silent screen superstar Alla Nazimova and known as Hayvenhurst, after the original owner William H. Hay:

Nazimova converted it into a hotel, hoping it would generate some extra income. Instead, her partners bankrupted her and she was forced to sell, moving east to New York shortly after. Returning to Hollywood in 1938, she stayed in Villa 24 and lived there until she died in 1945. Here is Arch Oboler with Alla Nazimova at the Hotel, September 10, 1940:

One of her final roles was a cameo in “Since You Went Away” (1944) about life on the homefront during World War II. When she recites the poem from the Statue of Liberty, she steals the scene from Claudette Colbert:

Back to Allah (with an “h”): Here is starlet Martha O'Driscoll at the Garden of Allah Hotel pool, June 1937:

Garden of Allah Hotel bungalow 9 with Henry Wilcoxon, 1934. Don’t recognize him? Maybe his role of Pentaur, the pharaoh's captain of the guards in “The Ten Commandments” rings a bell. If not that, how about the priest from “Caddyshack” who gets struck by lightning on the golf course?

Yes, that’s the same guy!

Of course you know this famous Garden of Allah guest, Humphrey Bogart, with his then wife Mary Phillips, shown in their room in the late 1930's


Sorry for all the Allah rambling; back to the point of the post! So what’s happening with the sign? Wish I knew. There is a movement to get the sign installed at the steaming-turd-of-a-monstrosity that Frank Gehry has designed to be built on the property where the Garden of Allah once thrived:

The seller is wanting a cool $50k for it, which puts it out of the reach of the Museum of Neon Art in Glendale. Will the city of Hollywood/West Hollywood step forward and buy this piece of history? Only time will tell!

See more vintage Garden of Allah photos at my main website.

Friday, March 19, 2021

Economy in the Caribbean

Like many of you, I had noticed that some of the faces throughout the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction at Disneyland looked similar. For instance, the unnamed official of Puerto Dorado who is waiting his turn to get dunked shown above, and the whistler in the jail below:

Are you aware that there are two more characters on the attraction that use he same face sculpt, and both of them are also in the Puerto Dorado scene?

Jason over at EarzUp! has done all the legwork; this is truly an amazing post, with photos from yours truly to illustrate his research:

See more Disneyland Pirates of the Caribbean photos at my main website.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Temple Tuesday: Shirley Saves Disney World!

Well, maybe not quite Walt Disney World, but the Diamond Horseshoe Revue in Frontierland at the very least!

While juggling her political career and family, Shirley was also on the board of directors for a number of corporations, including Bank of America, Fireman’s Fund Insurance, United States Commission for UNESCO, United Nations Association, National Wildlife Federation, and...the subject of today’s post, Del Monte Foods and the Walt Disney Company.

Guests loved the Diamond Horseshoe Revue at WDW’s Frontierland. It was an opening day (October 1, 1971) attraction similar to the one at Disneyland in Anaheim, since the writer and comedian, Wally Boag, briefly relocated to Florida to get the new show started. The revue featured live music, sing-along-songs, and a can-can welcome with Slue Foot Sue. Pecos Bill (Boag for a time) even made an appearance, as seen in this 1974 image below:

The hour-long show was performed sometimes ten times daily until it was changed on October 1, 1986 when it became the Diamond Horseshoe Jamboree. At this point, the show was recognized in the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest running stage show of all time.

How did Shirley fit into all of this? According to the story I read on Jim Hill’s website, she used her charms to convince the board of directors at Del Monte Foods that they really should underwrite the operating costs of the show from 1979 - 1984. Who could say “no” to Shirley? Conflict of interest with Shirley being on both boards? Let’s not quibble!

I’m sure Walt was smiling down on her and thanking her for her efforts!

Did you know department: in 1971 Del Monte became the first major U.S. food producer to voluntarily adopt nutritional labeling on all food products.

See more Shirley Temple Black photos at my main website.

Friday, March 12, 2021

Dinner at the Beach

Imperial Beach is pretty much the last beachfront area in San Diego before you hit the Tijuana border. Up until a few years ago, its reputation was not all that fantastic. Let’s just say it wasn’t a part of San Diego that I spent much time in. However, times (and cities) change, and Imperial Beach is definitely on an upswing. Real estate is hard to find here, as those who can’t afford beachfront property farther north have begun investing in this coastal city. The other night, I went to the Pier South Resort Hotel for dinner at their restaurant, Sea 180 Coastal Tavern.

A resort in Imperial Beach?!? Run by Marriott, this place charges $330-480 a night! In Imperial Beach?!? That’s right. This area has definitely entered its renaissance phase. The hotel lobby was very hip and trendy; not sure I’d blow $300+ a night on a room there, but based on their website and “almost sold out” status, somebody is paying that!

Our table for dinner had this view:

The food was great, the service on-point, and of course as you can see, the view was spectacular. Note to self: come back just before sunset!

After dinner, we walked around the main drag which was definitely inviting. I saw a number of cute restaurants, pubs, coffee shops, and sculpture.

LOTS of sculpture!

If you’re ever in San Diego and want to get away from the beach cities that all the tourists hit, go a little further south to Imperial Beach!

See more San Diego and surrounding area photos at my main website.