Friday, April 30, 2021

Touring San Diego

When your good friend who’s a photographer comes to visit, the best part of hanging out is geeking together around town with the cameras. To onlookers, this first shot probably appears strange; to a photographer who likes to look at life in different ways, it’s our oxygen.

It’s always fun to walk around downtown and pay attention to the things I would normally ignore as I either drive by or briskly walk by because I’m on a mission. Below is one of my newer favorite buildings in San Diego, the former Police Headquarters which has been repurposed as an outdoor mall.

They have kept enough quirky touches from the original building to remind you of what it once was.

Nearby is the 25' tall “Unconditional Surrender” J. Seward Johnson sculpture in the Tuna Harbor area that commemorates Alfred Eisenstaedt’s legendary August 14, 1945 photograph taken in Times Square on V-J Day. Art critics are about as laudatory on this piece as the they are about the Rocky/Sylvester Stallone Statue in Philadelphia. The tourists love it.

Bob Hope is just a few steps away.

Also nearby is the Midway Museum, which is located aboard...The Midway. Commissioned a week after the end of World War II, The Midway was the largest ship in the world until 1955.

Heading towards downtown on Broadway we came upon the former 1920s YMCA building, which is now The Guild Hotel. My mom once told me that she played the piano here during WWII for servicemen.

An eclectic mix of buildings in downtown:

They should have a before and after mug for the logo. This does not look appetizing.

The sunset was a bit mild at Pacfic Beach, but still beautiful.

A multitude of captions came to mind when I saw this:

Who knew there were Hidden Mickeys on Crystal Pier?

See more San Diego photos at my main website.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Tea Party with Jayne

Another image from the May 1957 Jayne Mansfield visit to Disneyland; this time she and daughter Jayne Marie are about to take a ride on the Mad Tea Party attraction.

This May 1958 shot shows an unsteady little guest as he finishes his spin; note the Boy Scout at left.

From July 10, 1957 comes this image shot from the Skyway:

Check out the two cast members yucking it up on the sidelines:

See more Disneyland Mad Tea Party photos at my main website.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Temple Tuesday: 93rd Birthday Anniversary Blowout!

Last Friday (April 23rd) was the 93rd Anniversary of Shirley Temple’s birthday; I think that deserves a photo blowout supreme, don’t you? Shirley’s birthday was an annual event to top all events, both personally and in the movies. In 1934’s “Baby Take A Bow,” she received a coveted ballet dress AND performed for her guests. So giving! Shirley was also on hand for her friends’ birthdays, too, including Bill Robinson, who was celebrating at Fox circa May 1935 in what is now known as the Shirley Room:

In “Captain January,” Shirley received a cherished hand-carved doll from Cap (Guy Kibbee); unfortunately the birthday fun was temporarily dampened by an unplanned visit from the mean old truant officer (Sara Haden). How dare she!

On her eighth birthday (which she still thought was only her seventh) in 1937, British actress and music hall star Gracie Fields stopped by Shirley’s Brentwood home for a piece of cake. Looks delish, Shirley!

If you don’t think Shirley’s birthdays were a big deal, get a load of these pics showing her birthday parties at Fox. From 1938:

Here’s what the invite looked like:

And like every polite well-mannered girl of the time, Shirley wrote thank-you notes!

From April 1939:

Zooming in for a closer look at Shirley:

The Fox Studio Chef himself wishes Shirley a happy birthday in 1939:

One of Shirley’s most famous movie birthdays was in “The Little Princess.” Moments afterward, she learns her dad is dead and that she’s penniless. Happy Birthday, indeed!

On her eleventh birthday (which was actually her 12th), Shirley serves up her own birthday cake in between takes on the set of “Young People,” April 23, 1940:

Like the rest of us, the birthdays kept on rolling for Shirley, like her sweet sixteen which was held during the filming of “I’ll Be Seeing You.” Here she is allowing her stand-in Mary Lou Isleib to take a whiff of the perfume she received:

On the set of “Honeymoon,” Shirley cuts the cake with her then husband, John Agar:

Many of Shirley’s former costars/coworkers stopped by to celebrate with her, including Adolphe Menjou and James Dunn:

Shirley turned legal on the set of her 1949 film, “The Story of Seabiscuit”:

The last birthday photo of Shirley in my collection is from the Red Skelton show, which was in 1963:

Happy Heavenly Birthday, Shirley! I hope it was a good one!

See more Shirley photos at my main website.

Monday, April 26, 2021

Manhattan Monday

“Tales of Manhattan” to be more exact. In 1942, Twentieth Century-Fox released the anthology film by that name, based on Francisco Rojas Gonz├ílez's novel, Historia de un frac ("Story of a Tailcoat"). It took thirteen writes to put together six different stories about the effect that a supposedly cursed suit has on its owners. The all-star cast included Rita Hayworth, Cesar Romero, Ginger Rogers, Edward G. Robinson, and Paul Robeson. W.C. Fields filmed what was to be the fifth “tale” (tail vs. tale, get it?), which was ultimately deleted for purposes of length and tone.

When previewed, Fields’ sequence, which also starred Phil Silvers, Marcel Dalio, and Margaret Dumont, stole the show. Supposedly other cast members were not happy about how Fields dominated the movie, so in the end, it was cut. The footage survives, and has been released, along with the alternate takes of which there were many.

Each take is a gem, as Fields ad libs the lines differently in each one.

Wait, Margaret Dumont? That’s correct. She wasn’t strictly a straight woman for the Marx Brothers.

In fact, she had just previously worked with Fields in “Never Give a Sucker an Even Break” over at Universal in 1941:

When “Manhattan” was filmed, Fields was on the physical decline. At the age of 62, his life of drinking had caught up with him, and studios were not inclined to hire him to carry a film. His frequent ad-libbing made it difficult for directors (and actors) to work with him as well. Fox figured putting him in a short-sequence in “Manhattan” would be the best way to minimize their risk.

If you get the chance to see this sequence and its outtakes, do so! Here it is on youtube:

See more Classic Movie photos at my main website.

Friday, April 23, 2021

Neon at the Hotel Churchill

While visiting a friend at his downtown condo, I looked out his balcony and saw a perfect view of this vintage neon sign - STILL AGLOW!! Of course I came back with my camera and my 600mm lens to capture this shot at sunset. I had passed the Hotel Churchill many times on the way to work when I used to catch the bus from downtown. It looked fairly seedy, as if it had seen better days. Apparently it has been repurposed as an affordable housing project. Just in case you wanted a closer look at the neon tubes:

Here’s a vintage postcard of the Hotel back in its heyday, most likely not long after its 1914 opening. The neon does not appear to have been installed yet:

A vintage postcard showing the lobby:

…and the dining room, which must be where that “famous food” was served:

Got a match?

This 1960s era postcard shows the neon sign:

See more San Diego photos at my main website.