Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Temple Tuesday: Shirley and the Strad

Publicity is the name of the game, and Shirley Temple not only publicized her movies, but others that were being filmed at the Fox lot. This publicity still shows Shirley with famed violinist Rubinoff. From the accompanying caption:

When Shirley Temple, home from Honolulu, dropped in to visit Dick Powell on the “Thanks a Million” set at Twentieth Century-Fox she found a new friend in Rubinoff, the famous violinist. As a gesture of friendship, Rubinoff allowed her to play with his $100,000 violin - a great compliment.

It appears that Rubinoff owned the violin until 1986 when he died, at which time it passed to his wife, Darlene, who owned it until 2000. I found the violin listed on an auction site with this information:

Rubinoff acquired the “Maurin” Stradivarius, built in 1731, in the late 1920s or 1930s from the Wurlitzer Co., acting as an agent for instrument collector Nathan E. Posner. According to the book How Many Strads? by Ernest Doring,…Posner bought the violin from a woman in Paris. It was known as the “Maurin,” presumably named after a famous late 19th-century French violinist, Jean Pierre Maurin. Mrs. Rubinoff recalled that the violin had been carried out of Russia before the 1917 revolution by the czar's family, hence the name by which Rubinoff called it, the “Romanoff” Strad. Neither Fushi nor the book mentions a Russian history, however. Mrs. Rubinoff said the czar's family sold it to a French courtesan. This part of the story meshes with that in the Doring book, though the timing may not. Fushi believes that Rubinoff had two copies of the original made, that the copies were good, and that the actual Strad may have been sold about 25 years ago to someone in Japan. He offered to authenticate and appraise the violin Mrs. Rubinoff has.

From Rubinoff’s L.A. Times obituary:

Rubinoff was born in Russia, one of five children of a tobacco factory worker and a laundress. He was 5 when he persuaded his parents to buy him a violin. He was studying music at the Royal Conservatory of Warsaw in 1911 when he met composer Victor Herbert, who was so impressed he brought the entire Rubinoff family to Pittsburgh. Rubinoff attended Forbes School in Pittsburgh, where he roomed with John Philip Sousa and became the leader of the school’s orchestra. He worked part-time in a cafe, playing his violin, and sold newspapers on the streets. Rubinoff eventually became a soloist with the Pittsburgh Symphony and went on to guest-conduct orchestras in this country and abroad. His big break came when he got a job as a regular conductor and soloist at the Paramount in New York City. Rudy Vallee saw him and brought him to the attention of the Chase & Sanborn coffee company, which signed him to an NBC contract for “The Eddie Cantor Show.” From 1931 to 1935 “Rubinoff and His Violin” was a regular feature on the show, also known as “The Chase & Sanborn Hour.” The violinist also remained with the program when it moved to CBS from 1935 to 1938. Although Rubinoff’s music was known to millions his voice was not. Reportedly because of his accent, the lines he supposedly read on the air were delivered by Lionel Stander or Teddy Bergman. Over the years Rubinoff performed at the White House for presidents Herbert Hoover, Franklin Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower and John Kennedy.

One more interesting tidbit about Rubinoff. A woman brought a breach of promise lawsuit against Rubinoff in 1937, alleging that he’d invited her to his apartment to see a collection of etchings, seduced her, and later refused to marry her when she claimed to be pregnant. The case was settled, but “Come up and see my etchings” became a popular catchphrase as a result. Remember it being used in “Terms of Endearment”?

The photo below is from Dick Powell’s movie, “Thanks a Million,” the film set that Shirley visited and had her photo taken with Rubinoff.

From the publicity caption:


Dick Powell receives a violin lesson between takes on the “Thanks a Million” set at Twentieth Century-Fox. His music master is none other than Rubinoff, the famous radio violinist. The star is probably the only beginner to commence his lessons on a $100,000 Stradivarius.

Sorry Dick, Shirley was first!

See more Shirley Temple photos at my main website.

Monday, November 29, 2021

Mystery Monday in Hollywood/Los Angeles

This October 1958 image is a mystery, and I am feeling lazy. If I had to guess, I would probably say it shows Wilshire Boulevard. Second choice would be Hollywood Boulevard. Playing the Romper Room game, I see The Broadway Department Store, Thrifty Cut Rate Drugs (who came up with that slogan?!?),  Dr. Cowen Credit Dentists (extract now, pay later?), Woolworth’s, California Bank, and possibly Western Bank on the left. On the right we have Flagg Brothers Shoes, Harris & Something, and Sears Roebuck...or maybe just a painted building advertising Sears.

…and some way cool vintage autos! Any others out there feeling less lazy that know where this is?

UPDATE: Thanks to Werner Weiss of the amazing site Yesterland, this has been identified as Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena.

See more Pasadena photos at my main website.

Friday, November 26, 2021

Cascade Peak, 1984

Please join me at Disneyland’s Cascade Peak along the Rivers of America. Younger fans of the Park will probably be baffled by these two shots from 1984, as Cascade Peak was demolished in 1998.

What a treat to see this water feature as you rounded the corner towards the dock, whether it be on the Mark Twain or paddling aboard your canoe:

I am still suffering from yesterday’s food coma, and have plenty of leftovers for it to continue. Anyone want to come by for pie?

See more Disneyland Cascade Peak photos at my main website.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Neon at Disney Parks

When neon expert supreme Eric Lynxwiler makes a request, I listen! He recently alerted me to a Zoom Artist Talk hosted by MONA (Museum of Neon Art).

Get a Backstage Pass to Neon in Disney Parks with “The Wonderful World of Disney Neon.”

Here’s the 411: Zoom Artist Talk: Thursday, December 9, 2021 at 7pm PST MONA will host Steve Spiegel, Story Editor Executive for Walt Disney Imagineering for a one-night-only Zoom event on December 9th at 7pm to showcase the history of luminous tubing in Disney Parks. Disney theme parks are known for their rigorous attention to historic and aesthetic detail and the “Imagineers,” Disney’s team of artists, writers, engineers, and technicians use neon and other forms of lighting in multiple ways, from perfectly replicating Golden Age movie houses of Hollywood to transporting audiences into hyper-realistic future worlds. Audiences will be wowed by the layers of narratives presented through light at Disney theme parks worldwide, such as the dazzling neon collection at “Cars Land” in Disney California Adventure Park.

A Q&A will follow the presentation.

Steve Spiegel is the Story Editor Executive for Walt Disney Imagineering, the theme park design and development division of The Walt Disney Company. In this role, Steve has written notable Disney experiences including “Honey, I Shrunk the Audience!” “Star Tours – The Adventures Continue,” and “Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!” He is also a co-founder of Signs United, an international community of vintage sign hunters, enthusiasts, and preservationists. His photographs of vintage neon have been featured in exhibits at The Museum of Neon Art in Glendale, CA, The Perfect Exposure Gallery in Los Angeles and in a “Signs From Different Worlds: Vienna meets Havana” exhibit in Vienna, Austria.

You can get tickets here.

See more MONA photos at my main website.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Temple Tuesday: Shirley in the Mirror

While working at Paramount in 1934, Shirley Temple posed for a set of photos with their reigning kiddie star, Baby LeRoy. Known for being the arch nemesis of comedian W.C. Fields, the little tot was obviously younger than Shirley. This particular pose shows them fascinated by their reflections. Let’s take a look at the photo flipped:

That’s it for today; it’s been a busy week, and it’s only Tuesday!

See more Shirley Temple photos at my main website.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Temple Tuesday: Frank n' Shirley

I bought this photo awhile ago and was hoping to get more info on it before posting, but unfortunately, that didn’t happen. What I do know: Frank DeVol is on the left, and Shirley is on the right, looking either frustrated or tired. Where they are and what they are doing is a complete mystery, as the two don’t seem to share any credits.

Frank DeVol was born in Moundsville, West Virginia, on September 20, 1911 and grew up in Canton, Ohio. His father had a pit orchestra at the local movie house. After high school, Frank attended Miami University (in Ohio) for six weeks. The parental units saw him as a lawyer; Frank saw himself as a musician. He was a member of the musicians’ union from the age of 14 and worked for his father in the theatre orchestra. His instruments were violin and saxophone at first (he and I have that in common!). After his brief college interlude, he joined Emerson Gill’s orchestra in Ohio and traveled the state. Later, he joined Horace Heidt’s band, also taking on the duty of doing their arrangements. In 1943, he settled in California and started his own band, appearing on KHJ radio and accompaniment to many radio shows.

Based on Shirley’s appearance in the photo, I am guessing it was taken during the time of her television show, “Shirley Temple’s Storybook” (1958). Perhaps they were in a recording studio together and just happened to cross paths.

At that time, DeVol had credits as Musical Director for “The Betty White Show” (2 episodes, 1958) and “The George Gobel Show” (4 episodes, 1958-1959). DeVol also broke into the movies and composed the score for 50 films. In addition, he composed the music for a number of television shows, such as “Family Affair” (1966), “My Three Sons” (1960), and most notably “The Brady Bunch” (1969). Yes. He wrote the theme song. Now try to get that one out of your head.

He also wrote the songs for the Bette Davis/Joan Crawford camp classic, “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?" These two songs will linger in your brain, too.

As an actor, DeVol had small parts in “The Parent Trap” (1961, as Mr. Eaglewood) and various TV sitcoms such as “Get Smart,” “That Girl,” “I Dream of Jeannie,” “My Favorite Martian,” and “Petticoat Junction.”

You can thank me later for the music playing in your brain the rest of the day.

See more Shirley Temple photos at my main website.

Monday, November 15, 2021

Motor Boat Monday

It was the Summer of 1956, and the Phantom Boats took their last cruise around the lagoon at Disneyland. Overhead, the recently opened Skyway attraction gives guests a birds-eye view of the Park below. In just one year, the Viewliner Train Station would stand where the dirt lot can be seen on the lower right. Today, these boats look like something out of the 1960’s “Batman” TV series with their retro fins and bright colors. 

If you want to know why they were replaced with a much less exciting looking boat, look no further than the lower portion of today’s original image. This little boat with a spare gas can in it had to be ready to go at any moment to rescue guests who were stranded mid-ride in the lagoon because they had over-heated.

Did you spot the tiny little house that once resided on Harbor Boulevard? Today, the land that little hut was built upon would be worth quite a bit today.

Here’s a previously posted shot of one of the fiberglass Phantom Boats:

…and the necessary close-up:

See more Disneyland Motor Boat Cruise photos at my main website.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Trip to Hollywood, June 1963

A recent acquisition to my vintage collection was this set of June 1963 images which show tourist sites from Hollywood and Los Angeles. What I love about this set are the vintage handwritten notes on the back that describe little details that I would not have known otherwise. On June 12th, our vintage photographer visited Universal Studios. According to the note on the back, this one is a “Universal International Revue Studio,” and the second car from the right (a Rolls Royce) belongs to Jack Benny.

The image below features the Shanty boat used in “Tammy and the Bachelor,” the 1957 Debbie Reynolds movie.

Next up, they visited the Hollywood Bowl, using this escalator to get to the famed venue.

“Truck working on fountains;  had just turned them off” is the description for this one.

As if that wasn’t enough, they also trekked over to the Farmers Market off Fairfax:

I’d never noticed the weathervane on top before.

Nearby at the CBS Television studio, they got to see Red Skelton’s costumes…but apparently not Red Skelton.

How about this plate for the AMC Rambler; CBS 199. Coincidence? I wonder who it belonged to. Apparently this car was Motor Trends Car of the year!

One shot of the Capitol Records building was not enough. In case you were wondering, it was shot at 100 f/4.

Zooming in we can see the Cleopatra Parking Lot and Du-Par’s Restaurant:

This second shot, slightly blurrier, was shot at 100 f/8.

What trip to Hollywood would be complete without a trek to the famed Hollywood & Vine street corner? The Brown Derby restaurant is visible in the background.

The next day included a trip to Chinatown, where they saw this Wishing Well:

…and the Hong Building, which is still there today:

It would appear that the trip ended on June 15, at (not surprisingly) LAX:

See more Hollywood photos at my main website.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Still Here

There, there, Granny…Daveland is still here. Yes, I missed Temple Tuesday and I also missed posting on Monday. Sometimes you have to live life to be able to post about it! I promise good stuff soon! In the meantime, here’s a (gasp) “new” (to me) shot from “The Blue Bird.” It never ceases to amaze me that there might be a still out there from that flick that’s not in my collection yet.

While you wait for my next post, how about a clip of Yvonne DeCarlo singing “I’m Still Here” from the show “Follies.” Yes, there was more to her than just Lily Munster.

See more Shirley Temple “The Blue Bird” photos at my main website.

Friday, November 05, 2021

Frontierland Friday!

It’s 1956, and Black Bart is in Disneyland’s Frontierland hamming it up for the cameras. The lady on the left with her hand on the hip does not seem amused.

I am guessing Unamused Lady took this next image of her Honey, who was apparently more into being in front of the camera than she was. Note the storybook-style map in the background touting the new Rainbow Cavern Mine Train attraction.

While seeing a gun pointed at a guest these days can be jarring in light of recent circumstances, back in 1956 it was all safe fun and part of the show.

Even more jarring is this guy’s long hair. To think that Walt allowed it is incredible. Must be because Black Bart was supposed to be a bad guy.

This particular lady found him charming. Or maybe she thought a little luck from the Ace of Spades in his hat would rub off on her.

See more Disneyland Frontierland photos at my main website.

Thursday, November 04, 2021

Safe Again!

Thanks to the annual goof of my hosting company screwing up my SSL Certificate renewal, my site was down for the last day or so. This also meant all the photos in my blog were inaccessible, too. Oh the joys of running a website. Today I celebrate one of my very favorite classic TV shows, “Lost in Space.” A friend tipped me off to the publication of a book by Angela Cartwright and Bill Mumy (aka Penny and Will Robinson) called Lost (and found) In Space 2: The Expanded Edition. I’m glad I missed the first edition, because this one is chock full of new photos and updated text. If you’re a fan of the show, do not miss ordering this from Angela’s website!

On her Instagram, Cartwright also announced that Heritage auctions is selling a number of the original costumes from the show, including this one worn by Guy Williams in one of my favorite episodes, “The Anti-Matter Man” from Season 3. By this time, most of the episodes focused on Dr. Smith and Will, with a lot of silly and campy situations. This one departed from that, and returned to the original balanced core of the series which was the Robinson family and dramatic situations. The art direction (Frank O. Barnette and Jack Martin Smith) and cinematography (Frank Carson) on “The Anti-Matter Man” is amazing, too. From the auction site description:

Guy Williams "John Robinson," "Anti-Matter Man" Costume from Season 3 of Lost in Space (CBS TV, 1965-1968). Vintage original 1-piece character jumpsuit constructed of black and ivory color-blocked sparkle fabric with standing short ring collar, split snap-wrist cuffs, and zipper front closure from neck to fly. Signed on the interior collar, "Guy, Sept 67" and retaining the studio cleaning tag. Highly visible worn in the fan favorite Season 3, Episode 15: "The Anti-Matter Man." Exhibiting minor age and production wear with some small breaches to legs. In vintage Fine condition. Accompanied by a LOA from renowned collector James Comisar. Comes with a COA from Heritage Auctions.

At an opening bid of $7,000, I might have to miss this one! Even at $5,000, Williams’ groovy Season 3 tunic is out of my range.

Christmas is around the corner; any generous readers out there?

See more “Lost in Space” photos at my main website.

Tuesday, November 02, 2021

Temple Tuesday: At The Ballet

“The Little Princess” gave Shirley the chance to briefly play a ballerina during the dream sequence. Surrounded by a number of lovely ladies with far more training than her, our gal Shirley still did an admirable job.

In her autobiography, Shirley recalled training with dance instructor Ernest Belcher for the film:

Unfolding a portable dance floor in our living room, [Belcher] played “Nutcracker” music and demonstrated, flexing up on tiptoe, leaping and twirling off the dance floor and among our chairs and tables. Several athletic weeks later I still was no ballerina, with little to show beyond tender arches and aching ankles. Rather than scrub the whole number, however, studio dance directors [Nick] Castle and [Geneva] Sawyer dressed me in tutu and ballet slippers, with thin pink ribbons laced around the ankles, and choreographed me in swoop, pivot, and twirl strongly backed up by a chorus of accomplished dancers. Everyone balanced on tiptoe except me. It was one of those discouraging moments, posing beyond my real competence.

Despite her recollection of feeling inadequate, Shirley still managed to save the costume she wore back in 1939.

Want to see the back?

Even the shoes survived!

Shirley also managed to approve a porcelain doll by the Danbury Mint which faithfully recreated her ballet debut outfit:

While her career as a ballerina was short-lived, we can still appreciate the work and training that Shirley put into it!

See more Shirley Temple photos at my main website.