Thursday, May 30, 2024

Thursday on Telfair Square

The Telfair Academy in Savannah, Georgia (shown above in a vintage 1940s/50s image), is one of my favorite museums, even though it may not boast the largest or most prestigious collection. What I love about it is the building that houses these art treasures. Walking in, you feel like you are stepping back in time, and halfway expect a few of the masters to be popping out from one of the galleries. From the Telfair website:

Telfair Museums is the oldest public art museum in the South. The legacy of one visionary Savannahian, it was founded in 1883 through the bequest of prominent local philanthropist Mary Telfair, who left her home and its furnishings to the Georgia Historical Society to be opened as a museum. Designed by British architectural prodigy William Jay in the neoclassical Regency style, the Telfair Academy is a former mansion built from 1818-1819 for Alexander Telfair, son of Revolutionary War patriot and Georgia governor Edward Telfair. In 1875, Alexander’s sister Mary – heir to the family fortune and last to bear the Telfair name – bequeathed the house and its furnishings to the Georgia Historical Society to be opened as a museum. After significant renovation by German-born architect Detlef Lienau, whose adaptations included the addition of the Sculpture Gallery and the Rotunda, the building opened to the public in 1886 as the Telfair Academy of Arts and Sciences.

The shot below is from February 24, 1955, when admission was free from 10am-5pm:

Flash forward to April 1979:

Any interest in seeing the Victorian Dress exhibit?

My first shot of the Academy is from March 2005:

…and my most recent, which just happened to hit the Golden Hour, circa November 2016:

Not sure why, but this is one of my favorite paintings at the Academy:

It is called “Calme Blanc,” by Raoul du Gardier, circa 1900-1909. Below is an interior shot of the Academy:

Nearby, also in Telfair Square, is the Trinity Methodist Church, built in 1848. This image is from April 1979:

How it looked during my June 2013 visit:

…and an interior shot from November 2016:

It’s been over five years since I last visited Savannah. I think I’m about due for a return trip.

See more Savannah, Georgia, photos at my main website.

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Temple Tuesday: Shirley and the Sour Grapes

Today is a tale of three of Shirley Temple’s contemporary actors and how they chose to retell their experiences of working with the talented moppet. When actress Gloria Stuart was told by Fox studio head Darryl Zanuck that she was to be put in a Shirley Temple movie, the actress was crestfallen at having to compete with the little dynamo. Zanuck reframed it for her this way: “Gloria, you could be in film for the next ten years or on the stage and nobody would ever see you or hear about you, but if you’re in a Shirley Temple film, millions of people will see you.” The actress realized the wisdom of his words and would later recall, “She was really a getaway girl. You watched her and she was so completely composed and happy and talented and up, up, up. She was a real tonic…a miracle. Indescribable. It’s impossible that one child was all those wonderful things, but she was!” The power of positive thinking was not something little Delmar Watson practiced. In “Heidi” (1937), he played Peter, the goatherd, a fairly substantial role. Here are his recollections about the experience:

I was never given my lines to study in advance. My dad asked Allan Dwan about this, and he said they wanted Peter to be kind of dumb, but it was the only time I was in a picture of that length where they would not give me my lines until the night before I was supposed to do a scene.

I guess Delmar did not understand method acting. Shirley was given her own trailer for the location shoots according to Watson:

[It was] parked on the side of a hill. She was there all the time with Grif and, of course, her mother. Only a few studio people were allowed up there. She had a stand-in [Mary Lou Isleib] for the sound and lights. Then, when everything was set, she’d come down at the last minute, we’d do our scene together, and when it was finished, she would be escorted back up the hill and disappear into her trailer. Once, I was playing horseshoes right after lunch with the lighting guys, and she came out of her trailer. I said, ‘Hi,’ and she greeted me and asked if she could play. Sure, we told her. She picked up a horseshoe and tossed it. I think she missed. She played with us for exactly two minutes, and then her bodyguard came down and took her away, back up the hill into the trailer. I heard him tell her she wasn’t supposed to be there. As she left, I said to her, ‘Bye. Maybe you could do it later.’ Shirley didn’t say anything, but obediently returned to the trailer.

When you have a film riding on your shoulders and a limited amount of work time due to being a minor, it’s easy to understand that Shirley wouldn’t have a lot of time to play. A stray horseshoe that might have injured the star could have shut down the entire production. Obviously, Watson was too young at the time to understand and when he later told the story, too old to remember what the circumstances were.

Case #2: Sybil Jason. If it weren’t for “The Little Princess” (1939), Jason would be all but forgotten today (and for the most part, still is). While an appealing child, the South African born girl just never caught on in the U.S.

Here’s how Jason chose to recall working on “The Blue Bird” (1940), her second Temple film:

Usually when one received a finalized script of a movie, you are apprised of the shooting date. We were quite puzzled when a good two weeks before that date I was told to report to the studio early one morning. When we arrived, we were directed to go to a specific soundstage, and when we got inside all we saw was a small lit set with a plain backdrop and two chairs facing each other. One of the chairs faced the camera and the other one was placed behind it. I was greeted and handed a few pages from the…script. It contained only Shirley’s lines and those of the various characters that would appear in the movie. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that this was going to be the ultimate humiliation for me. I was expected to read Shirley’s lines so that actors could screen test for the various roles like the Father, the character Light and the “deceased” grandparents. As young as I was, I knew I wasn’t being treated right and I could see from the hurt look in my sister’s eyes that she too felt that way but, considering the position I was now placed in, there wasn’t much we could do about it.

After a couple of days of reading for the tests, I could now concentrate and prepare for my role as Angela Berlingot, the little crippled girl who yearns for the bird that Mytyl (Shirley) and Tytyl (Johnny Russell) had captured in the woods. My part in The Blue Bird was, to put it politely, minuscule. It consisted of a scene in the beginning of the movie and another at the end.

Sybil’s remarks have always been puzzling. Were these her memories or ones fed to her by the older sister? While it is made clear that Angela is sick, never at any time does the viewer hear the word “cripple” used to describe her. Sybil may have been thought of by Warners (her former studio) as a rival to Shirley, but the public never viewed her that way. Finally, if the Jason sisters thought reading the star’s lines in a screen test was the ultimate humiliation, then they obviously were not aware of how things worked in Hollywood. As stated before, Shirley’s work time was limited; why would it be wasted on screen tests?

In this publicity still and the caption below, we can see that it was co-starring in a Temple film that helped pave the way for Sybil’s Hollywood career. How the public did/didn’t accept her was out of Shirley’s hands.

Since her portrayal in “The Little Princess” won her a long-term contract at 20th Century-Fox, 9-year-old Sybil Jason (foreground) goes to the studio’s school. Seated back of her is June Carlson of 20th Century-Fox’ Jones Family series, while Teacher (standing) is Miss Catherine Hagan.

Here’s the cover of the book Miss Hagan is holding, Highways and Byways. It was copyright 1938 by authors Paul McKee, Director, Teachers College Elementary School, and Professor of Elementary Education, Colorado State Teachers College, Greeley, Colorodo, and Beryl Parker, Associate Professor of Education, New York University. 

This is not the same book Sybil is reading.

Houston, we do not have a match.

Case #3: Marcia Mae Jones, who played Klara, a true cripple, in “Heidi” (1937).

Marcia Mae Jones recalled her casting in the film:

There was talk that I got as much fan mail because I played a crippled girl in ‘Heidi,’ and probably that Mrs. Temple would never use me again, but Mrs. Temple requested me for ‘The Little Princess,’ so you see, there’s a lot of talk that’s not so.

Mic drop. Thank you. Below is a shot I took in 2002 of Margaret O’Brien and the sour grapes, Delmar Watson and Sybil Jason. They were making an appearance at the Silent Movie Theatre in Hollywood for a Tippi Hedren fundraiser for her animal shelter.

See more photos at my main website.

Friday, May 24, 2024

Forever Friday at Greenwood

Many of my family members are buried at the nearby Greenwood Memorial Park Cemetery in San Diego, both outdoors in a regular grave as well as some inside the mausoleums. Edited from the Cultural Landscape Foundation website:

Established in 1907, this 125-acre burial ground was underwritten by a consortium of civic leaders, including George Marston [of Marston Department store fame] and William Kettner, who were concerned that city-run burial grounds were falling into disrepair. Located adjacent to the earlier, larger Mount Hope Cemetery some five miles east of downtown San Diego, the cemetery contains several large mausolea, including the Cathedral Mausoleum, which opened in 1919, and the four-story, two-acre Bible Mausoleum, constructed in 1970. Smaller, private mausolea, built as the cemetery developed, dot the landscape. Opened in 2017, the densely planted Mirror Lake cremation garden surrounds the southernmost of three constructed ponds. Inlaid with memorial plaques, the garden’s stone wall descends an escarpment to a rustic bridge that spans a cascading, stone-lined stream. Designed by George Cooke, the cemetery was intended to look and function like a picturesque park, with palm-lined paths and vast, undulating lawns interspersed with Australian willows, strawberry trees, sweet bays, and coast live oaks. In the cemetery’s southwest corner, two adjacent, circular plots called Arbor Vitae and Elks’ Rest contain concentric rings of graves that radiate from central monuments. Burial plots are set aside for firefighters, fraternal and military organizations, and various cultures and faiths.

Above is a photo of the Elks’ Rest area, where my maternal Great Grandparents are buried. I’m not sure of the meaning of the stone clock forever set at 11pm, but it’s still kind of cool!

The cemetery hosts several chapels, a mortuary, crematory, and various statuary, including a veterans memorial and religious figures. Fourteen acres in the eastern section of the property are reserved for future development.

I do like strolling through old cemeteries and seeing the skill and craftsmanship that went into creating the older tombstones. Seeing the graves of the little ones are so sad, though. You can only imagine the grief of the parents who lost their offspring at such a young age.

Jesus has gotten a little moss-covered over the years.

Overall, the grounds are fairly well kept. The mausoleums are a different story. Because of looting and the homeless, they remain locked now, and family members must seek assistance in the chapel to have a groundskeeper unlock them. Inside, there are leaks, broken windows, and other signs of deferred maintenance.

One of the more famous residents of the Catholic Mausoleum is Ernestine Schumann-Heink (June 15, 1861 – November 17, 1936), an operatic dramatic contralto of German Bohemian descent. She was noted for the flexibility and wide range of her voice. Heink and Schumann were her two husbands’ surnames. In January 1910, she moved to a farm located just outside San Diego, where she would live until her death of leukemia November 17, 1936 at age 75. Her funeral was conducted by the American Legion at the Hollywood Post Auditorium, and she was interred here at Greenwood Memorial Park in San Diego. On Memorial Day, May 30, 1938, a bronze tablet honouring Schumann-Heink was unveiled by her granddaughter, Barbara Heink, at the Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park, San Diego. I have yet to photograph that; yep, another bucket list item!

Here’s what is believed to be the only footage of her singing, captured when she was 65:

The stained glass inside the Catholic Mausoleum is beautiful, especially when the sun hits it just right.

A number of statuary and busts are spread throughout the mausoleum:

Looks like Huck Finn or Tom Sawyer!

The face on this one is so expressive:

Another (in)famous resident is Dan Broderick and his second wife, Linda. He is best known as being the murder victim of his first wife, Betty, who is still incarcerated in Chino, California.

Nearby is the Lily Lake, which could use a little bit of maintenance. These turtles didn’t seem to mind.

Victor Buono is inside this crypt with his mother, Myrtle. Interestingly enough, his name is left off the marble facing.

Buono is best known for his roles of Edwin Flagg and “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?” (1962) and as King Tut in the “Batman” TV series (1966).

See more cemetery photos at my main website.

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

May 1964: A 60th Celebration!

Today’s post celebrates May 1964 with every cotton-picking shot from my collection (so far) from that time period. Although they were shot by different guests and on different days, I have cobbled them together to give an overall feeling of what a day might have been like at Disneyland circa May 1964. The first image shows guests on the hotel tram, either on the way to the Park or departing; this could be a departing shot as the one boy has a rather large bag at this point in the day. Below, a happy little guest meets Pinocchio AND Pluto at the entrance!

“Balloons? How the heck would I hold those with this gigantic purse with fake fruit on front?”

Town Square, as seen from the Main Street Train Station:

On this particular day, the Park was welcoming Marine Corps Families.

Mickey Mouse was greeting guests outside the Main Street Opera House; inside, you could also see the Babes in Toyland exhibit.

So much Main Street to see!

The Book and Candle Shop or the Candy Palace? Something for everyone!

At the Cinema, you could watch “The Phantom of the Opera” with Lon Chaney or a Will Rogers western. If you’re not into silent movies, perhaps a new trick at the Magic Shop is what you need.

Over at the Plaza Inn, the little kids get their calcium, wishing they were on the attractions instead.

At least it’s not spinach.

Finally, the Castle!

The crest has not yet appeared above the Castle entrance as of May 1964.

Anyone know what the G stands for? These boys look a little nervous about flying off to Neverland.

Aw…a Carrousel moment.

How that same horse looked in March 2012:

I’ll say it again…Skull Rock Cove is one of the things I miss most at Disneyland.

The Midget Autopia:

Such a great vintage image: The Skyway, The Matterhorn, and the Monorail all in one shot…and kind of the Submarines, too.

This fun group gets ready for a jerky ride on the Matterhorn. Note fruit/flower purse gal is attempting to secure her treasured bag.

Fruit/flower purse gal can’t wait to get off. She’s had enough!

A closer look at this amazing contraption. Oh, and the Cast Member uniform, too!

The regular Autopia in glorious color!

Before there was Buzz Lightyear, there was the Circarama Theatre!

Purse gal is back at the Enchanted Tiki Room. I wonder if she tried to steal some of the fruit from Rongo for her purse?

Those shifty eyes and the cat-eye glasses say “yes.”

How Rongo looked in December 2016:

The Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse was a great place for family exploration:

A panoramic view of the Nature's Wonderland attraction from either the Twain or the Columbia:

A closeup of the Frontierland Ticket Booth:

A detailed shot of the Mine Train:

Note the security guard in the front:

Here you can see the Mine Train, Mineral Hall, and seating for Casa de Fritos:

Time to leave. Fruit/Flower Purse gal is totally honked off. She got talked into buying balloons and she can barely see in front of her. Her friend is doing the best she can to make the best of a long day.

To finish off today’s post, here’s a photo from 60 years ago today.

Wow. How did that happen so quickly? See more Disneyland photos from my collection at my main website.