Tuesday, April 28, 2009

New Artwork

Something a little different. I just finished this up last night.

Title: "Sleepless"

Derwent Inktense and Prismacolor water soluable pencils, Caran D'ache NeoColor II water soluable crayons and various brands of dry colored pencil on 18" x 24" Strathmore museum board. I had fun with this one!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Richard Corben ...

One of my fave artists! For once I'll shut up and let the pictures speak for themselves!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Adding to the collection . . .

I just got these in today, 6 Vintage autographed photos of Warner Bros. contract players from the 1940's.

Dolores Moran, probably best known for her role in "To Have and Have Not" with Bogey and Bacall, but also excellent in "The Man I Love" with Ida Lupino and "The Horn Blows at Midnight with Jack Benny. She had a really short career, making only about 15 or so film and TV appearances. Her autograph does not show up very often and when it does it is usually a bit pricey, but this one was a real bargain! A lovely woman with quite lovely handwriting to boot!

Patricia Neal, one of the finest actresses of the post war studio days and a damn good-looking woman too! It's a bit hard to see her sig on this photo because it's so dark but once again for the price I paid I am not complaining. It's a nice Bert Six photo too.

A great Bert Six photo of Virginia "hold the" Mayo, who forever secured her place in film history as James Cagney's treacherous girlfriend in "White Heat"

The great character actor Jack Carson, who shows up in so many excellent films and is always one of the reasons they are excellent! Who can forget him in "The Male Animal", "Mildred Pierce", "The Strawberry Blonde" and "Gentleman Jim" to name just a few.

Dennis Morgan, another stalwart Warner Bros character actor who then became one of their biggest box-office stars in the mid-forties. Not only was he in some of Warner Bros great A-pictures like "Captains of the Clouds", "The Hard Way" and "God is My C0-Pilot" but he also has the distinction of being the star of the one and only film Bogey ever played a zombie in, that being the classic B-film, "The Return of Dr X"!

And finally we get to the crowning piece in this batch of stills, the one and only Mr. Alan Hale! Probably best known for playing Little John in "The Adventures of Robin Hood" but Mr Alan Hale appeared in over 230 films from 1911 to 1950 with the likes of Douglas Fairbanks, Greta Garbo, Clark Gable, Bette Davis, Barbara Stanwyck, Olivia DeHavilland, Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney, John Garfield, Edward G Robinson and he appeared in 12 films with his buddy Errol Flynn! Yes sir, I am very happy to have Mr Alan Hale's autograph in my house now!

Friday, April 17, 2009

And Still More Mathilda . . .

Some more pics of my pretty little kitty . . .

I'm fairly certain this pic was taken the first day I brought her home. She was about 9 weeks old then. She was such a tiny little thing I had NO idea she would get as big as she has!

She's so weird!!!!

She of the Chicken legs!!!


More chicken legs!

"Little Miss Pewfy-Pants"!

My Sleeping Beauty *sigh*

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Clara Bow!

Clara Bow, my fave silent film actress. Ok she made talkies but she HATED them so I choose to think of her as she seemed to think of herself, as a silent film actress. These stills just came into my posession last week.

Clara truly had a million dollar smile! She shaved her real eyebrows off so she could "Draw 'em anywhere I wanna!". Although she did make a handful of fine pictures, most of Clara's films are not that good. She is always worth seeing though and it's just a damn shame that Paramount didnt take more of a vested interest in their biggest star and be more choosey about the material they put her in. Their opinion was if the public was willing to pay to see her in cheap second-rate material why bother with the expense of the first-rate stuff. The problem was after a while the public got sick of paying to see Clara Bow in bad films!

Paramount first dubbed her "The Brooklyn Bonfire" but that never really took off. Later she skyrocketed to fame as the "It" girl and one of the stars of the first best picture Oscar-Winner, William Wellman's 1927 WWI masterpiece, "Wings". She isnt in it very much but she is dazzlingly gorgeous and brings a huge amount of sex-appeal and youthful energy to the film when she's onscreen!

At the height of her fame Clara was making $5,000 a week at Paramount and was a bigger box office draw than either Lilian Gish or Greta Garbo. She was about 22 years old then and her filming schedule was relentless. When the talkies rolled into town Clara hated making them! She had incredibly bad "Mike Fright" and was self-conscious about her Brooklyn accent. So the geniuses at Paramount gave her about 2 weeks to get ready for her first talking film whereas Garbo, at MGM, was given over a year!

In her book "LuLu in Hollywood" Louise Brooks described Clara as having "The softest hair and skin you could imagine, it was just like a baby's!". One can only conjecture as to how Brooksie came about this information! Clara's red hair was amazing, it seemed to have a life of its own sometimes! Sadly the only color film she ever made "Red Hair" is a lost film. How lame that Paramount didnt even see fit to preserve the films of a person who made so much money for them.

Clara could do "Bedroom Eyes" like nobody's business! She made her last film at Paramount in 1931 and then left Hollywood for a while, a frazzled, emotional mess, broke and washed-up at age 26! She was then offered a huge deal at Fox studios to make 2 films. Those were the last 2 films she ever appeared in and Clara permanently retired from Hollywood in 1933 at age 28!

Clara had a really unhappy childhood. Her mother was mentally unstable and her father was a boozing lowlife who at one point sexually abused her. She said when she needed to cry on camera all she had to do was think of back home. Bud Schulberg, son of Paramounts' B.P. Schulberg, recalled watching Clara when he was very young, filming a scene where she needed to cry. In the silent days they usually had a little orchestra on hand to play mood music for the actors and she always had them play "Rock-a-bye-baby" when she had to cry. Something in that song resonated deeply in her because he said anyone who saw her cry while that song played could never forget it.

They had faces then!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


i just spent about 3 hours writing up a new blog and the post is all screwy! Text is all wrong sizes, the spacing looks nothing like how i set it up, and when i change stuff it doesnt even accept the changes????? Why bother *sigh*

Movie Alphabet - part II

Finally got some time to do the next thrill-packed installment of my list . . . not all sources scanned as well as I would have liked!

E - "The Empire Strikes Back" (1980)

For the record I LOVE all the Star Wars flms! In spite of the flaws, and there are many, it is one hell of an achievement in film and it's all so ingrained in our culture now that it's hard to remember back to a time when there was no Star Wars! But Empire is my favorite. All the elements of the Star Wars universe came together perfectly on this one, a wonderful mix of drama, romance, adventure, action, humor and mind blowing special effects all masterfully directed by Irvin Kershner with a great screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan and Leigh Brackett.
And then of course there was . . .

Although CGI Yoda totally kicks ass, nothing can compare to the charm and magic of what Frank Oz and company did in this film. Mark Hamill's convincing interraction with Yoda was also a big reason why we all bought it onscreen.

"The Force is with you young Skywalker . . . but you're not a Jedi yet."

A rather menacing figure! Luke's confrontation with Vader is a living intensity! I've seen it dozens of times and I still get right on the edge of my seat! I love it!

For me, the lynchpin of all 3 of the first films is Mark Hamill. It's interesting to watch episodes 4-6 in one sitting and see how he grew as an actor and how the Luke character evolved. He's a damn funny guy in interviews too and who can foget his classic voice acting for The Joker and Solomon Grundy on the Batman and Justice League cartoons!

F - The Fountainhead" (1949)

"It's the things that we love that enslave us and I'm not easy to bring into submission"

"That depends upon the strength of your adversary Miss Francon"

Ayn Rands' incredible novel came to the screen in a fairly watered down but still very interesting and entertaining way. Casting was spot on in my opinion. Coop, Patricia Neal, Raymond Massey, Kent Smith and Henry Hull were perfect. Only Robert Douglas, as a far too masculine and aggressive Ellsworth Toohey, strayed far from Rand's original concepts. Many smaller characters, sub plots and all the religious stuff never made it into the film but what DID make it was the essence of the Howard Rourke character and, although Coop was pretty heavily criticized at the time the film was released, I personally feel he gave a performance very much worthy of the character. That and the incredibly electric chemistry between him and Patricia Neal makes this well-worth multiple viewings.

"Mr. Roark, we’re alone here. Why don't you tell me what you think of me in any words you wish."

"But I dont think of you."

Director King Vidor, novelist/philosopher Ayn Rand and Gary Cooper on the set. Ayn Rand was, in the words of psychologist Nathaniel Branden, one of the most brilliant and misunderstood figures of the 20th century. Like her or hate her, she was a unique and utterly fascinating person. I've read the Fountainhead 3 times since 2002 and I am always captivated by the characters, plot and concepts contained in it. I've seen the film at least 10 times by now and always find myself compelled by Howard Rourke!

"If you want to be the kind of man that does things for people, then you must be the kind of man that gets things done, but you must LOVE the doing, NOT the people!"

The scenes of Rourke and Domnique at the Quarry are not at all subtle in their sexual symbolism! Apparently Eleanor Parker lobbied heavily to get the part of Dominique and she resembles the character in the book much more than Patricia Neal but it all worked out very well in the end.

G - "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" (1966)

"I've never seen so many men wasted so badly"

My favorite Clint Eastwood film and one of my all-time fave films period! A rip-roaring action extravaganza, the quintessential Spaghettie western and just plain out great fun! I've seen this so many times I know every scene by heart and can just hear Ennio Morricone's incredible music and know what scene in the film is playing. Director Sergio Leone really hit the bullseye with "A Fistfull of Dollars" and the film was so popular and Eastwood's "Man with No name" character was so compelling that 2 more sequels were made, each expanding on the previous in budget and scope of story. Yet in the end we still know as much (or as little) about "No Name" as we did in the first film!

"200,000 Dollars is a lot of money . . . we're gonna have to earn it"

I love the touches of wry humor and epic scope of this film. A HUGE production and Sergio's scrupulous attention to period detail makes for a strange mix of realistic settings and mythical characters. There are some amazing set pieces and battle scenes and the final shootout in the graveyard is so far into "legend" status now, my trying to describe it with words would be ludicrous!

"Even a tramp like me, no matter what, I know there's a brother out there who'd never refuse me a bowl of soup"

Eli Wallach as "The Ugly" aka "Il Bruto" aka "Tuco the Rat", gives the most memorable performance of his incredibly long career. Tuco is a VERY resilient fellow and finds himself in all manner of situations thanks in no small part to Eastwood's "The Good" aka "Il Bueno" aka "Blondie"! There's no doubt about it, Leone cast Wallach because of his unforgettable turn in John Sturgess' classic "The Magnificent Seven". I love the scene with Tuco at the mission and his emotional confrontation with his brother, who's a priest. Those little touches added a lot to this film I think.


Eastwood poised to ride off to Hollywood! I am very sad that I could not find ANY good shots of Lee Van Cleef for this posting as I think he also gave the performance of his career as "The Bad" aka "Il Cativo" aka "Angel Eyes". His first scenes in the film are totally awesome!! Van Cleef was in a zillion films, mostly westerns and thanks to the 2 he made with Sergio he had work in Italy and Spain for years afterwards! I think his last film was John Carpenter's "Escape from New York".

H - "Humoresque" (1946)

Ok, I am a HUGE John Garfield fan, so let's get that understood right away! I think he's the single most under-appreciated actor of his era and it's very hard for me to pick a fave film of his but this one is certainly in the top 3 or 4. A first-rate Warner Bros production from start to finish and Garfield and Joan Crawford are downright amazing!

Director Jean Negulesco is one of my fave post-war film makers. He made a whole slew of off-beat and interesting pictures at Warner's in the mid to late 40's including "Nobody Lives Forever" with Garfield and Geraldine Fitzgerald, "3 Strangers" with Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre and Geraldine Fitzgerald, "Deep Valley" with Ida Lupino and Dane Clark and "Johnny Belinda" with Oscar winner Jane Wyman, Lou Ayres and Charles Bickford, but this is my favorite of all his films. Probably the last time Joan Crawford really looked beautiful on screen, just before what i refer to as her "automoton" phase where she looked more like an android than a human being!

Original sheet music for the film. The score by Franz Waxman is almost like another character in the film! Isaac Stern did the amazing violin playing. If you havent seen this one yet, check it out, it's well-worth the time!