Friday, October 30, 2009

Rolf Armstrong...

Two small prints I picked up to hang in my bathroom (when it's ready that is!) and I thought some people might like to see them here.

Hope to have another "Potty" update by the end of the weekend.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Eleanor Parker... Part II

More pics and babbling...

Eleanor was born on June 26th, 1922 in Cedarville Ohio and aspired to be an actress at a very early age. In 1941 she was offered a contract with Warner bros at $75 a week. Her first film appearance was supposed to be a bit part in "They Died with Their Boots On" but her scene ended up on the cutting room floor. This pic is scanned from an Italian postcard, not sure of the vintage.

The studio put her in B-films and small roles until in 1943 she finally got a larger role in Michael Curtiz' "Mission to Moscow" starring dramatic heavyweights Walter Huston and Ann Harding. Sadly the film is rather dull, but she got good notices. The next year she was appearing with John Garfield, Paul Henried and Sydney Greenstreet in "Between Two Worlds", a role she got because Joan Leslie was held up still filming the over-schedule "Rhapsody in Blue". The still above was for a film she made later that same year, "The Very Thought of You", a fairly off-beat war-time drama written and directed by Delmer Daves and co-starring Dennis Morgan, Dane Clark, Henry Travers, Faye Emerson and Andrea King. Eleanor got the role in this film because Ida Lupino was recovering from an illness. She gave a wonderful, heartfelt performance and was now well on her way to being a star as well as an actress to be reckoned with.

Here's a scan of an original Lobby Card I have for the film. At one point Henry Travers is so disgusted by the way his family has treated returning serviceman Dennis Morgan, a visitor in his home, that he scolds them by saying "You treated that boy with all the courtesy you'd give a JAP!". I can't help it, but every time I see Henry Travers in a film I HAVE to say "Why look, it's CLARENCE!" in my best Jimmy Stewart voice.

Eleanor looking quite the flawless beauty here! Another vintage autographed still I picked up several years ago. The photo was taken by the great Bert Six.

Another original Lobby Card I have in my collection. Eleanor very effectively played two roles in this gothic type period piece released in 1948. Well-cast and with good production values it is worth a look if you get the chance.

To be continued...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Eleanor Parker...

One of my faves....

Eleanor Parker...I might call her the most underrated and underappreciated actress from Hollywood's Golden era and certainly one of the most beautiful of ANY era. In her day she was quite a big star and played opposite many of the top leading men in big-budget A-pictures but today it seems the only thing anyone remembers her from is her thankless role in "The Sound of Music". This pic was scanned from a Swedish postcard I have. I think this particular photo shoot was to promote "The Woman in White" but I'm not certain.

The first film I ever saw her in was William Wyler's 1951 masterpiece "Detective Story" playing opposite an extremely intense Kirk Douglas. Eleanor played the part of Kirk's plain, long-suffering wife with great sensitivity and restraint. I think anyone who's seen this film will agree, hanging with Kirk on this production was no easy task, but Eleanor and the top notch supporting cast headed by William Bendix (yo-ho!) did just that. She received her 2nd Oscar nomination as best actress for her work in that film.

I have to admit, I wasnt really taken by her looks much in that film. She was dressed way down and was made up plain and ordinary which was of course exactly how she was supposed to look! The next film I saw her in changed that attitude completely...

1945's "Pride of the Marines", directed by Delmer Daves and starring the immortal John Garfield was the film where I truly fell in love with Eleanor Parker! She is not only gorgeous beyond words in this film but she once again played her role with conviction and sensitivity. I vividly recall waching this and saying to myself "Holy shit, that's the woman from Detective Story!". I started to actively seek out more of her films at the video store.

A scan of an original 11"x14" Lobby Card I have from the film. I can only imagine how many red-blooded American males in 1945 wished they were the ones that came home to Eleanor Parker after the war was over! For those that have never seen this film I can not recommend it highly enough. On the merits of Garfield's performance alone I would call it a must-see but the whole picture is incredibly well-done and is a far cry from the flag-waving war films that Hollywood had been turning out in the years prior. The 2 stars also performed "Pride of the Marines" on Lux Radio Theater on Dec 31st 1945. This is the one and only radio show I have in my collection and it's quite good!

A beautiful vintage autographed 5"x7" photo that I picked up many years ago. It seems one time while at the MGM commissary in the early 1950's she was spied by Spencer Tracy who didnt recognize who she was and simply remarked "That simply HAS to have an accent!"
I wonder what Kate would've thought of a remark like that!

as always, to be continued...

Sunday, October 11, 2009

William Bouguereau...

A few images of the work of one of my favorite 19th Century painters...

"Self Portrait" - 1879

Born Nov 30th, 1825 - Died August 19th, 1905, Bouguereau painted close to 700 works in his lifetime, many of them life size. At the time of his death he was one of the most loved and yet most despised of all French painters. The public loved his work, the critics and "progressive" artists of the day hated him.

"Evening Mood" - 1882

In my opinion one of the most beautiful paintings of the 19th Century, this one stands nearly 7 feet tall. One can only imagine what seeing this in person would be like!

"Young Priestess" - 1902

Bouguereau was a master draughtsman and could render all manner of textures with a level of skill that is enviable to say the least. This had to be one of his last paintings as he had fairly poor health during the final few years of his life.

"The Abduction of Psyche" - 1895

Hard to believe he was 70 years old when he painted this, another nearly 7 foot tall masterpiece. Once again one has to marvel at the level of skill, the skin tones are simply extraordinary! Although he's one of my faves of that era, I really only enjoy a small portion of his body of work. My biggest problem with him is that he did too many heavy-handed religious pictures and far too many paintings with cherubs floating around (I cant help it, they creep me out!)

"The Young Shepherdess" - 1885

He painted a zillion images of idealized peasant girls and children. They were incredibly popular with the art-buying public but the critics accused him of wasting his talent on "commercialized" subjects. Bouguereau however, laughed all the way to la bank!

"The Broken Pitcher" - 1891

The broken pitcher symbolizing loss of innocence. I love the expression on her face and how her hands are posed . This girl appeared in a few of his other paintings as well.

"Nymphs and Satyr" - 1873

My favorite of all of Bouguereau's work, this has a sense of fun that rarely shows up in ANY art of the period, let alone his and it's just so beautifully painted and composed, it's a marvel to study and enjoy! I first saw an image of this on the ARC website and loved it immediately! I had never heard of Bouguereau before but quickly familiarized myself with more of his work. Sometime later I had the incredible pleasure of seeing this masterpiece in person at the Sterling and Francine Clark Museum in Massachusetts... I went on a lark, not even knowing it was on permanent display there!

Yup, that's me and all of nearly 9 feet of the Bouguereau! When I walked into the room my back was to this painting and when I turned around and saw it there, I literally almost fell over! Then I went into my Fred Sanford routine... "Elizabeth... ahm comin' ta join ya hunneh... wit da Bouguereau!!"

I've visited this painting one other time since then but I really need to go back again soon! They also have another Bouguereau nude there and one of Lawrence Alma-Tadema's greatest paintings, "Women of Amphissa" which was also cause for unsteady legs!!!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

It's My Potty and I'll Cry If I Want To - Part VII...

It's Potty time again, woo hoo!

The linen closet was a test in problem solving for me. Originally it had no door jamb, but instead metal drywall corners were put on and the 2x4 was just spackled and painted in a rather haphazard manner. This was not acceptable but I couldnt just nail a wood door jamb over it because then the nice wooden bi-fold door wouldnt fit! So, I decided I had two options - 1. cut the sheet rock, remove the 2x4 on each side and reposition it so the opening would then be wide enough to accept the door jamb wood while allowing the old door to still fit. I didnt like that idea at all, more drywall dust! The only other option I could think of was to rip down each side of the 2x4 an amount equal to the width of the door jamb wood. Then I could install the jamb and all the measurements would be just as they were except look a whole hell of a lot better. So that's what I did and it sure was fun sawing down a 7' long 2x4 with a short hand saw. I couldnt use a longer one because I would knock into the back wall of the closet and punch holes in it. It took about 20 minutes per side and was quite the workout I must say!

Door jamb in place, NOW I could get the rest of the wallpapering done!

This second go round of papering went MUCH faster as only a few pieces needed to be full length. All the edges needed extra paste put on them though just as before.

Inside corners are the hardest part as always. I took the main door off the hinges because I didnt want wallpaper paste slopping all over it. You can see the back end of my washing machine sitting in the middle of the kitchen. Waaaaay in the b/g are my one-sheet posters for Blackwell's Island with John Garfield and Devil Dogs of the Air with James Cagney and Pat O'Brien

FINALLY! wallpapering all done!!!!

The Washer/Dryer area all painted. I really felt like I turned a corner with this whole project when I put those machines back in place. Now to get caught up on laundry!

With the papering all done I finished up the closet door jamb/casing and stained it all. What a VAST improvement! I also finished up painting the inside of the closet last night. All the main lighter color painting is done now.

My new fancy chrome-plated heavy duty all-metal TP holder.
Life is Good!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

New Artwork...

Just me having some fun with Vampirella

2H and HB pencils on Sketch paper, about 11"x17". I may end up doing this one in color pencil some day... maybe...oh well, back to the bathroom.... *sigh*