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I used to be in Pictures AN UNTOLD STORY OF HOLLYWOOD AUSTIN MUTTI-MEWSE AND HOWARD MUTTI-MEWSE FOREWORD BY DOMINICK FAIRBANKS

American Treasure: Bob Hope.

ACC EDITIONS


I used to be in Pictures AN UNTOLD STORY OF HOLLYWOOD AUSTIN MUTTI-MEWSE AND HOWARD MUTTI-MEWSE FOREWORD BY DOMINICK FAIRBANKS

American Treasure: Bob Hope.

ACC EDITIONS


Contents

Star Power: Bette Davis was given the title ‘First Lady of the Silver Screen’ for good reason: she enjoyed a film career spanning six decades, starred in more than 100 films and won two Academy Awards. “I survived because I was tougher than anybody else,” she once said.

FOREWORD - BY DOMINICK FAIRBANKS

8

INTRODUCTION

10

PALM SPRINGS - THE (MOVIE) STARS AND (ZEBRA) STRIPES

14

HOLLYWOOD AT HOME

34

I USED TO BE IN PICTURES

68

HOLLYWOOD ON SET

86

I’M STILL BIG - IT’S THE ROOMS THAT GOT SMALL

172

HOLLYWOOD ON THE TOWN

196

VAMPIRA - A HOLLYWOOD HORROR STORY

230

HOLLYWOOD AFTER DARK

240

COCKS AND COCKTAILS

284

FILMOGRAPHY

298

INDEXES

299

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

303

PICTURE CREDITS

304


Contents

Star Power: Bette Davis was given the title ‘First Lady of the Silver Screen’ for good reason: she enjoyed a film career spanning six decades, starred in more than 100 films and won two Academy Awards. “I survived because I was tougher than anybody else,” she once said.

FOREWORD - BY DOMINICK FAIRBANKS

8

INTRODUCTION

10

PALM SPRINGS - THE (MOVIE) STARS AND (ZEBRA) STRIPES

14

HOLLYWOOD AT HOME

34

I USED TO BE IN PICTURES

68

HOLLYWOOD ON SET

86

I’M STILL BIG - IT’S THE ROOMS THAT GOT SMALL

172

HOLLYWOOD ON THE TOWN

196

VAMPIRA - A HOLLYWOOD HORROR STORY

230

HOLLYWOOD AFTER DARK

240

COCKS AND COCKTAILS

284

FILMOGRAPHY

298

INDEXES

299

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

303

PICTURE CREDITS

304


(above) Hollywood Cheesecake: Terry Moore featured in numerous films from the 1940s, making a name for herself for her roles in Mighty Joe Young (1949) and Come Back, Little Sheba (1952), which earned her an Oscar nomination. During the 1970s, she told the press that she was the widow of Howard Hughes; a claim she took 17 years to verify with Hughes’ estate. Here with Tab Hunter.

(left) Joe Morrison was a minor actor during the 1960s, who found fame on television rather than on film. His career was short-lived, however, disappearing from view after guesting on the hit US TV series Flipper (1965-67). 44

Robert Mitchum was a bad boy: “Broads ’n’ booze. It’s all true, make some more stuff up if you want to,” Robert said of his off-screen reputation. The son of a railroad worker, killed when Robert and his younger brother John (who also became an actor) were young boys, he got into a series of scrapes before his teenage years. He was extremely bright and incredibly handsome, arriving in Hollywood via the stage with his childhood sweetheart Dorothy. He appeared in mostly bit parts, before finding fame as a film-noir favourite during the late forties. He is best remembered for his role as ‘Reverend Harry Powell’ in The Night of the Hunter (1955), and the villaine ‘Max Cady’ in Cape Fear (1962). By his own admission he was lazy, which caused many producers to overlook his obvious talent. In 2012, he was named 23rd on the list of ‘The Greatest Actors of All Time’ by The American Film Institute. 45


(above) Hollywood Cheesecake: Terry Moore featured in numerous films from the 1940s, making a name for herself for her roles in Mighty Joe Young (1949) and Come Back, Little Sheba (1952), which earned her an Oscar nomination. During the 1970s, she told the press that she was the widow of Howard Hughes; a claim she took 17 years to verify with Hughes’ estate. Here with Tab Hunter.

(left) Joe Morrison was a minor actor during the 1960s, who found fame on television rather than on film. His career was short-lived, however, disappearing from view after guesting on the hit US TV series Flipper (1965-67). 44

Robert Mitchum was a bad boy: “Broads ’n’ booze. It’s all true, make some more stuff up if you want to,” Robert said of his off-screen reputation. The son of a railroad worker, killed when Robert and his younger brother John (who also became an actor) were young boys, he got into a series of scrapes before his teenage years. He was extremely bright and incredibly handsome, arriving in Hollywood via the stage with his childhood sweetheart Dorothy. He appeared in mostly bit parts, before finding fame as a film-noir favourite during the late forties. He is best remembered for his role as ‘Reverend Harry Powell’ in The Night of the Hunter (1955), and the villaine ‘Max Cady’ in Cape Fear (1962). By his own admission he was lazy, which caused many producers to overlook his obvious talent. In 2012, he was named 23rd on the list of ‘The Greatest Actors of All Time’ by The American Film Institute. 45


Carroll Borland was a forerunner for such ghoulish characters as ‘Vampira’ and ‘Lily Munster’; unlike these TV stars of the 1950s, her career didn’t materialise much further than her role as ‘Luna’ in director Tod Browning’s Mark of the Vampire (1935). She arrived in Hollywood via the stage, playing a minor role in Dracula with Bela Lugosi in the title lead. In 1932, she signed to MGM, where she played a series of minor roles, including in Pack Up Your Trouble (1932) with Laurel and Hardy. Her film career declined by the late 1930s, leaving show business for academia. She later taught child development studies at UCLA. She died in 1994. Here with Bela Lugosi in Mark of the Vampire (1935).

The Pioneer: Blanche Sweet, began her career in the earliest days of film under the direction of D.W. Griffith; most notably in The Lone Operator (1911), in which she fearlessly fights off a bevy of evil bandits. Following Judith of Bethulia (1913), she and Griffith parted company in favour of Lasky Film Company. By the late-1910s, she had risen to become a contender for Mary Pickford’s haloed crown, signing to the newly-formed MGM, where she played the lead in the first film version of Anna Christie (1923). Later, she scored box-office success with Tess of the d’Urbervilles (1924) and The Sporting Venus (1925). With the advent of sound, her career began to wane as audiences looked beyond the silent screen stars for something new. During the 1960s, she could be found as a sales clerk in Bloomingdales, New York. She died in 1986, aged 90.

Esther Muir: “Hold me closer! Closer! Closer!” Groucho Marx: “If I hold you any closer I’ll be in back of you!” Scene from A Day at the Races (1937).

100

101


Carroll Borland was a forerunner for such ghoulish characters as ‘Vampira’ and ‘Lily Munster’; unlike these TV stars of the 1950s, her career didn’t materialise much further than her role as ‘Luna’ in director Tod Browning’s Mark of the Vampire (1935). She arrived in Hollywood via the stage, playing a minor role in Dracula with Bela Lugosi in the title lead. In 1932, she signed to MGM, where she played a series of minor roles, including in Pack Up Your Trouble (1932) with Laurel and Hardy. Her film career declined by the late 1930s, leaving show business for academia. She later taught child development studies at UCLA. She died in 1994. Here with Bela Lugosi in Mark of the Vampire (1935).

The Pioneer: Blanche Sweet, began her career in the earliest days of film under the direction of D.W. Griffith; most notably in The Lone Operator (1911), in which she fearlessly fights off a bevy of evil bandits. Following Judith of Bethulia (1913), she and Griffith parted company in favour of Lasky Film Company. By the late-1910s, she had risen to become a contender for Mary Pickford’s haloed crown, signing to the newly-formed MGM, where she played the lead in the first film version of Anna Christie (1923). Later, she scored box-office success with Tess of the d’Urbervilles (1924) and The Sporting Venus (1925). With the advent of sound, her career began to wane as audiences looked beyond the silent screen stars for something new. During the 1960s, she could be found as a sales clerk in Bloomingdales, New York. She died in 1986, aged 90.

Esther Muir: “Hold me closer! Closer! Closer!” Groucho Marx: “If I hold you any closer I’ll be in back of you!” Scene from A Day at the Races (1937).

100

101


(above) Harold Lloyd with Frances Ramsden on the set of director Preston Sturges’ The Sin of Harold Diddlebock (1947). The film didn’t fare well at the box-office or with critics. The New York Times described it as, “painfully dull”.

(page right) Read It Here First: Burt Lancaster amuses Shelley Winters, while recording a show for NBC in 1955. Years later, Shelley would admit that she only ever loved two men in her life: her first husband Paul Meyer and Burt Lancaster.

122


(above) Harold Lloyd with Frances Ramsden on the set of director Preston Sturges’ The Sin of Harold Diddlebock (1947). The film didn’t fare well at the box-office or with critics. The New York Times described it as, “painfully dull”.

(page right) Read It Here First: Burt Lancaster amuses Shelley Winters, while recording a show for NBC in 1955. Years later, Shelley would admit that she only ever loved two men in her life: her first husband Paul Meyer and Burt Lancaster.

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Boys Club: Actors on the set of All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) (back row) Russell Gleason, Slim Summerville, Lew Ayres, William Bakewell and (front row) Ben Alexander and Walter Browne Rogers. 124

Chocks Away: Gale Sondergaard earned a reputation as an actress of exceeding quality who could easily manipulate or terrorise any number of her co-stars. At the height of her career, she won the first Academy Award given for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Anthony Adverse (1936). 10 years later, she became a victim of the McCarthy era witch-hunts in Hollywood – her husband Herbert Biberman was one of the ‘Hollywood 10’. She too was blacklisted and her career never really recovered. 125


Boys Club: Actors on the set of All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) (back row) Russell Gleason, Slim Summerville, Lew Ayres, William Bakewell and (front row) Ben Alexander and Walter Browne Rogers. 124

Chocks Away: Gale Sondergaard earned a reputation as an actress of exceeding quality who could easily manipulate or terrorise any number of her co-stars. At the height of her career, she won the first Academy Award given for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Anthony Adverse (1936). 10 years later, she became a victim of the McCarthy era witch-hunts in Hollywood – her husband Herbert Biberman was one of the ‘Hollywood 10’. She too was blacklisted and her career never really recovered. 125


(above) Strike a pose: Dorothy Lovett enjoyed a brief four-year career whilst under contract to RKO Pictures, retiring in 1943.

(page right) Legend: Film stars don’t come much bigger than James Stewart. One of cinema’s greatest stars, his role as ‘George Bailey’ in It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) is a timeless holiday classic.

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(above) Strike a pose: Dorothy Lovett enjoyed a brief four-year career whilst under contract to RKO Pictures, retiring in 1943.

(page right) Legend: Film stars don’t come much bigger than James Stewart. One of cinema’s greatest stars, his role as ‘George Bailey’ in It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) is a timeless holiday classic.

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(left) Dashing: Gilbert Roland became Hollywood’s best known Latin lover after the death of Rudolph Valentino in 1926. Following the advent of sound, he steadily worked as the debonair playboy (both on and off-screen) to a legion of actresses. Later, as a character actor, he rode the range in numerous Westerns before embarking on a successful career in television.

(below) Good Measure: Kirk Douglas with Jan Sterling – as the scheming reporter ‘Chuck Tatumas and ‘Lorraine Minosa’ – in Billy Wilder’s film noir classic Ace in the Hole (1951).

Drop It Now: Jack Palance steps over the dame (Barbara Lang) for a shoot-out in the MGM thriller House of Numbers (1957). Palance made his career out of playing gangsters, sinister villains and tough guys. In 1992, four decades after his film debut, he won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in City Slickers (1991). Walking on-stage to accept the Oscar, he promptly dropped to the floor and performed a series of one-handed push-ups. Not bad for a guy then aged 73. 148

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(left) Dashing: Gilbert Roland became Hollywood’s best known Latin lover after the death of Rudolph Valentino in 1926. Following the advent of sound, he steadily worked as the debonair playboy (both on and off-screen) to a legion of actresses. Later, as a character actor, he rode the range in numerous Westerns before embarking on a successful career in television.

(below) Good Measure: Kirk Douglas with Jan Sterling – as the scheming reporter ‘Chuck Tatumas and ‘Lorraine Minosa’ – in Billy Wilder’s film noir classic Ace in the Hole (1951).

Drop It Now: Jack Palance steps over the dame (Barbara Lang) for a shoot-out in the MGM thriller House of Numbers (1957). Palance made his career out of playing gangsters, sinister villains and tough guys. In 1992, four decades after his film debut, he won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in City Slickers (1991). Walking on-stage to accept the Oscar, he promptly dropped to the floor and performed a series of one-handed push-ups. Not bad for a guy then aged 73. 148

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I Used to be in Pictures  

A fascinating insight into the Golden Age of Hollywood, the public and private face of an industry rarely explored in such an intimate fashi...

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