Mary Ganley


Sorry for the long hiatus! I’ve been tryng to write a decent bio of Mary Ganley for two months now, with no luck – there is so little information about her, but I decided to post what little I have, and put aside any standards for minimum info. What to say about Mary? She was pretty, probably not completely untalented, but not enough of “anything” for Hollywood to notice her. Not the first nor the last girl to suffer such a fate, she still appeared in four not that bad movies.


Mary Y. Ganley was born on January 16, 1924, in New York City, New York, to a colorful family. Her father was Bartholdy Ganly and her mother Catherine Gandy (her ancestry was almost pue Irish). She was the third of four daughters – her older sisters were Genevieve (born in 1915) and Lillian (born in 1918), and her younger sister was Joan (born in 1926). Her mother died in the 1930s, and after her death the family continued to live together in (Genevieve even brought her husband, Al Ronca, in the Ganly home) Kings, New York.

I found this interesting tidbit of intomation about Mary’s dad on, posted by Mary’s nephew or niece (no name was given):


Mary grew up in New York, and started dancing from her early teens, landing on Broadway not long after. She was spotted by a talent scout, and Hollywood bound  in about 1942.


Despite being uncredited, Mary appeared in four not all that bad movies.

Her first appearance was in A Guy Named Joe, a charming and finely made Irene Dunne/Spencer Tracy vechicle. Irene and Spence work delightfully well together. He was one of the few “natrual” actors of the time, and is especially subtle in this movie – and Irene was always such a tranquil, laylike presence. Even Van Johnson, a rather wooden and only modestly talented actor, comes across pretty good here. The stroy is very effective and quite touching. And no, it’s not very realistic, but it’s irrelevent in this kind of movie. The beautiful cinematography only adds the final touch to a already above average movie.

Mary went back to her dancing roots in Broadway Rhythm, a low(er) budget MGM musical. When I say MGM musical, you know all the information you need to know about a movie – flimsy story, cliche characters, singers/dancers in lead roles, and a variety of talented performers:  impressionists, contortionists, nightclub acts, tap-dancers and the list goes on. This one is no exception, and if you’re not a nag who only watches “best of the best” MGM musicals with their top talents like Gene Kelly or Judy Garland, it’s sufficient enough to warrant an hour and a half of easy going fun. Ginny Simms is a wooden and stiff actress, but a good singer, and George Murphy could never compare to his better known counterparts (Kelly and Astaire), but he pulls the role decently enough. Only slightly bigger name is Gloria DeHaven, barely 20 here and in her full energetic late teens glory. Tere sre a coupleof good singing and dancing numbers, and you get the cnance to see Lena Horne!

The musical stream continued with Meet the PeopleA modest film with no big production values, it’s far from a very good movie but it fits the bill of a mid tier musical. The plot is, surprise! surprise! closely connected to staging a musical show. Lucille Ball and Dick Powell are typically good in the leads, plus is features some other MGM musical stock actors and actresses like Virginia O’Brien, Bert Lahr and June Allyson.

Mary’s last movie was Bathing Beauty. It is the seminal Esther Williams musical extravaganza movie. Here she has the perfect partner – Red Skelton, one of the premiere comedians of the time. These kind of movies are never intellectually stimulating nor first class art, but if you like funny, breezy films, do not miss! And the “aquatic” numbers Esther excelled in are a feast for the sore yes even today, more than 60 years later!

Mary got married and left Hollywodo not long after.


Mary was 5’4 and a half inches tall, weighted 110 lbs, and her bust and hips were 34 inches. Her fvorite perfume was L’heure Bleue, and her hobby was collecting Degas’ work connected to ballet dancers (obviously not the originals, but still an admirable pasttime :-) ). She was superstitious and never whistled in the dressing room. She enjo<ed reading works by O. Henry, and had a sweet tooth, especially for french pastries.

Despite her status as a pretty chorus girl, she did not gather that much newspaper notices. In October 1941, she was a duet with Buddy Allen. Then, she met the man she was to marry one day – Jack Hopkins, a handsome and wealthy youth from one of the most prominent Cleveland families (while I never found any final evidence to confirm it, I strongly suspect that Jack is a scion of the Hopkins family centered around William Hopkins, a noted lawyer and philanthorpist in the Cleveland area. Today the Cleveland Hopkins Airport is named after him. William did not have any children, so could he a nephew or cousin).

Jack’s previous amorous record was far from stellar. He was, what I would call, a “romance star seeker”. Member of a rich family, educated in the best schools and probably an idle youth, he drifted, like many of his class, to Hollywood to try and nag themselves some luscious girls. Yep, Hollywood in the 1940s was a golden mine of stunnign beauty, as a greta number of girls who taught themselves lookers and wated to make a dime, had at least a modicum of chance of living the high life and truly earn some money.

Hopkins was quite unsuccesul in his “seek a star” quest, but he tried very, very hard! First, he was an earnest contender for Judy Garland’s “serious boyfriend post”. When he first came to Hollywood in the late 1930s, he wormed his way into Judy’s bunch, along with such luminaries like Robert Stack, Bonita Granville, Forrest Tucker and so on. It seems that Jack was very much smitten with Judy, and even wanted to mary her – but she was less so and the attachment was broken. Judy went on to marry David Rose not long after. In 1940, Jack gave an engagement ring to June Pressier, the famous acrobatic actress, but she was so popular with the boys that Jack was probably nothing more than a back burner guy for her.

Not at all miffed, Jack continued his love pursuits, and tried to woo Linda Darnell. He send her 8 white orchids on her birthday in October 1941. Unfortunately, he was not Linda’s cup of tea – when you are dated by men like Milton Berle and Mickey Rooney, it’s no surprise. Then came Mary’s turn.

I don’t know, but I wouldnt’e be thrilled to meet such a guy, let alone marry him! On the other hand, maybe he was a great person underneath, you just never know :-) Anyway, Mary and Jack started dating in early 1942, and he often flew to Los Angeles and New York to be with her. After several years of romance, they married in May 1945. Logically, she retired from movies and moved to Cleveland with her hubby. Their child, a 8 pound baby boy, was born in September 1946.

Mary falls off the radar frm then on, but I hope she became a succesful socialite in the Cleveland area and lived happily ever after!

Eve Amber


There is very little information about Eve Amber, and I did not find many of the vital statistics I always have to find in order to write a post. Yet, Eve somehow wormed her way into my good graces and I decided to do a half baked bio with just bits and pieces of her life, so please bear with me here :-)


Eve Amber (don’t know if it’s her real name) was born in about 1920 in London, England. She grew up in the city, and became an actress after finishing high school. She did some work on the London stage before WW2.

Eve was discovered by Gabriel Pascal, the famous producer who staged many of George Bernard Shaw’s works. Pascal had good eye for talent, and obviously something drove him to Eve. Via Pascal, she ended up in the US, but did not break into movies right away. She started working as a model. By 1943, Eve was one of the foremost models in the Harry Conover Modeling Agency, a well known agency of the decade. This catapulted her into Hollywood.


For a completely unknown actress, Eve Amber had a pretty decent career (if you look at the quality, not the quantity!). Eve’s first movie was The Suspect, a very, very god film noir with more substance than it first meets the eye. Plot in short (taken from IMDB): In 1902 London, unhappily married Philip Marshall meets young Mary Gray, who is unemployed and depressed. Their deepening friendship, though physically innocent, is EveAmberdiscovered by Philip’s wife who threatens him with exposure and scandal, driving him to kill her. While it does end as a typical police procedure and will-they-figure-it-out, it’s also a beautifully made elegy on loneliness, redemption and the need . Charles Laughton is, as in most of his roles, superb. His mannerism is perfect, and you can more than believe he’s a basically decent and good man pushed into murdering rage by a “nagging wife” (played with gusto by the pioneer of such roles, Rosalind Ivan, who was nicknamed “Ivan the Terrible” by her acting admirers, as she was soo good at it). Ella Raines is decent enough as the enchanting love interest. Special kudos go to Molly Lamont and Henry Daniell, who play Laughton’s next door neighbors also stuck in a dysfunctional marriage.

Eve continued to fly high in The Woman in Green, one of the Sherlock Holmes movie series with Basil Rathbone in the lead. No, it’s ot anything new or groundbreaking, but can onn expect from a Sherlock Holmes movie? The same old elements are there: Holmes, sharp as a knife, the goofy, bubbling but endearing Watson, the cool and villainous Moriarty, a seemingly unsolvable murder, the seductive femme fatale… The performances are, like in most of the movies from the series, first class. Rathbone is perhaps the greatest Sherlock in movies. He and Nigel Bruce, who plays Watson, have superb buddy chemistry. Hillary Brooke, an actress I really like (that face!!) is a very good femme fatale. The plot is, of course, intriguing and suspenseful, and the wonderful, almost noirish black and white filmography evoked the London of the late 19th century like a charm – from the mansions to the seedy slums, we have it all. Eve plays the daughter of a man who is killed early in movie, and she is the one who comes to Holmes to ask for help. Highly recommended!

Eve Amber 4For reasons I can’t quite fathom (she actually made two good movies! Why did it have to end?), Eve ended her movie career with Men in Her Diary, the weakest of her trio of films. While not bad, it’s a typical rom-com of the 1940s. It’s got more soul and sass than most of the romcoms made in the recent years, but it’s still not a very good film. Yet, if you want some charming, simple fun, it’s more than okay. Brief synopsis: Singer/Dancer Peggy Ryan neither sings nor dances in this comedy in which she plays a secretary, whose life has no romance because she devotes all of her time to her attractive older sister. But she does keep a diary that contains some fact and many fictional entries. One such is read by the wife (Louise Allbritton) of her boss (Jon Hall) who promptly sues for a divorce. Virginia Grey stars in a musical produced by Hall and sings (possibly dubbed) “Makin’ a Million” and “Keep Your Chin Up.” No spoiler to add that Ryan gets a boyfriend and Hall and Allbritton are reunited before this one runs it course. Surprised? Heck no! Just as everything should be… In a rom com. Eve plays an uncredited role way down on the list.


Eve was a passionate collector of historical trinkets, preferably ones connected to famous women o the past. It was noted she had, in her possession, a gold thimble that belonged to queen Victoria and a watch seal owned by Sarah Bernhardt, with her name engraved.

In 1944, the US War Department issued an edict tot he editors of the US Army newspaper, saying there should be no cheesecake. Eve was quick to try and reverse the rule, telling the papers how pretty girl can only help the morale of the soldiers. She herself posed for endless cheesecake pictures during the war.

Eve Amber3In July 1944, Eve gave advice for ladies for to dress for the summer months. Eve was tagged as an outdoor type model. Some of the advice can be easily applied today.

First, her clothes are simply styled and starchily crisp. A summer cotton is never work the second day if it had gone limp or looks mussed. Through her hairdo looks like a careless bob, it isn’t. It+’s disciplined by pinups at night: is carefully dressed by day and shampooed twice a week to restore clean color and fresh bounce. Makeup, however, is applied sparingly, because, as she says, even in photographs obvious artifices don’t go with casual clothes. Eve’s legs are usually bare, but are made to look Romaay tan with a makeup stain that shines like nylons. The rest of her outdoor charm comes from being a girl who is a friend of the sun, who can put English on a ten is ball or hop on a bicycle and race you for miles.

In late 1944, Eve was wined and dined by Ben Bogeaus, famed producer who liked to date pretty women (his ex wife was the stunning but troubled Mimi Forsyte, and his future wife the busty Dolores Moran). But yep, Ben choose Dolores over Eve at any rate and the relationship did not last.

By 1945, she was popular enough to have her own autographs seekers – she signed herself as Eve (no relation to Forever) Amber, referencing the famous Otto Preminger movie with Linda Darnell in the lead. In May 1945, she was seen with New York advertising executive Nat Pearlstein (who also dated Arline Judge and Lorraine Beecher on the side).

Eve Amber 5In June 1945, Eve had a new swain, Carl Laemmle Jr., son of Carl Laemmle Sr., the founder of Universal Studio. Born in 1908, he was more than 10 years Eve’s senior. She ditched Laemmle for what turned out to be her most serious romance in Hollywood – George Raft.

George sure dated some pretty women in his time, and Eve is no exception. The dated from mid 1945 until early 1946. With her Hollywood career dried up and no new chances forthcoming, Eve became the assistant to Edmund Lowe, the once famous silent movie actor, husband of the late Lillyan Tashman (now there is an interesting woman!). They appeared in the Loew’s State Theater on Broadway in February 1946. Eve caught a chill and Edmund was on his own for the last three performances.

And Eve falls of the newspaper radar at the ripe old age of about 26. I have no idea what happened to her afterwards, but, as always, I hope she had a good life :-)



Bettye Avery


Stunningly beautiful New York model, Bettye Avery was pushed hard by producers and publicity men to become a star in Hollywood, but after a few flicks it was clear would never achieve any level of cinematic fame. Instead, she married a very wealthy man and lived the high life until complications arose.


Elizabeth L. Murphy was born in Des Moines, Iowa (imdb claims her birth year is 1908 but I find that ridiculous – I would say more cca. 1920). The family moved to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. I could not find any additional information bout her family, even her birth name is disputed.

Betty won the title of Miss Oklahoma in 1939, and had highhopes that would be her gateway to Hollywood. Unfortunately, Hollywood was not forthcoming, so she went to the East Coast and instantly got work as a model in New York. Soon, she was so successful that Hollywood DID take notice, and off she went!


Bettye appeared in only five movies during her career. She was credited only in her last movie.

Her first movie was That Night in Rio, a fun, flirty and lavish 20th Century Fox Technicolor musical. Yep, its not MGM but it’s not far behind either. Anybody who liked MGM musicals should also give a chance to this movie. Don Ameche and Betty Grable are both charming and good enough, but it is Carmen Miranda who steals the show with her fiery Latina (the role she always played, but hey, if it’s ain’t broken, why fix it?).

The Great American Broadcast came next. It’s a typical Alice Faye musical, funny, bubbly and colorful (in black and white of course, but you can imagine it was such during filming). The story is a moronic one with a hundred cliches, but hey, nobody watched musicals for the story? A great supporting cast make this a good watching experience (Ink Spots, Nicolas Brothers, Wiere Brothers)…

BettyeAvery3The Cowboy and the Blonde is a delightful B movie romp, basically a western version of “Taming of the shrewd”… The true strength of the movie is Mary Beth Hughes, who I agree was a underrated actress (a dime a dozen in Hollywood… Very talented and charismatic, but hey, the sometimes the likes of Sonja Henie caught all the fame and the glory! Well, that’s showbiz!). Her character, a diva in a true sense of the world, is yummy and delicious and a real treat to watch. George Montgomery, handsome but usually a wooden leading man, is sufficient enough (when you have Mary Beth, one can turn a blind eye on her leading man!).

The Pride of the Yankees is a classic old Hollywood drama, one of the best roles Gary Cooper ever gave to the world. The story of Lou Gehrig, a legendary baseball player, it told with class, tact and shows perfectly all the obstacles Lou had to endure in life, and how he did it with absolute grace and flair. Cooper himself was a bit too old to play a young, up and coming player, but it you neglect that and understand that Gehrig was a shy and unassuming man, even people uninterested in the sport can enjoy the movie.

They Got Me Covered is a Bob Hope (in solo mode) movie from the 1940s. This alone can more or less describe it. Hope’s character is a bumbling half twit, a few really good gags and one liners, usually a dismal story and strong supporting characters (listen to this: Otto Preminger, Lenore Aubert, Eduardo Ciannelli!). Dorothy Lamour, who worked well against Bob, is his love interest. The story here is also not even half bad. Worth watching for some laughs.

Bettye gave up movies for family and charitable causes.


Bettye made more splashes with her private life than anything she did on the screen. When she hit the papers in April 1941, she was engaged to Orrin Lehmann, the nephew of New York governor Herbert Lehmann, and they were expected to make a June wedding, after he graduates from Princeton. NOT! Pretty soon, Bettye was dating wide across the chart, being escorted by such eminent men like Bruce Cabot and Pat di Cicco. Her relationship with di Cicco was a very passionate one, as the papers even claimed they were secretly married (not true). She broke up with Lehman by the end of April, and took up with di Cicco for “real”. Sadly, that one did not lead to the altar. They broke up by June 1941, but she kept the ring. She consoled herself with Bentley Ryan, the glamour boy lawyer, partner of the more glamorous Greg Bautzer.

TonyMArtinBettye2Bettye was soon signed by Sam Goldwyn and expected to make a stunning career. Again, NO, but at least she got some positive publicity. Then in September 1941, Bettye was reported dating the man who would become her future husband, Joe Drown. They went on strong, and by November it was pretty much obvious to anyone that the two were altar bound. Still, she found time to date Blake Garner and Rudy Vallee in that same month. The two wed in December 1941, but it was kept secret until February 1942.

Joe Drown, born as Francis Warford Joseph Drown on May 22, 1906, was the son of Leroy W. Drown and Nora Mann, the eldest of three children (his younger sister and brother were Virginia and John). The family lived in Chicago, then Colorado and settled in San Diego, California, where he and his siblings lived with their widowed aunt Mollie Lowder (I have no idea what happened to their parents). There he finished college. Joe lived and worked for a time in Dallas, Texas. He was a wunderkind businessman by the time he was 23 years old, working with Conrad Hilton and holding a post of vice president in his company. Something about Joe’s life work can be read on this site, and this is just an excerpt:

There was a bridle path down Sunset Boulevard all the way to Santa Monica, and the site that eventually would become the Hotel Bel-Air was a riding stable called The Sycamores, at the bottom of Stone Canyon, with a small tearoom and a few buildings for Bell’s offices. Nothing much happened until 1945, when Francis Warford Drown, a tall, handsome Texan known as Joe, acquired the property and made preparations to complete the hotel. His prosperous neighbors were horrified at the prospect of commercial enterprise in their sylvan midst and ardently protested what they saw as an imminent roadhouse that would pollute the neighborhood with wine, women, and song. Greer Garson and Jeannette MacDonald showed up at meetings of the city planning commission to demand rezoning that would restrict the area to one-family residences. But calmer heads prevailed, and Joe Drown was allowed to build what has been called a motel gone to heaven: rambling pink stucco, vaguely mission-style, with an oval pool where the paddock once stood.

More than 50 years later the place is, in style and substance, remarkably true to Drown’s original vision: a labyrinth of shaded colonnades and corridors, secluded courtyards and lush landscapes in which to stroll. On many weekends, the broad lawns provide a photo op for a bride and groom, posing amid the gaudy pink and red camellias, orange and lemon trees heavy with fruit, sweet-smelling gardenia and jasmine, and bodacious birds-of-paradise. A 75-foot silk floss tree is the largest in North America, and a working herb garden provides lavender for the dining room’s scented ice cream. The 11.5-acre property is tended by nine full-time gardeners, some with cell phones in their back pockets. The fireplace in the wood-paneled bar is stoked year-round, oblivious to immutable California sunshine, and the underground tunnel that once led horses out of the stables is now part of the wine cellar. An arched stone bridge leads to an unconventional reception area, so unobtrusive that first-timers must be directed there, and each of the 92 rooms (including 40 suites) has a private entrance, contributing to the hotel’s reputation for high-class hanky-panky—what longtime concierge Phil Landon candidly called “the biggest shack-up business in town.” (An actress once complained about her room, comparing it unfavorably to others she’d occupied there. “But this is the first time you’ve been a registered guest,” said Landon.)

Sadly, they separated after just four months of marriage in June 1942. Cryodom M. Wassell, then a Lieutenant Commander in the US army, was her escort right after the separation. Following him were Bill Girard and Alexis Thompson.

July was the month for Vic Orsatti, who escorted her around parties. That same month she changed her name to Cornelia and her friends already called her “Corny” (was this supposed to be good publicity? Meh!).

BettyeAvery4In August 1942, she and Drown were underway for a reconciliation, but that did not last long and she was seen with David May. She was also seen with super agent Bob Ritchie. In September, the Drowns tried for another reconciliation, and it seems this one was of longer duration. They were firmly reconciled for their first wedding anniversary in December 1942. By January 1943, they were seemingly going steady. Their daughter Francesca Elizabeth Drown was born on August 31, 1944.

Despite their reconciliation and a baby daughter, the Drowns separated for good in 1945? In February 1945, Drown was having dates with Joan Blondell. In September 1946 he dated Iris Bynum, the Texas siren I already profiled on this blog. He also went on to date Martha Kemp (the onetime wife of Victor Mature), Lisa Kincaid and Jacqueline Dayla.

Anyway, in 1946 Bettye was seen with Jim Stack, brother of Bob, and producer Ben Bogeaus who married and divorced another starlet, Dolores Moran. Bettye then started dating Tony Martin, famous crooner. Now that was a serious relationship lasting several months. They were together from March 1947, and Tony was on hand to give Bettye a bracelet when she left for a months log sojourn in Paris. She also went on a few dates with Cary Grant (both were socially active, but never dated to the amazement of the gossip columnists). Conveniently, her on the side date, David Niven, was also in Paris at the same time. George Sanders was also never far away (at least the papers hinted it, huh huh). When she returned, Martin was eagerly awaiting her, and he often popped to the East coast to be with her. However, she was hardly her only one, as he dated Kenneth Schmidt and the papers even tipped that they were looking towards Las Vegas to get hitched. Yet, by November 1947 she was already dating Barry Bannen and no further mentions of Schmidt. By early 1948, Martin was again the number one man in her life, along with Conrad Hilton Jr., the son of the partner of her former husband. Skip forward to 1949, and Bettye was dating Bill Dozier, the former husband of Joan Fontaine.

Elizabeth married oilman Howard Keck in 1949 or 1950. Howard Keck was born on September 20, 1913, in Trinidad, California, the second of the six children of Alice Keck and William Myron Keck, the founder of the Superior Oil Company of California and Keck Foundation (that funded the construction of the Keck telescopes).

The Kecks had three children together: Howard Brighton Keck Jr., born on October 3, 1950, Kerry Cornelia Keck, born on August 21, 1952, and Erin Anne Keck, born on September 20, 1954. Howard also adopted her daughter Francesca.

The Kecks became the focal point of high society in Bel Air, building a huge estate, La Lanterne, dabbling horse races and being very active as philanthropists. As an article (you can read it here) said about Libby:

She owns Ferdinand, the thoroughbred that won the Kentucky Derby in 1986.

Libby Keck is best known as a world-class collector who has assembled a museum-quality treasure of French tapestries, paintings and exquisite furnishings once owned by the likes of Louis XIV, Marie Antoinette and Napoleon.

In happier days, La Lanterne, a walled estate on Bellagio Road, was a regular stop for curators from Europe’s finest museums, many of whom had competed with Libby Keck for those precious objects.

It was a nice, lofty life with loads of money. However, like many times in real life, something sinister was lurking behind the facade. Namely, Howard was at terrible odds with his two siblings, sister Wilametta and brother William. It escalated int he early 1980s (taken from this article):

He retired in 1981 after spending his entire career with the company, although his involvement with Superior remained strong. In 1983, he and his sister, Willametta Keck Day, became involved in a highly publicized battle over whether the company should be sold. Mr. Keck’s sister, favoring such a sale, took out newspaper advertisements advising shareholders to vote on a resolution that would permit it.

Mrs. Day and her supporters won a shareholder proxy fight. In late 1983, Mr. Keck resigned from the oil company’s board, signaling to many that he was ready to sell his sizable stake in Superior. In 1984, the Mobil Corporation bought Superior Oil for $5.7 billion.

TonyMartinBettyeAfter going strong for 30+ years, the The Kecks marriage broke down in the late 1980s and by the early 1990, they lived on the same property in Bel Air but never saw each other (as the property was sooo huge). They finally divorced in 1992, with Elizabeth gaining 11 million dollars in the divorce settlement, plus monthly payments.

As noted California divorce lawyer, Scott Robinson, said in an interview about the divorce (OC is the interviewer, and SR is the lawyer):

OC: And you came to Liner in 2011. To shift gears here a little bit, you keep your clients and your clients’ matters very confidential. I’m assuming that’s mostly during the course of the case or the matter as it unfolds. But when you look back what are one or two cases that come to mind as being very intriguing or rewarding. Are there a couple of cases that you can talk about?

SR: Well, at the outset of my career [in the family law practice area], the case that really piqued my interest in the practice involved representing a woman by the name of Elizabeth Keck. Libby was married to a guy named Howard Keck, who is one of the heirs of the Standard Oil fortune. There’s the Keck Foundation and the Keck School of Medicine at USC, and the Keck telescopes in Hawaii. That was a very interesting case because it exposed me to a broad range of financial interests that individuals could own. Mrs. Keck owned the racehorse Secretariat. They had a private plane, and that was back before there were Boeing business Jets. They had to make it their personal plane. They built a two-bedroom home in Bel Air, and spent more than $40 million—and that was back when $40 million was really a lot of money. It’s a lot of money now, but back then the two bedroom home in Bel Air $40 million was really an eye-opener. That was the case that really got me interested in family law. This wasn’t just about how to divide your income. It was about dividing vast sums of wealth, and helping people who had been married for a long time exit their divorce with dignity and respect. That really stood out to me.

OC: Was it a messy divorce?

SR: It was not particularly messy. Any case that involves lots of complicated assets has some complexity to it. But I wouldn’t call it messy.

Than something even worse happened… This is a tragi-comedy story for sure! I’ll let you read the article about it, taken from this page, by Canadian writer Max Haines, taken from this site (this is a loong article so be ready for it, but it’s so interesting I decided to leave it intact):

William Keck made his first big dollars in oil leases. In time, he amalgamated his holdings into Superior Oil with assets in the billions. In 1964, William died, leaving his fortune to his three children, William, Jr., Howard and Willametta. In 1983, William died. Willametta passed away a year later.

On the surface, it would appear that Howard stood to inherit the whole kit and kaboodle, but there was a catch. William had set up a trust back in 1964, stating that his entire fortune was to pass along to his grandchildren upon the death of his last surviving offspring, who turned out to be Howard.

At this juncture, I would be remiss if I failed to elaborate on the Keck family’s wealth. Superior was sold to Mobil Oil for $5.7 billion. Howard and his wife, Libby, lived in an 11,000-square-foot home in Bel Air’s Stone Canyon. The house was custom built for Libby, who modelled it after a pavilion in Versailles, France. The estate cost $42 million and was called La Lanterne.

At 65 years of age, Libby, an attractive woman, was director of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Huntington Museum and the Los Angeles Music Center. For fun, Libby dabbled in horse racing. The jewel in the crown of her stable was Ferdinand. With Willie Shoemaker in the irons, Ferdinand won the 1986 Kentucky Derby. Howard and Libby once endowed the California Institute of Technology with $70 million. You get the idea. The Keck family was one of the wealthiest clans in the entire United States.

BettyeAvery2 (1)Howard and Libby had three children of their own, as well as a daughter from Libby’s previous marriage. Evidently, Howard Jr. became nervous in the service. He launched a lawsuit to clarify his rights to the Keck family fortune in the event of his father’s demise.

Father didn’t like this move one little bit. He put forward the proposition that Howard Jr. wasn’t really his son at all, but had been sired by another. He also threatened to adopt children, thereby diluting Howard Jr.’s inheritance.

No doubt about it, the Kecks were a troubled family. Around this time, Libby and Howard decided to divorce, although both continued to live in separate quarters in La Lanterne while their case ground through the courts. The very rich do things like that.

The Kecks’ domestic difficulties had a spillover effect on other people. Their butler and all around man, Roy Donell, had been with the Kecks for 11 years. He was a conscientious employee, who acted more as a manager than a butler. Roy purchased all the food brought into La Lanterne, which amounted to more than $5,000 per month. Roy, 61, and his wife, Christina, who was employed as a cook at La Lanterne, could see their secure well-paying jobs evaporating as the Kecks’ marriage deteriorated.

Now, I’ll let you in on a little secret. He desperately needed every cent he earned because he was leading a double life. Yes, Roy had a sweet morsel, Ester Ariza, stashed away in an apartment on Santa Monica Boulevard. While Christina was a frail 67, Ester, a warmblooded Colombian, had seen only 45 summers come and go.

There were complications. Ester, who had expensive tastes, had been led to believe that Roy had divorced his wife, but felt honour bound to support her. As if that weren’t enough, in a moment of weakness, he had promised to pay her 20-year-old son Andy’s way through college.

The Kecks had priceless antiques and works of art sprinkled throughout their home. Some were so well-known, such as a Gainsborough, that they were impossible to sell. But there were other paintings. In fact, the Kecks had so many that they kept several in storage in their original crates.

In Sept. 1986, Roy took one of the crated paintings entitled Fete Gallante, a miniature by French artist Le Clerk des Gobelins, out of La Lanterne and kept it in his apartment until it was time for him to take his vacation.

Despite having worked in the U.S. for years, Roy never gave up his Swedish citizenship. He travelled to Sweden with the painting, paid a few hundred dollars to customs to get it into the country, and called on Beijars Auktioner, one of the country’s largest art dealers. An expert examined the painting and declared it to be genuine. Beijars were delighted to auction off the painting for their new client, Roy Donell. Within a week, it was sold and Roy collected the proceeds, some $5,000 after the auctioneer’s commission was deducted. Roy had passed Art Theft 101 with flying colours.

At the end of his vacation, the cunning butler and his wife returned to their duties at La Lanterne $5,000 richer. Roy knew that he couldn’t retire on selling such paintings, nor could he peddle Gainsboroughs. He looked around the estate for something in between. To his way of thinking, the most saleable work of art in the collection was an 1888 work by Sweden’s Anders Leonhard Zorn, which Libby had purchased in 1982 for $88,000. The painting, entitled I Fria Luften (In Free Air), depicted a nude dressing her son near a pond.

Roy stayed on at the Kecks’ turbulent household for a few months before giving his notice. He explained that he and Christina had decided to retire to Sweden. Roy took a photo of the Zorn, had a slide made and took it personally to Rossi Photographic Custom Lab to have an enlargement made the exact size of the original. When the enlargement was produced, Roy was not happy with the quality of the reproduction. He was told by the manager of the lab that they couldn’t do any better from a slide. They required the original. A few days later, Roy appeared with the painting and stayed with it while a large negative was produced. A week later, he picked up an exact replica of I Fria Luften.

Roy put the photograph into the original frame. No one looked very much at the valuable paintings anyway. After all, there was a proliferation of well-known works around the house.

The butler left for Sweden, not with his wife, but with his mistress Ester. He dropped off the valuable painting at Beijars and collected a down payment of $85,000 while he toured Europe. The painting brought $550,000 at auction. After the auctioneer’s commission, Roy pocketed an additional

$355,000, for a total of $440,000 on the deal. Mission completed, the couple returned to Los Angeles.

Roy had pulled off a successful caper, right up until the day four months later when Libby stared at I Fria Luften. Son of a gun, it was smooth as silk! The authentic painting, an oil, had a rough surface. Libby’s first reaction was to scream. Her second was to call the police.

Detectives confirmed that to make such a photograph the original had to be removed from the frame. As there had been no breach of the extensive security system, which protected the estate, it was felt that the theft was an inside job. Only two employees had recently left the Keck household, namely Roy and Christina Donell.

It didn’t take long to trace Roy to an apartment in Los Angeles. He was taken into custody without incident. A search of his apartment uncovered a brochure from Beijars Auktioner, as well as transfer receipts from Beijars to the Security Pacific Bank in L.A. In all, $85,000 had been transferred to the bank. Police also found a price list from Rossi Photographic Custom Lab.

Roy was lodged in jail while the airtight case against him was developed by police. Ester and Christina, the two women in Roy’s life, claimed they had no knowledge of Roy’s thieving ways. They were never charged with any crime.

Roy went to trial facing two counts of grand theft. From the witness stand he admitted that he had stolen both paintings.

But hold on a minute.

Roy claimed that he had done it all under instructions from Libby Keck. What’s more, he had given her all the money. According to Roy, he had helped Libby because she had wanted to accumulate cash in her own name due to her impending divorce.

To counteract this rather startling evidence, Libby took the stand and stated she didn’t need to raise what she called a pittance. She gave some figures, which revealed her lifestyle. Pending her divorce, she was receiving a $5,000 a month grocery allowance, $25,000 for clothing, $1,200 for lunches, $3,300 for dinners and $10,000 for dinner parties. She also had $11 million in accounts she controlled. Would she enter a scheme with her butler to steal $440,000? As Libby said from the witness stand, “I could have written a cheque for the whole amount.”

The jury was faced with the problem of who to believe. Strangely enough, they chose to believe Roy Donell and returned a verdict of not guilty.

Howard Keck died on December 14, 1996.

I have no idea what happened to Elizabeth Keck after her divorce. I hope she is alive and kicking and happy somewhere.

Bunny Cooper


Bunny Cooper was a pretty girl who never amounted to much in Hollywood, but found her true calling after marrying a noted writer and sharing a life of family, adventure and research with him.


Berna Anne Cooper was born on June 9, 1931 in Newton, Massachusetts, to Benjamin Austin Cooper and Bernardine McDade. Her father was a college educated engineer. Her mother was born in Canada and a naturalized US citizen.

The family moved around, first to Connecticut where her younger brother Benjamin was born on September 30, 1933. In the late 1930s, they moved to New York. Bunny attended high school there and afterwards got married and divorced before going for Hollywood.


Bunny appeared in only one film in her career, the Lana Turner vehicle Diane – what to say about this movie? It’s starts as a promising story of Diane de Poitiers, the 16th century noblewoman who became the mistress of the french king Henry, but falls int the favorite trap of so many epic movies – too much money, too little soul. The sets, the costumes, the musical score, almost everything in fact, is stupendous, done meticulously and lavishly. But the story? The characters? Do we root for them? Do we see than as real flesh and blood people? Well… No. They just “drown” in all the splendor around them, and become secondary in the whole affair. Lana Turner is also worth discussing – she was by no means a good actress, and despite getting better with age, she never achieved a high level of thespian skill. Despite this, I find her interesting and actually enjoy watching her movies. She had a better filmography than many other more talented actresses. Also worth noting is the male lead, played by Roger Moore way before he became James Bond. You can see the same elegance and virility that would make him such a popular 007 in his later years. Bunny plays Lana’s lady in waiting, a glamorous but small role.    

The same year, Bunny appeared in two TV series, Bourbon Street Beat and 77 Sunset Strip, got married and left acting.


Berna Ann Cooper, as she was known then, married Peter Shattack on April 28, 1951, not yet 20 years old. They had a son together, also named Peter, but divorced around 1955.

Bunny’s ticket to Hollywood was Joan Crawford, whom she met via her brother, Ben, who was a regular in Hollywood by that time. Joan liked Bunny and asked her to try he hand at movies. Despite her slim career, Bunny ended in Hollywood and her life would have been totally different if she had not.

BunnyCooperIn Hollywood, Bunny dated Sterling Hayden, the funky blonde giant of an actor, previously married to Madeleine Carroll and Betty Ann de Noon. They were pretty serious for a time in the 1956. In 1957, she was often with Gene Nelson, just divorced from Miriam Franklin. Like many a times when a man is freshly divorced, it did not work.

Then, in mid 1959, Bunny met THE man of her life – writer Hank Searls. They wed on December 19, 1959, after knowing each other for only five months.

Henry Hunt Searls was born on August 10, 1922, in San Francisco, California, a fourth generation Californian. His father, Henry Hunt Searls Sr., was a notable surgeon who was a associate professor and also worked for the US army. Searls had a very interesting life before meeting Bunny. Some information (taken from this site):

SEARLS, HENRY HUNT “HANK,” JR. (1922- ). Novelist and author of nonfiction and short fiction, Hank Searls was born in San Francisco 10 August 1922. Graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1944 with the wartime-accelerated class of 1945, he remained an active-duty naval officer until 1954. He served in the Pacific as a gunnery officer on U.S.S.Washington and later with air photo reconnaissance squadrons mapping Labrador and Newfoundland. Indeed, it was at 20,000 feet in a B-24 flying over Newfoundland that Searls began writing, initially detective and aviation short fiction.

His thrillers often involve aviation or aquatic themes; he wrote novelizations of the movies Jaws 2 (1978) and Jaws: The Revenge (1971). Kataki (1987) fictionalizes George Bush’s World War II experiences as a navy pilot in the Pacific. Also set in World War II, The Hero Ship (1969) involves an American carrier heavily damaged by kamikazes, inspired by the near sinking of the U.S.S. Franklin, whch Searls witnessed. In the early 1970s Searls and his wife sailed the South Pacific, a voyage he made use of in Overboard (1977), where a man and wife try to resolve relational differences while sailing the South Pacific. Sounding (1982) is a remarkable modern counterpart to Moby-Dick (1851), with a whale-protagonist as a thoroughly developed character yet still “very like a whale.”

Perhaps Searls’ best-known book is the nonfiction The Lost Prince: Young Joe, the Forgotten Kennedy (1969), about the Kennedy brother whose plane was shot down over France on a special mission during World War II. by C. Herbert Gilliland

Searls was married once before and had two children, Courtney Searls and Henry “Hank” Searls, bron in the late 1940s.

After living in Malibuu when their children were small, they gave up the comfy life and the “rat rate” to live on a boat so Hank can do research to write a book, Outbound. So, in February 1972, they left San Diego for Pitcairn island. All in all, they lived for three years on a boat, ending up in New Zealand. They gave extensive interviews about the experience afterwards. It wasn’t an easy life, especially after the encountered one of the New Zealand gales, and three days later they were both seasick, lost their engine, had a bad leak, had no radio. In this less than stellar situation, Bunny proved to be a true survivor as she took the sextant and learned to navigate the good old fashioned way. Bunny also had to cook on a old three burner alcohol stove with an oven and when the weather got rough, she was tied with a window washer’s belt in the gallery.

The experience, with two people alone on the boat, with nothing but the elements around them, served to cement the Searls marriage for keeps. They sold the boat when they stopped in New Zealand, but continued to sail for rest and recreation afterwards.

For the next twenty years, Bunny became her husband’s assistant, researching with him every and each one of his novels. Their close relationship is very touching and is a true and true companionship between two people who truly love and understand each other.

For a time after their return to the States, they lived in a cozy, two-bedroom condo overlooking a golf course in Newport Beach. They enjoyed the local social life and played tennis frequently. The Searls moved to Washington state in the 1990s. They are active member so of the local community, donating money to charitable causes and holding the Authors’ Workshop for budding writers in the city.

Bunny Searls lives with her husband in Gig Harbor, Washington.



Audrey Korn


Pretty college girl who went to Hollywood hoping for a big break, Audrey Korn was a dime a dozen in Tinsel Town. Not surprisingly, after a brief and unsatisfying career, she gave it all up for marriage


Audrey Myrtle Korn was born on September 14, 1920, in Chicago, Illinois, to Samuel Korn and Pearl Mack. Her older brother Harold B. was born in 1918. She also had a younger sister, but I could not find any information about when she was born nor what is her name.

Her paternal grandparents were immigrants from Romania. In 1930, the family lived with a German family in Chicago. After graduating from high school in Chicago, Audrey attended university (I don’t know which one) and that she gave up her studies to make her Hollywood dream come true.


Audrey appeared in only five movies during her whole career, and she was uncredited in all of them.

Up in Arms (again this movie!!). Yes, again. Seems all of the starlets in 1944 appeared in it. No comments necessary. Like Danny Kaye an and his brand of humor? Watch it by all means, otherwise keep away.

In 1945, she appeared in Duffy’s Tavern, an all star extravaganza. You may ask what “Duffy’s Tavern” is? Taken from IMDB:

“Hello – Duffy’s Tavern where the elite meet to eat, Archie the manager speakin’, Duffy ain’t here. – Oh, hello Duffy.” This greeting, preceded by “When Irish Eyes are Smiling” played on a tinny piano, announced to millions of radio listeners that it was time for DUFFY’S TAVERN. Fans of this popular program knew they were in store for laughs, big-name guest stars, sometimes a little music and always their favorite characters holding forth at the New York dive headed by Archie himself. Ed Gardner, a former piano player, salesman, talent agent and radio director (in that order) created the program and cast himself in the lead when he couldn’t find an actor that spoke “New York bartender” as well as he did. The series ran from 1941-1952, premiering on the CBS Radio Network and later moving to NBC. Each episode opened with the proprietor Duffy, who never appeared, phoning his manager and setting up the action that would follow in the next half hour. Archie was known for insulting his guest stars and his Damon Runyanesque speech. (In fact Abe Burrows, co-writer with Runyon of GUYS AND DOLLS, got his start on DUFFY’S TAVERN.) Regulars included Eddie Green as the wise-cracking Eddie the waiter and Charles Cantor as the intellectually-challenged Finnegan. Gardner’s wife Shirley Booth originated the role of Miss Duffy, the ditzy, man-hungry daughter of the owner. At least a dozen other actresses played the role during the series 11 year run. Though DUFFY’S TAVERN made the transition to television in 1954, it only lasted for one season.

AudreyKorn2Al of the major studios made this kind og al star movies for the war effort. Paramount thus gave us a movie where you can see Bing Crosby, Betty Hutton, Paulette Goddard, Alan Ladd, Dorothy Lamour, Veronica Lake, Eddie Bracken and so on.

The Stork Club is a lightweight, fluffy Betty Hutton movie. The plot (taken from IMDB: A hat-check girl at the Stork Club (Hutton) saves the life of a drowning man (Fitzgerald). A rich man, he decides to repay her by anonymously giving her a bank account, a luxury apartment and a charge account at a department store) is pretty much completely unbelievable, but hey, after reading the plot of most other musicals of the era, who can complain? Hutton was a dynamo and one fo the most charming stars of the 1940s, and she was successfully carry a movie, and it’s a plus if she has good support. Here she had Barry Fitzgerald – what more could you ask? Plus you get to see how Stork club looked like – and the Stork club was THE place to be in the 1940s. Nice bit of the golden age nostalgia for sure.

The Blue Dahlia is one of the better known film noirs of the 1940s, and perhaps the most famous pairing of Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake. it’s not the best film noir, not by along shot, lacking he grittiness and sheer power some stellar examples of the genre have, but it’s well plotted (despite some minor plot holes), moves swiftly and the cast is good enough. While antagonistic in real life, Ladd and Lake are a wonder together and truly have that “magical chemistry” that all great screen teams had. Lake was never a first class actress (she was more of a type who got on beauty than acting skill), but she makes it work.

Blue Skies is a a musical pairing two giants of the genre: Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire. Of course, they are locked in a love triangle struggle for the love of a girl, plays rather uninspiredly by Joan Caulfield. Though the plot is thin who cares when you can see Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire at their very best. A running gag: guess who gets the girl in the end? Har har har…

Audrey gave up Hollywood for marriage and never made another movie.


Audrey dated musical-western star Dick Foran for a time in 1940. He was freshly divorced from Ruth Hollingsworth and obviously not yet ready for a serious relationship. In 1941, she was showered by candy and flowers by entertainment lawyer Paul Ralli.

In January 1945, Audrey was named a Stork Club Orchid and appeared in the movies about the famous club. Sady, of all the girls who were stock club orchid, none achieved any level of cinematic success (not even remotely!).

Audrey started dating Nelson Nathanson, Hollywood dress designer, sometime in 1944, while he was on a furlough. He had to depart for war not long after and they kept up the correspondence for 17 months. Finally, in mid 1945, he was discharged and they could merge.

Audrey married Nelson S. Nathanson on . Nathanson was born on January 9, 1920, in Cleveland, Ohio, to Morris P Nathanson and Helen E Nathanson. Audrey gave up her career to raise a family with Nelson.

Their daughter Shelley Arnette was born on April 9, 1949. Their son Albert Scott was born on January 10, 1952. The Nathansons were active members of the local Van Nuys community, with Audrey teaching children how to dance and choreographing dances for celebrations. nelson worked for M. Michaelson and Company and was a popular designer, especially of coats. He often traveled around the world with his wife to find inspiration for next years fashion lines.

Nelson Nathanson died on April 27, 1967 in California.

Audrey remarried to Max Garth after Nelson’s death. Garth was born in 1910. They lived in Sherman Oaks together.

Max Garth died on October 20, 2001.

Audrey K. Garth died on March 6, 2003 in Los Angeles, California.

Elinor Troy


Considered the first Amazon glamour chorine, Elinor Troy, the 6’2” statuesque stunner with raven hair and dark eyes, truly was a knockout. Yet, she hardly remembered today and not for her slim achievements in the movie making area but her very colorful private life.


Elinor Edmonston was born on September 15, 1916 in Washington DC, to Eric Edmonston and Elsie Ashly. She was the oldest of three children: her younger brother Eric Jr. was born in 1917, and her younger sister Ruth in 1920.

Little is known about Elinor’s childhood, except that she grew up in Washington DC, and finished only the first two grades of high school. Allegedly she left Washington with the sole purpose of appearing in Busby Berkeley production. The man saw her, liked what he saw and signed her right away.


Elinor first appeared in a movie from 1937, Meet the Boy Friend. There is nothing worthwhile to mention about this late 1930s comedy – all the usual elements are here, including a moronic script, little known actors and pedestrian direction. Those movies are hardly worth watching today, with so many more worthwhile films on the stack!

ElinorTroy8Elinor’s next comedy, Nothing Sacred, is a gem in her filmography. A seminal comedy with Carole Lombard, the queen of all comediennes and the indomitable Frederic March, it possesses a fast moving, brutal but very effective humor native to the decade. The story is a satire at its best, dealing with how the media distorts facts and pushes towards sensationalism at every chance. As one review on IMDB wrote: “The writing cuts to the bone, exposing hypocrisy in all its forms. The film is as fresh today, and is as relevant to the culture, as it was when it was made.” Also watch out for a great supporting cast (Walter Connolly, Margaret Hamilton, Sig Ruman). They don’t get much better than this!

Kiss the Boys Goodbye is a completely forgotten Mary Martin musical. Martin was truly one of the actresses that were tops in the theater but never managed to arouse the same level of excitement in movies.

The Fleet’s In is a movie that boasts an incredible cast (William Holden, Dorothy Lamour, Betty Hutton – all of them went on to make bigger and better things) but everything else if sub par. Worth watching if only to see all of these luminaries in one place (that never happened again!).

The Falcon Takes Over is a movie that tries and to some degree, manages to mix opposite genres. We al know who Falcon is – the suave, charming ElinorTroy10Casanova solving crimes between his caviar and champagne. Yet, the story is taken from a Raymond Chandler book, “Farewell my lovely.” We all know that Chandler wrote gritty, dark, turgid stories full of flawed men, alcohol, murder and lethal dames. So, how do the two mix and match? The sophisticated Falcon and the working man Phillip Marlowe (to put it mildly)? However, the movie surprises and manages to mix and match the two genres not brilliantly but well enough to make it work.

Lady of Burlesque is certainly a more worthwhile movie, today considered a solid 1940s comedy. It deals with a touchy theme, the world of burlesque – and the murders that happen within. Considering Hollywood’s try to be as snow pure and happy go lucky as it gets (the reason I am not a big MGM fan!), this is quite a bold move, to make a movie about strippers. Here we directly see the innovative way writers an directors fought the production code that, at its most valiant tries, turned serious movies into predictable, black and white mushes with little grey undertones. Despite dealing with an unsavory world of sleazy men and nude women, the movie masterfully sweeps by without touching anything that could taint it. The script is witty and elegant, the direction in firm and masterful, and the girls give decent portrayals. Barbara Stanwyck, in the leading role, truly was one of the biggest talent of the golden age of Hollywood (and interestingly, she is an actress I don’t personally like but admire). As one reviewer on IMDB wrote: “The result was a movie that captured the seedy, underworld-edged world of burlesque without actually causing censors to yank it from distribution.”

Let’s Face It was once a risky Broadway play, but guess what happened when Hollywood got his hands on it? Yep,a watered down comedy. While it does slightly retain some of the edge of the original play, it’s “too little, too late”. If you put the serious artistic pretensions aside, it’s still a well crafted musical comedy with a solid cast – Bob Hope, Betty Hutton, Eve Arden. Bob and Betty are a fine couple with good chemistry, too bad they never made more movies. Music by Cole Porter is also a big plus.

ElinorTroy2One can watch Atlantic City if nothing than for the superb vaudeville/musical sequences. Where else can you see Louis Armstrong and his band on film, or a pre-fame Dorothy Dangridge doing her stuff? As typical for a musical, these sequences take precedence over the story and the leads. I personally dislike these type of musicals for this same reason, as story and characters are king in my book, but to each his own!

Lost in a Harem is the best movie Abbott and Costello did for MGM. The studio (about which I have wildly differing opinions about, but that’s a topic for a long discussion!) was based more on saccharine sweet musicals and comedy teams like the Marx Brothers and Abbott and Costello always fell into the backwater hole for them. This is obvious in the movies – they often stuff it with various bandleaders and their bands (this was not supposed to be a musical!) to give it a bigger appeal, and tone down the Abbott and Costello. Despite this, it’s a okay comedy, with some great sequences and a very oily bad guy (Douglas Dumberville).

See My Lawyer is a Ole and Chic comedy movie, their last. The plot is non existent, but the The Nat King Cole Trio and Carmen Amaya and her Troupe are more than enough reason to at least take a look at it.

Nob Hill is George Raft’s last leading role in a big production (he would fall into . It’s not a bad movie – whiel the plot is a rip of of several prior movies like Barbary Coast and Hello, Frisco, Hello, it serves as a well enough backdrop for character development. However, George gets a step down compared to his co star, the child actress Margaret O’Brien, and the same goes to his love interest, Joan Bennett.

Anchors Aweigh is a classical 1940s musical with Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra. You like colorful, fun, lightweight fare? Then don’t miss this one.

Of Human Bondage  is an adaptation of the famous Somerset Maugham novel, and sadly inferior to the better known 1938 version. Let’s be frank, Paul Henreid can’t hold a candle to the supremely talented Leslie Howard, and while Eleanor Parker is good enough as Mildred, but cannot top Bette Davis.

Health reasons made Elinor retire from movies after 1946.


Elinor had a very colorful private life. My own opinion of her is that she was a fiery girl with an attitude who easily got mad and did stuff she later regretted. She was also more than a little bit silly, not the type to think about the future and lived for the moment, but a very positive and giddy person.

She hit the papers in 1934, when Busby Berkeley called her the girl with a perfect figure. On February 21, 1934, Elinor married Charles Carrara. Carrara was born in 1891 in Italy to Carlo Carrara and Agnes Cirgretti, making him quite a bit older than Elinor. The marriage was dissolved by 1936. Elinor went to live with her mom Elsie afterwards, who was by that time separated but not divorced from her dad Eric.

ElinorTroy6Her first real scandal came in 1937, and concerning crooner Jack Doyle, the singing boxed nicknamed “Irish Thush”. His affections the subject of a 2,000,000 love theft suit, brought on by his wife Judith Allen against prominent socialite Mrs. Delphine Dodge Cromwell Baker Godde. Elinor was literary the collateral, as she was mentioned in the lawsuit as Jack’s sometime companion, a fish bowl dancer. The guy sure went around! The suit stretched on and on, with massive newspaper coverage (don’t the media just love these kind of things?). Of course, Elinor issued the mandatory denial, saying she was a good friend of the Doyles and that they spent a few pleasant evening together (the three of them, of course). Then another girl, by the name of Jeanne Manet, also came forward as his escort of the year before.

During this whole mess, Elinor dated Frank Fay, the former husband of Barbara Stanwyck. However, she was far from finished with Doyle. Doyle did indeed divorce Allen in April 1938, but he never did marry Delphine. Elinor and he continued to date. In October 1938, she made headlines again when she knocked out Doyle after he failed to appear at a rendezvous. Sure enough, he had a date with Japanese beauty Michi Taka, and when Elinor saw them two together, wham! A photographer was conveniently present to see that the whole story went right to the papers… Later, she claimed they were engaged – he denied it. Yet, they made up and she even went with him to Ellis Island to assist him in obtaining permanent admission to the US.

In 1939, Elinor met the man who would end up begin her ticket to fame – Tommy Manville. What to say about this guy? Let this text speak for itself (taken from Wikipedia):

Thomas Franklyn Manville, Jr., universally known as Tommy Manville (April 9, 1894 – October 9, 1967), was a Manhattan socialite and heir to the Johns-Manville asbestos fortune. He was a celebrity in the mid 20th Century, by virtue of his large financial inheritance, and his 13 marriages to 11 women. This feat won him an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records, and made him the subject of much gossip.

ElinorTroy4In October 1939, he paid a chartered plane to bring Elinor to New York – she was the only passenger. Imagine the cost! For five days afterwards they went from club to club, then finally got into a tiff and separated. Elinor had to take a cab after Tommy left her hanging in a club! The reason could have been Hoot Gibson, the virile western star. Hoot was the man of the hour in late 1939, and send Elinor an orchid a day. What a romantic!

Yet, by early 1940, she was seen with Franchot Tone in Florida. By February, she was again enmared by Manville, and rumors flew the two will wed. That was hushes quickly, and Elinor bought a mansion in Washington for her mother (imagine, how much chorus girls make!). Next in line was George Jessel, who was dating Lois Andrews in parallel (he married Lois in the end so you go figure!). Elinor was allegedly quite smitten with the charming George, even trying to book him a deal with a very rich old broker. Didn’t help there. Owning to her colorful love life, Elinor gathered some notoriety as a girl who was engaged “instantly” to a man after their first date, and the press even chided her for it!

Dashing Lyle Talbot took over as the leading man in April 1940. In May 1940, Elinor was back in Hollywood (finally), and guess who paid for the trip back. Why Manville, of course! He gifted her with a 2800$ car. Return ticket from Manville, to put it succintly. She got a spot at the Florentine Gardens and took up with writer Dick Purcell. By October she was back with Franchot Tone.

In November 1940, Elinor was en route to New York and Tommy Manville again. The idyll lasted for only a few days, Tommy the first to get cooled off. He gave her the chill for two weeks, and then she returned to Hollywood in January 1941, with six new fur coats. All the while, her sister Ruth was seriously ailing in the General Hospital in California, given 60 days to live due to insufficient funds to move her to a drier and warmer climate. Luckily, Ruth recovered and went on to marry W. D. Whitefield and appear on the stage under the name of Ruth Roy.

ElinorTroy3Elinor was dated by John Carroll upon her return, closely followed by George Sanders. Soon, however, Elinor was in the papers again, saying how she wants to get married and have children. Were her playgirl days the thing ot he past by then? Anyway, it’s fun to note that she sometimes got together with other Tommy Manville exes, and they all went to dinner and shows together.

In August 1941, Manville announced her was to be married to Mrs. Beverly Paterno – Elinor was quick to note that a redhead like Paterno could never understand Tommy and give him proper care, so she would fly to New York to be at had. Another beauty, Margot Haller, had the same idea. Meanwhile, back in New York Tommy moaned how he only loved Beverly and needs no help from either Margot or Elinor. I guess tis was a clever bit of publicity as nothing further was heard of it.

In October, Elinor was seen with Leif Erikson. In January 1942, she was again in New York to see Tommy. The saga continues it seems! There she romances John Payne. In April she was back in Los Angeles, claiming that Tommy proposed to her and that she “could have him any moments she wants”. When asked why they did not marry back in 1939, she said that he thought she was flirting with a guy in a nightclub and discovered that she could not cook. A very serious romance for sure! Whatever the truth is,they did not marry, and Elinor later claimed she was the only girl who said no to Tommy Manville.

In April 1943, she was serious about Bill Davey, a wealthy sportsman who gifted her with a diamond wristwatch. Later she tried to sell a script, titled Broadway Playboy, to the studios. Sadly, Elinor fell into some money problems, and had to sell the white fur coat to settle some bills she accumulated and to pay her fare to the East coast.

ElinorTroy7She worked at the Follies Bergere, and fell in love with the same guy like fellow chorine Dorothy Pinto, The two had a backstage fight over the guy (whoever he is!).  In September, she almost married Lieutenant Howard P. Lane, a wealthy Connecticut man. Why did they postpone it? Sadly no information is given, but one can only guess… She was also the girl with the longest silver fox jacket in New York.

Not long after, Elinor became a recluse. She started to loan out her fancy fur coat collection to fellow showgirls in return for slacks. She got a steady boyfriend (no name mentioned) who even sent her a Christmas tree backstage after a show. The guy could have been Lt. True Davis, whom she dated for sure in January 1944.

In June 1944, she was back with a bankroll that would choke a horse (beats me what that means exactly!). Her former beau, Manville, went bankrupt in the meantime, sold a real size painting of Elinor in December 1944.

In October 1945, Elinor was recuperating from a series to health problem, but things seemed to look up. Well, not really. By November 1946, she was sure she would die unless she got 3000$ for treatment. The malady was tuberculosis, and the benefactor they hope to reach was Manville. There was no answer for Manville, and the only one ready to put money for Elinor was her old friend, Van Johnson.

ElinorTroy9She spend all of her time in bed, and to alleviate her boredom, a group of friends wished to buy her a radio photograph, but asked for donations to do so. By June 1948, she was a bit better and even ventured out, but it was not to last long. By August she was back in bed, and got some newspaper coverage in an article where she claimed her biggest worry was not her deteriorating state of health, but her missing Pekingese dog, Tinker, whom she misses very much (so typical of Elinor, who never seemed to be serious about anything). The situation did not approve sadly. Elinor slowly wasted away from TBC and there was nothing to be done about it. While Elinor was probably a silly chorine that lived from day to day, she was a good natured girl and nobody expected this tragic end to her life.

Elinor Troy died on November 29, 1949, in Hollywood, California.

Ann Staunton


Another blonde stunner who came to Hollywood via the chorus line, Ann Staunton ended up much better than many of her contemporaries: while she was never credited and is hardy remembered today, she stayed in Hollywood for 30 years and made appearances in a hefty number of well known movies.


Virginia Ann Koerlin was born on March 20, 1919, in New York City, New York, to William Koerlin and Blanche Perrone. Her paternal grandparents were from Germany, her maternal grandparents from Italy. Her older brother William Jr. was born in 1918. Little is known about her childhood, except that she grew up in New York.

Virginia started working as a chorine just as soon as she graduated from high school. She worked as a professional ice skater and appeared in a large number of revenues. After a “long” stage career, she landed in Hollywood in 1942.


I will only cover Ann’s movie career, leaving the TV appearances behind (as I know little about the 1950s and 1960s series).

Prisoner of Japan is a cheap, low quality spy thriller with a German man emulating a Japanese spy. Summer Storm is an early Douglas Sirk melodrama, and it gives all the hints of the greatness Sirk was to achieve in just a few decades in Hollywood. And I am always glad to see Linda Darnell in movies. Not a great actress, but a compelling one nonetheless!

Next Ann appeared in the classic film noir, The Killers. Burt Lancaster + Ava Gardner = sizzle, sizzle. The Razor’s Edge is another classic and one of my favorite Tyrone Power movies. Hollywood did not make movies as deep as this one frequently (the movie is a watered down version of the book in turn), and they are a joy to watch.

Hit Parade of 1947 was a lesser effort for Ann, as it’s the usual 1940s musical cum comedy cum romance. Eddie Albert, an actor I adore, plays the lead – he was usually the second banana and it is refreshing to see him in the main role for once. Philo Vance Returns

Anybody who loved Christmas movies, or indeed family movies, has probably watched the original Miracle on 34th Street. I find it to be much better than the remake, and Natalie Wood is absolutely gorgeous (and Maureen O’Hara is not bad herself. John Payne is the usual wooden face).

Heartaches is a typical murder mystery made by the dozen in Hollywood in the 1940s. Only thing to distinguish it are the song and dance routines featuring Chill Wills and Kenneth Farrell (you ever heard of this guy? Well, I haven’t, so you guessed it! Obscure actor!). The surprise is – they are both dubbed! So much for genuine musicals…

AnnStauntonDaisy Kenyon is a melodrama with the queen of melodramas, Joan Crawford. The more I watch her movies, the more I appreciate Joan: She was such a singular talent and an immensely charismatic woman, not a trained actress but with a raw and angry quality that many trained actors loose after their intense schooling. Daisy Kenyon is not a top melodrama in terms of  story (woman having an affair with a married man, hoping he would divorce his wife, when a mentally unstable war veteran enters the picture), but it works mostly because of Joan and her supporting actors. When you have Dana Andrews and Henry Fonda, you don’t need much more!

Call Northside 777 is a seminal 1940s movie, and we can say it has everything a film noir needs to become a classic: a capable director (Henry Hathaway), moody, stunning cinematography, a cast of superb actors, and a dark and disturbing story line taken from a real life case (trying to prove a man already convicted of murder innocent). I am not a Jimmy Stewart fan by any stretch of an imagination, but boy, could he act! I am also a big fan of the tragic Helen Walker (who plays Stewart’s wife), one of the most underrated and talented actresses of the period.

After such a intense movie, Ann moved on to lighter fare. The Fuller Brush Man is perhaps the best Red Skelton movie Hollywood ever belted out. Dont’ expect a Nobel prize winning story, but Skelton is a true comedic genius and the lovely Janet Blair is wonderful to watch. Ann continued appearing in Red Skelton movies – A Southern Yankee, certainly a good enough comedy set during the American Civil War.

Now, it was back to more serious movies: Hollow Triumph is a unjustly overlooked film noir. While the story has an improbable beginning, the rest is very plausible and for that sole reason, very very disturbing. The sordid truth, that people are so self absorbed they neglected everything around themselves, hits hard any viewer who watched movie less for the fun and relaxation and more for artistically fulfillment. I love Paul Henreid, and while he was not a model actor with a great range, his tormented face and a lanky, hungry countenance never failed to stir something in me. The cinematography of the movie is a masterpiece of shadow and light, as is often the case with film noir.

Apartment for Peggy is a warm, gentle movie with a simple story (a old professor, so depressed and unhappy he is on the verge of suicide, gets a new lease of life when a young war bride enters his life) and lots of heart.  Of course, the acting performances by the leads, Jeanne Crain and Edmund Gwenn do 90% of the job. As I already said several times, this is the kind of movie you rarely, if ever, see today. While not a gripping, thrilling film that will hold you for the next several days, it will give you several moments of true endearment.   

Ann oscillated happy go lucky movies with extremely dark ones, as her next one, The Snake Pit, can attest. The movie is primarily remembered for the tour de force role of Olivia de Havilland, truly a talent who was often stuck playing genteel but spirited love interests. While Olivia truly was a great choice for such elegantly spunky ladies, she shows her true colors only in movies like this. The movie deals with a very touchy subject – the treatment of mental patients in asylums int he 1940s. A bit on a side story: if you want to know more about the treatment, and love old games, play “Blackstone chronicles” (more on this Wikipedia link). Boy, in the world of gory horror games, this one scared me the most because it was all true. What they did to those poor people. The lobotomies, the cold water treatments, the injection of snake venom and so on… Later, the subject got some coverage with “One flew over the cuckoo’s nest“, but there were other movies dealing with it before (including the very good Shock Corridor). let’s get one things straight: this movie is a very tame version of what happened, but a truly welcome one. Great movie all around.

Criss Cross is an another film noir classic, this time with Burt Lancaster and Yvonne de Carlo. What can I say, I adore Burt and find him to be one AnnStaunton4of the best actors of the 1950s. Int he 1940s he was just getting into his own and he’s not the true juggernaut he would become later, but he is very effective in the role of a man swindled by a seductive femme fatale he is crazy about. It was back to fluffier fare with We’re Not Married! , a comedy that is all about the casting. The plot is moronic, to be mild, and the writing is lacking, but where else can you see luminaries like Marilyn Monroe, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Mtzi Gaynor, Louis Calhern, Eddie Bracken in one movie!

The Snows of Kilimanjaro is not the best Hemingway adaptation, and even today the reviews ae very well mixed. IMHO, part of the problem lies with the actors – while they are all more than adequate, they never strike the right cord. For me, Peck was not a Hemingway hero like Gary Cooper was, and Susan Hayward was not suited for meek wife roles. Ava Gardner fares a bit better as the ideal Hemingway heroines, but eve she is not “it”. Hard to explain, but it often is when you try to make a great short story into a movie. My Wife’s Best Friend is a run of the mill 1950s marriage comedy. Anne Baxter, an actress I personally find to be unique and interesting, plays a typical superficial role these movies demanded for their leads. On the plus side, at least the story is interesting enough (from IMDB: After a man confesses to his wife that he has been unfaithful, she imagines all kinds of ways that historical figures such as Cleopatra and Joan of Arc might handle the situation.)

Bad for Each Other is a mediocre medical drama. Charlton Heston, a man made for playing larger than life heroes (and, accordingly, very uncomfortable in playing normal, everyday people) is good enough as the leading man, a doctor just returned from the Korean war and trying to figure out what to do with his life. Lizabeth Scott and Dianne Foster are the two women vying for his affection (not a bad combo, I have to say!). All in all, solid fare, but nothing to write home about.

Diane is a lavish costume melodrama with Lana Turner playing Diane the Poitiers, mistress of the french king Henry. The movie, like many of the genre, falls victim to it’s own splendor that effectively drowns all the more worthwhile elements of movie making – the story, characters and their interactions. It takes a giant like DeMille go get it right, and sadly the director. Yet, under the lawyers of glamour and glitter lies a solid story with decent performances. Lana Turner is at her bets when she is pitted against Marisa Pavan, who plays the wife of her lover. Also worth noting is that Roger Moore, 15 years before Bond, plays the leading man.

Ten Thousand Bedrooms is a below average musical comedy, Dean Martin’s first solo effort. Why? well because the tried to mesh Dean Martin into something only Cary Grant could pull off. Martin is just not as suave and charming as Cary is, and he’s hardy believable in his role. The music is listless. Only the supporting cast is good enough, with Anna Maria Alberghetti, Dewey Martin and Walter SlezakDesigning Woman is a classic comedy on the track of the 1930s screwball movies. I like Gregory Peck much better in this one, and Lauren Bacall is as “seductive as Eve and cool as the serpent”, as somebody once wrote about her, even in her comedy roles.

The Vampire  is an obscure 1950 horror movie. John Beal plays a kind and friendly small-town doctor, who has got hold accidentally of pills that turn him into a vampire. You can guess the rest. At least Coleen Gray appears in it! Band of Angels is a later day Gone with the wind, even featuring Clark Gable in the lead. GTWT similarities aside, it’s a movie with a social consciousness, but choppily made, bordering on being boring. Yvonne de Carlo is fine enough as the female love interest, but somebody correctly noted that Ava Gardner was born to play such parts, and Yvonne, despite all of her beauty, never tops that. Sidney Poitier get away with the best, meatiest role.

Hell’s Five Hours is a very obscure movie today, the the premise is good enough. From IMDB. “Released in the late ’50s when paranoia about thermonuclear annihilation was running rampant through America, Hell’s Five Hours looks not at Communist operators but at a disturbed individual with access to one installation of the nation’s military-industrial complex. It’s set at night, in cozy Meritville, a little town whose chief employer is a huge and ominous rocket-fuel plant (in an expressionist touch, it registers as a looming bank of lights in the dark distance).” Sadly I can say no more.

Born Reckless is a cheap, sloppily made western. If you like the blonde bombshell types, then you’ll probably enjoy seeing Mamie Van Doren playing a saloon singer so seductive every guy she encounters has to hit on her.

Ada is a Dean Martin/Susan Hayward pairing, and a sadly lukewarm movie. As they say, not the worst but far from good. A bit overly dramatic, but that’s a early 1960s melodrama for you. 13 West Street is an interesting movie, a last starring role for Alan Ladd, one of the first in the “citizen takes things into his own hands after his country fails him.” Ladd plays a engineer constantly bullied by a gang of affluent but completely deviant young men. After the police is unable to do anything worthwhile, he starts snooping around on his own and does things his way. Charles Bronson did a similar thing in the “Death Wish” movie 15 years later, and it’s always a highly relevant subject. Ladd, in one of his last roles, in visibly tormented and in bad health, just perfect for the guy he plays. Dolores Dorn is wonderful as his wife.  Mirage is another good entry into Ann’s filmography, a underrated but well made thriller with Gregory Peck in the leading role.

Ann appeared in two more completely forgotten movies from the early 1970s, The Pleasure Game and Beautiful Peopleand then retired from the screen for good.


Anne landed in Hollywood in 1937, and it was apparent pretty soon that instant fame was not her forte. She took a job as a cigarette girl at the Trocadero, where she met quite a number of gents from the upper echelons of the movie colony. This catapulted her to a more stable movie career not long after.

Anne’s first known beau was boxer Freddie Steele in January 1938, when Ann was just 18 years old. The two were very serious, and there were even rumors Freddie would wed her in his career went as expected. The nuptials never took place,and what exactly happened remain clouded in the mysteries of past.

Anne was a seasoned chorus girl by this time, best friends with fellow chorine Grace Clyde. In December 1939, Anne was often seen with Edmund Goudling, notable director. In January 1940, she enchanted Macoco, an aptly named South American millionaire.

By May, she was beaued by Lyle Talbot, the smooth talking Hollywood actor. She and Talbot got serious pretty soon, and he proposed in mid May. Anne turned him down- turns out she was madly in love with somebody else – Randolph Wade (whoever he was!). In the strange twist of fate, Lyle accepted her decision and they continued to date casually. Cool!

However, you couldn’t hold Ann down back then. In September 1940 she was dating a wealthy aircraft and oil president who lavished her with mink coats and jewelry. In January, she got a 6000$ brooch from him. It was closely followed by a 7500$ diamond and sapphire brooch. However, also to note that is this idyll, Ann had to keep his name a secret since he was still a married man. As time went by, the jewelry spree continued (add a 2000$ diamond ring), but not a word about who the guy might be. You guessed it, that wasn’t a prescription for a successful relationship that would lead to marriage, and in September 1941, after a year of a clandestine affair, Anne was hot and heavy with Mickey Rooney. In November, she was seen with Errol Flynn on board the Queen Mary. Errol insisted that the photographer destroy the negatives. He was separated from Lili Damita by then,  soon to be divorced, so that may be the reason. However, the fling did not last.

Interesting rumor is that Anne had the corner of her eyes slashed so they would look better in front of the cameras. Beats me what that exactly means, but hey, it shows how far girls were ready to go to look every inch the cinematic Venus.

In early 1942, Anne took up with Dick Fishell, the sports announcer. Soon, she switched to a new Dick, also a sports writer, Dick Hyland.

Anne got engaged to Dick in May 1943. They married not long after. Richard Frank Hyland was born on July 26, 1900, in California, to Francis William Hyland and Helen Swett, making him almost 19 years older than Anne. Wikipedia has a short page for him:

Richard Frank Hyland was an American rugby union player who competed in the 1924 Summer Olympics. He was a member of theAmerican rugby union team, which won the gold medal. Hyland also played college football at Stanford University, and went on to become a sportswriter for the Los Angeles Times.

Dick married noted poetess and screenwriter Adela St. Johns in 1928. Their son was born in 1929. Dick and Adela divorced in 1935, amid allegations that Adela was an unfit mother because she used improper language around their son and tried to “destroy his love for his father.”

Ann and Dick’s only child, Patricia Ann, was born on May 21, 1944.Sadly, Anne and Dick separated soon after Patricia’s birth and divorced in 1946. He remarried to Rochelle Elizabeth Hudson on December 17, 1948. Hyland died on July 16, 1981.

She was seen with Anthony Vellier, another writer (she sure had a thing for those!), not long after. Anne fell out of the newspaper radar, and little is known about what happened to her after the 1940s.

What I do know is that Anne married Pierre E. Jannin in 1959 in Nevada. They divorced at some point.

Virginia Ann Staunton died on May 7, 1994, in Los Angeles, California.

Caryl Gould

Caryl Gould

Talented songstress and dancer who made the smallest of splashes in Hollywood (read: none), but turned herself into a successful businesswoman with her husband in her post-Hollywood-career, Caryl Gould sure had a fun and exciting life!


Carol Goldberg was born on April 10,  1918 in New York City, New York, to Morris Goldberg and Yetta Gold. Her older sister Rebeca was born on March 11, 1909. Her younger sister Marilyn was born in the 1920s.

Little is known about her early childhood. She grew up in New York and attended high school there. Caryl started to perform at a very young age, and by the age of 18 was a experienced songstress and dancer appearing in a dozens of night clubs and similar revues. So she landed in Hollywood for a short time.


Caryl appeared in only two movies during her time in Hollywood. The more prominent movie, Movie-Mania, is a short musical designed to showcase the talents of vaudeville pro, Dave Apollon. 
It’s such a pity that in her one and only appearance in movies, Caryl plays a role with zero personality. It’s Dave’s movie all the way, and since he was a one man army who played tons of instruments, danced and sang, so everybody else appearing in it just fades away.
On the flip side, does anybody remember Dave today? Heck no. Except a few apassionatos of obscure classic musicals, nobody has ever heard of him. It seems that the mandolin was hardly the fitting instrument for a future star! So sum it up, this was Dave’s movie, not a particularly good one at that, and Caryl was but a passing fling in it. No lasting fame and fortune from this one.
Caryl sang in one more movie, Love in Gloom. The plot is a typical idiotic fare, not that unusual for musicals. Since the movie has no reviews and is completely forgotten today, I don’t know what else to say about it, so let’s just scrap it.
Both of these movies have no plot and music aplenty (and obviously not very memorable music at that). Not quite what you would do to become a top notch actress. Caryl retired from the movies, and moved to other lucrative fields.


Petite but a real dynamite, Caryl won the hearts of the public easily as she won the hearts of men who flocked to be by her side. By 1936, only 18 years old, Caryl was a well known romantic staple in the press. She was the leading swain of Edward Adler, one of England’s richest store keepers. In June there were news of their eminent engagements. Yet, while Eddie was in the UK, Caryl was hardly staying idle back in the US. The little minx got mixed up between Vic Oliver and his long time girlfriend, Sarah Churchill, a fellow actress (and the daughter of Winston Churchill). Finally, Vic married Sarah, but Caryl was far from frazed!
Yes, in October 1936, Adler came over to the US on the Ile de France to propose to Caryl. While there are no concrete evidence, Caryl obviously turned him down, opting for a career instead of a comfy marriage. In 1937, she was seen around with Erle Strohl.
In 1938, Caryl was one of the many girls seen with Rudy Vallee. Vallee was quite a womanizer back then, dating them by the truckload. His main swain was a stunner named Faye Webb, but for a time Caryl came a very close second. Of course, what could you expect from such a Lothario? They continued their professional relationship long after their personal entanglements ended.
Caryl was quite a good natured, humorous women, as this newspaper snippet from 1941 can attest: “Biggest unintentional laugh of the cafe season was supplied by Beachcombers’ Caryl Gould. Supposed to Introduce Armida as “the Mexican Pepper Pot,” she  left out the Pepper
Caryl married Harold Steinman in 1944. Steinman worked as a boxing promoted in Minnesota before changing lanes to produce happy go lucky shows like Skating Vanities (starting the show in 1942, Harold was a comparative beginner in the business when they married). His most famous protegee was Gloria Nord, a ballerina turned skater he personally selected to become the star of his shows.
The Steinmans only child, a daughter named Ellen Sue, was born on March 9, 1948.
Caryl gave up on one form on showbiz to dedicated herself to another. In other words, after her booty shaking and singing years, Caryl developed into a top businesswoman, along with her husband and other partners. And their trade, was, unusually, the water trade. Confused? Let me enlighten you! The story goes: (taken from the Waltzing Waters site):

In the 1920′s, German inventor, Otto Przystawik, conceived the idea of combining the beauty of fountains with the music and gracefulness of ballet. Thus, “Przystawik’s Dancing Fountains” were born. In the beginning, he created fountains on a small scale for display in restaurants and stores.

Interrupted by World War II, he resumed work in 1950 and created an impressive show at the Resi Ballroom and restaurant in Berlin. Accompanying live music, the spectacular display quickly became a popular local attraction.In 1952 the dancing fountains appeared at an exhibition in Berlin, where they captured the attention of a brilliant New York showman, Harold Steinman. Enthralled by the beauty and spectacle of the shows, Steinman purchased dozens over the next several decades. Naming them the “Dancing Waters”, his New York company sent the shows on tour throughout the United Sates and the rest of the world.

We should take note that it was Caryl who gave Dancing Water its name! And, for further information, taken from this blog (Gorillas’ Don’t Blog):

Throughout the 50s and 60s, several Dancing Waters units toured the US and Europe; they appeared at the NYWF, several state fairs, many flower shows and stadiums, and had (for a very brief time) “permanent” installations at the Royal Nevada Hotel in Las Vegas and Freedomland, USA in New York. The longest-lived permanent installation of one of these German shows was at the Disneyland Hotel.

The fountains were so successful they appeared in the 1984 Olympics. In the late 1980s, they were still active, as this newspaper article can attest:
Dancing Waters colorful light show GALVESTON – To Dancing Waters audiences, whether at the recent closing ceremonies for Liberty Week in New York City, at the 1984 Olympics or at The Amphitheater in Galveston Island State Park, the amazing waters spraying skyward in a multi-colored light show evoke a feeling of magic. But the beauty is achieved through practical means. It’s not magic, unless you happen to consider computers to be magical. To be technical, the fully automated, microchip- controlled installation is 100 feet of fountains that can pump thousands of pounds of recir- culating water through more than 1,800 jets of various sizes to fountains that reach as high as 45 feet. At The Amphitheater, the technical and the beautiful are used to give more excitement to the park scene in “Hello Dolly!” by director James Stoker. The water show also is presented at the end of “Dolly” and during intermission at “The Lone Star.” The two shows are being presented in repertory this summer at the theater. “Until now, Dancing Waters refused to use automation because the technology was not sophisticated enough to reach the level of subtlety and synchronization of our live performances,” said Caryl Steinman, Dancing Waters president. Mrs. Steinman said it took more than five years to work with R.A. Gray, Inc., of San Diego to develop control mechanisms which can create the infinite array of colors, shapes and forms for permanent fountain installations. The Moody Foundation, which has presented the Dancing Waters display at The Ampitheater since 1984, now has made it possible for the show to become a permanent feature in the Galveston Botanical Gardens.
Caryl’s husband Harold died in the 1990s. Her grandson took over the management of the company which still exists today (under the name of Waltzing Waters).
Sadly, Caryl’s daughter Ellen Pater died in 2008 in India from complications from cancer. She was once married to a Mr. Pater, and had three children: Jesse, Heidi and Heather. In her later years she lived with her life partner, Drew Gutterlaite.

Caryl Steinman died on December 26, 2014, at the age of 96, in New York.


Movie Props! Movie Props!

And now for something completely different! Thanks to the immensely nice people at, I was inspired to write about what movie props I would like to see at an auction. Now, this is such an interesting aspect of movie making – set design (AKA movie props). Most of the time you never even noticed them, but upon repeated viewings of a movie, it becomes clear just how vital they are to the film making process. While they can’t save a bad movie with a thin plot or stereotypical characters, they can elevate a mediocre one or make a very good movie a classic! So, let us never underestimate set design again!

The list of props I want to see is very, veery long, and I could even write an additional post or two about it some day, but I said to myself: Limit! Limit! And here it is, the top five props!

Anyway, Before I start, take a look at the Invaluable web site – any lover of beautiful things will find himself in paradise! I enjoyed browsing the site very much, and hopefully everybody can find something they admire. They even have a part devoted to movie props, of which the most famous was Han Solo’s blaster from the Star Wars original trilogy :-)

Now, on to my list! The 5 things I want to see in an auction:

1. The throne/lip couch from Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)


Let me tell you, I ADORE Tim Curry. I consider him one of the ultimate talents of the 20th and 21st centuries. And well, Rocky is a staple for all Tim Curry fans. It’s a weird but incredibly deep and profound movie (and so much more, but you have to watch it to understand why I like it so much and why I like Curry even more!). Plus, if you like glam rock, welcome to the movie that started it all!!!! Rocky all the way!!! The famous lip couch is of course a derivation of the even more famous Salvador Dali’s Mae West lip couch. In the movie he has a less extravagant throne, but you get the picture!

The lip couch version:


Watch the clip here (this is the scene that started it all for me!):

2. The chess set from Thomas Crown Affair (1968)


Whoa, this is one steaming hot scene, and the chess piece is the KEY! Yep, when you have Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway in a hot clinch, you somehow tend to forget that there is anything else, but it all started with a simple chess piece. Watch the clip here:

What more is there to say? They don’t make them like this any more! I love, love, love this movie (the remake, from 1999, with Pierce Brosnan and Rene Russo, is good but it’s a fun and stylish caper and nothing more, while this version goes much deeper – if you watch it several times, you’ll notice it’s more about human unfulfillment and existential crisis than the bank robbing and the stylish clothes) and it remains one of my all time favorites. The role of Thomas Crown is also one of the best roles McQueen ever gave to the movie world. Also great for fans of unusual love stories (like me).

3. The paintings from Indiscreet (1958)


I saw a post about the usage of art in Indiscreet on the superb blog, the Art of Film (, and went to re watch the movie to capture some of the paintings. And, was I impressed! Set designers looked for pieces by Picasso, Roualt, John Piper and Raoul Dufy. For any fan of modern art, this is absolutely drool worthy and I am no exception. Yep, I have to say I am far from being a modern art connoisseur (it’s on my bucket list), but the pieces are stunning even for my crass taste! Of course, it’s hard to see them in the first viewing but repeated viewing of this guilty pleasure movie will open you a whole new dimension to what you thought was a simple rom-com with great stars. And great actors they were: Cary Grant and Ingrid Berman are wonderful matched, and the costume design is divine. Recommended!

4. The mandolin from Dream Wife (1953)


I only recently watched this movie, and was pleasantly surprised at how good it was. The critics buried the movie along with some viewers, but for me, it’s a classical Stanley Donen, an elegant and funny romp more than worth your time.

The prop that caught my attention was the mandolin princess Tarji plays to Cary Grant’s character, her future husband, in order to “enchant” him. And boy, did she enchant me! The poem she is singing is by Omar Khayyam, one of the best poets that ever lived (and author of the famous Rubaiyat), and the singer dubbing for Betta St. John (who plays Tarji) has such an incredibly alluring voice. It was my favorite scene in the movie and it stayed with me for a long time afterwards. A big plus is that the leading lady is my absolute favorite actress, Deborah Kerr.

Watch the trailer:

5. Golden cigarette holder from Come Fly with me (1963)


One of the “Three girls looking for husbands” genre of movies, this time the leading trio are Pan Am stewardesses. I won’t spoil it but the innocent golden cigarette holder is a major plot point in this fun movie. Yes, it’s also not rated highly by the critics, but Dolores Hart and her performance as the sharp-as-a-razor, cynical air stewardess just blew me of! Pamela Tiffin is the usual boring dull-head as the second stewardess, and Lois Nettleton good enough as the normal third stewardess. But the man are very interesting in the movie. Imagine: Hugh O’Brian (hunky!), Karlheinz Bohm (royal!) and Karl Malden (old school chauvinist!). While it’s not a masterpiece, I consider it a worthwhile early 1960s comedy. Here is the golden cigarette holder:

2015-07-26 15_33_11-Come Fly with Me 1963 Movie The REAL Pan Am_Kuth.avi - Medijski izvođač VLC

Watch the trailer here:

This is it! Until next time!!!


Meg Myles


Meg Myles was born at the right time and place to crave her way in the bombshell niche – it was the 1950s, and bombshells were queens of movies, often imitating Marilyn Monroe, playing idiotic roles and hoping for the best. Meg Myles, although unknown today, actually made quite a career for herself – she has a slim bur decent filmography and was a very popular lounge singer for a time. She got her biggest due on television, playing in several very famous shows.


Billy Jean Jones was born on November 14, 1934, in Seattle, Washington, to William T. Jones and Jeanette Jones. Billy was the second of five children – her older brother, Bennie, was born in 1932, and her younger siblings were Larry, born in 1935, Muriel, born in 1937, and Diana, born in 1939. In 1940, the family lived in Orting, Washington.

Her father was born in Canada (by the time she was born he was a naturalized citizen of the US) and worked as a engineer in the lumber industry. Her mother was a native Washingtonian and a housewife.

Meg was a thin child, nicknamed Jelly Bean Bones. In the 1940s, the family moved to Texas and some time later to Tracy, California. Meg reached adulthood in California, and attended College of Pacific for two and a half years. She was in a school musical when an agent noticed her and suggested she try Hollywood.

Meg liked the idea very much and went to Hollywood to try her luck in the pictures. Later she would regret leaving the college, as she could have gotten a scholarship at the Neighborhood playhouse in New York.

Meg had little luck with her career when she came to Tinsel Town. In late 1954, while sitting in one of the restaurants in Los Angeles, she decided to vocalize while eating. She impressed the restaurant owner so much that he hired her as a singer. In early 1955 she signed with Red Doff, manager to stars like Mickey Rooney and Liberace

Meg was discovered for the movies when two songwriters notice her in the restaurant and give her the chance to record two songs for their upcoming movie. So she got a singing segment in “The Phoneix City Story”. Her career started in earnest.


Meg mostly worked in TV, and I’ll just brielfy outline the work, asd thetre is not much to write about there (sadly, they are not movies :-( ). Megh had episodic roles in series like Search for TomorrowThe Guiding Light The DuPont Show of the WeekThe Trials of O’Brien N.Y.P.D.  Where the Heart IsABC Afterschool Specials

Sonme of them are completely forgotten today, but some are classic well worth remebering, and give Meg a minor cult status amogn the TV series fan crowd. Since I neither know nor am interested in classic TV series, I’ll just let it slide.

MegMyles4Meg also made her share of movies (now this is more interesting!). Her first one was Dragnet the movie, from 1954. It’s a tyapical Dragnet movie, a vehicle for Jack Webb as Lt Joe Friday and his band of merry lawsters fighting against crime (sounds so cliche, right?). Well since I can’t say I ever understood the whole story behind Dragnet and it’s massive popularity in the 1950s and 1960s, there is nothing really substantial I can say about the movie either. Meg had a minor role and nobody noticed her anyway.

New York Confidential is one of the best movies Meg appeared in. The eternal story of achieving success and the American dream through crime and corruption is something seen in Hollywood on a frequent basis, but the trick is not so much how the story goes but how to show it as a plausible one. The movie hits the spot with well written, beliveable characters, played perfectly by a group of top notch performers who never became massive stars: Broderick Crawford, Richard Conte, Anne Bancroft and Marilyn Maxwell.

The Phenix City Story followed very much the same trend as New York Confidental, dealing with corruptuion and high places, but this time the storm center are not the characters who cause corruption, but rather the people who fight against it. It should be alesson to all low budget movies to show how little money can go a long way if you have a good story and solid actors.

Calypso Heat Wave is a C movie, but it works when you sum it all. It was deftly directed and the cinematography is more than good. While the story is nothing to write about, watching Maya Angelou and Joel Grey on the screen, years before they came into their own, is mesmerising.

MegMyles5Meg then took a hiatus from movies and TV, but when she came back, it was a true grand style. Satan in High Heels is Meg’s ticket to fame and fortune. While femme fatales in film noir were allurign sirens who led men to death, they were often subtle and moved quietly, like panthers, to snatch their prey. Meg’s character, on the other hand, is an absolute bitch, with no subtetly, bordering on being a sociopath. The story is simple enough. Meg plays a woman who  ruthlessly uses men and women alike to rise from Midwest carnival burlesque queen to Manhattan jazz club diva. She’s dangerous, sexy as hell and wil eat your heart out if she wishes to. Also featuring is the busty Sabrina, and she and Meg and a pair to drool after.

A Lovely Way to Die is a average crime movie romance with Kirk Douglas and Sylvia Koscina. While it does have that cool 1960s vibe, it’s never gets off the ground. The story is uninspired and the acting mediocre.

Coogan’s Bluff is an early Clint Eastwood movie, a Dirty Harry before Dirty Harry. Let’s make one thing clear: this one is a fun movie, not to be taken too seriously. Anybody looking for a brooding, deep drama or even a action movie with a message should just back away. For what is designs to be, it’s more than decent. Eastwood is good, in his limited acting ability, as the tough as nails police detective. Watch out for old movie veterans, Lee J. Cobb and Tom Tully, in the best roles of the movie.

The Anderson Tapes is a above average caper movie. Like I already said, expect nothing more and you’ll be rewarded with a fine viewing experience. It’s always a joy to see Sean Connery on the screen – at least to me it is. While he was never a genuien talent and top notch actor, his charisma and “manly man” attitude pulled his through many, many roles. Watch out for a really good supporting roster of actors – Ralph Meeker, Martin Balsam, Christopher Walken, Val Avery and more.

Touched is a slow moving drama about two pental hospital patients who want to build a normal life for themselves. it has the potential to become a hard hitting drama, it never does, but it’s decent in its own way. Ned Beatty gives his usual performance, and the leading lady, Kathleen Beller, sadly never got any semblance of fame. Meg plays Kathleen’s mother.


In February 1956, she was dating Oleg Cassini, by then divorced from Gene Tierney. it did not last long. By June of the same year, she had a forest fire romance with broker Buddy Avery (but that too did not last).

In 1957, she was involved with Sammy Davis Jr., but she was just one of the few girls he dated in parallel. He would go on to date songstress Joan Stewart and marry May Britt. The same year she dated another industry bigwig, Bing Crosby. Sadly, that too lead nowhere: he married Kathryn Grant not long after. In July, she briefly dated Lary Amato of the Rover Boys quartet. He was followed by Marty Brill and Philadelphia business man, Mac Lerner. Meg lost a lot of weight that year, but it was due to stomach problems and not dieting,and we can assume the stress did her no good.

MegMyles3In 1958, like many, many girls in Hollywood and New York, she dated lothario Bob Evans. BY September she moved on to Kem Dibbs, a former flame of Lana Turner. At he same time, she feuded over a nightclub comic with starlet Bobbie Byrnes (don’t you just dislike it when two women feud over the same man? I know the heart had its reasons and it’s not easy to defy emotion, but girl,if you are really suck on him, let the guy choose and be over with it!). Next in line was singer Tony Foster, but he left her for a society girl by October.

Meg raised some tabloid dust when she got into another feud, with another woman . This time it was model Cynthia Brooks, and the object of their fight was the owner of the Black Orchid club in Chicago, Bill Dougherty. It was a typical hair pulling affair, but after some push and pull, Cynthia won by marrying the guy. But Meg did not learn her lesson yet. Just a few short weeks later, she and starlet Nancy Valentine were enamored of the same nightclub owner. See a pattern here?

In March 1960 she was romancing Bob O’Shea, the ex husband of Martha Raye. O’Shea was a former cop from Westport, Masschusets. By June, however, she was seen with Vic Damone and a bit later with Dick Hauff, a well known playboy club owner, once a steady of Zsa Zsa Gabor. By September, she and O’Shea found each other again, and were all lovely dovely.

It did not last, long, and she was seen with Franchot Tone. What to say, I adore Franchot, but boy, did he like to play the filed after his divorce from Jean Wallace and Joan Crawford! In 1961, she fell down the stairs and hurts her leg, so she had to open on crutches at the Living Room. Earl Wilson noted that “But with a dress low cut enough, you didn’t notice the crutches. Franchot Tone, who recently had an operation, phoned her from the hospital to wish her well.” Aww, how sweet :-)

Meg got further point on the tabloid notoriety table when she opened in the Living Room in New York and there was a big bustle at the opening (with brawling and punching and you know). She claimed later that she got so many offers, including one to appear on Broadway in a Garson Kanin play. Yep folks, publicity is king!

MegMyles6Meg and Franchot busted up by August after dating for more than six months (a kind of a record for that place and that time). But the men kept coming steadily. She got a ticket from Robert Goulet to see him in his newest hit play, Camelot. In September she was hospitalized for a back ailment, but vowed to get out on time to date producer Hal Prince. That lasted for two months, ad then she switched to jockey Willie Hartack.

In 1962, Meg was seriously dating Eddie Samuels, the accompanist to Eddie Fisher. She even announced their engagement, but later claimed it was a gag. How funny! After the bust up, she often went to Long Island to meet with Peter Duchin. It was a nice summer romance, and by September Meg had moved on to George Montgomery, the handsome actor and former husband of Dinah Shore.

Meg married TV producer Bob Duncan in 1965. They had a one day honeymoon, then Duncan left for Europe on business (without Meg). They divorced in 1982 after Duncan told Meg he wanted his freedom. Not long after she went back to the dating game, and told a newspaper reporter:  “I found women had become so aggressive that men expect to be attacked by the women they go out with. And if you don’t attack them, the men say, ‘Where have you been, what is your problem? They they attack you”

In 2010, a article about Meg appeared on the internet. You can read the whole article on this link, but to sum is up:

In the 1950s, Meg Myles was a pinup girl, actress and singer. Today, she’s better known as the Upper West Side’s bird healer.

Ms. Myles, 77 years old, has tended to pigeons, kestrels, jays, finches, robins, ducks, song birds, cardinals and a goose.

Neighbors and even New York City’s animal-care agency bring her birds. Animal Care & Control estimated that Ms. Myles has rescued about 200 since 2006. “She provides a great outlet for injured pigeons because they require hand care,” said Animal Care & Control spokesman Richard Gentles.

And some more:

The bird-care chapter of her life started on a whim about 20 years ago. It was raining, and she saw a pigeon on a doorstep. “I just picked him up and put him under the tree,” she recalls. “I told him I’d check on him the next day and if he was still there, I’d take care of him.”

The next morning, she returned to her charge. It was being held by another girl. “I took it out of her hands, I told her that’s my bird, and walked away,” she says. She took the bird to her apartment. Eventually, he left, and another one was attracted to her window sill. He brought in a mate, they became a family-and the super grew angry.

MegMyles2Through a friend, she heard of Don Rubin, a construction worker who rehabbed wild animals in New Rochelle. She brought him the pigeons. Entranced with his outdoor setup, she learned the principles and methods of rehabbing, including feeding babies with a syringe, softening dry dog food for pigeons and how to hold birds.

“After that, it just kind of happened and grew,” she says. Since then, she has cared for injured city birds. Once a week, Mr. Rubin would take the bird to a vet in Yonkers, who would then release them into an aviary.

Ms. Myles’s apartment is decked out in bird-shaped everything: a set of shelves is home to miniatures such as a bright rooster, and a tiny feathered cardinal replica perches on a plant. Chirps can be heard from the bathroom, where Ms. Myles keeps her birds. At one point recently, she had 14. She feeds and cleans them every day.

Last Thursday, JoAnne Asher, a therapist, found a pigeon hobbling in a gutter. She brought it to Ms. Myles in a shopping bag. The diagnosis? Perhaps it was hit by a car, the healer says, examining burned feathers.

“I have dreams of winning the lottery and fixing her up in this brand-new facility,” Ms. Asher says.

How interesting! Meg sure led an unusual life!

Meg lives in New York City today.