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!

EARLY 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.

CAREER:

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.

PRIVATE LIFE:

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.

 

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Movie Props! Movie Props!

And now for something completely different! Thanks to the immensely nice people at Invaluable.com, 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)

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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:

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

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

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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)

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I saw a post about the usage of art in Indiscreet on the superb blog, the Art of Film (http://theartofilm.blogspot.com/2013/05/modern-art-masterpieces-in-indiscreet.html), 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)

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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)

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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

MegMyles1

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.

EARLY LIFE:

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.

CAREER:

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.

PRIVATE LIFE:

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.

Phyllis Ludwig

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Phyllis Ludwig is another example of a woman who was versatile enough to leave Hollywood behind and reinvent herself in a completely different career. While it’s out of the question that being married to a prominent and wealthy man helped her change tracks, no amount of money could have made her a talented interior decorator which she most certainly was.

EARLY LIFE:

Phyllis Marie Ludwig was born on November 23, 1920 in Cheyenne, Wyoming, (or Kansas, if you believe the 1930 census) to Jose M. Ludwig and his wife, Carol Close. Her older sister Betty was born in 1913.

Now, let’s make one thing clear. Phyllis was a real talent, but I think she finely tried to mold the past into something more acceptable to the social tastes, and not quite the truth. There are no big deviations, but small ones are really there. After reading her obituary, this is what I could muster about her past: Phyllis left Wyoming for the East coast after her father died. Allegedly she worked on Broadway, but I could not find any credits. And she landed on the West Coast, Sacramento to be exact. She worked there as a model, winning beauty pageants.  Hollywood is never mentioned.

What I managed to find (and what probably did happen) was that Phyllis and her family moved to Fresno, California, in the 1920s. There her younger sister Joan was born on November 5, 1923. Phyllis soon became the toast of the town, appearing in all the local productions, playing the accordion and dancing Spanish dances, along with her younger sister Joan/Joanna. She attended Fresno High School and was president of the student body. In 1934, she was signed for Eight Girls in a Boat after a scout saw her playing the accordion in a Los Angeles night club. Phyllis, in addition to her working hours at the studio, also attended and graduated from Lawlos Professional School in Hollywood.

CAREER:

Phyllis’s career started in 1934 and ended in 1935. She was never credited, so you ca judge for yourself how succesful she was. Yet, I found her filmography strangely alluring and enjoyed exploring it. It’s not a pist of master pieces at any rate, but she appeared in some interesting movies that, in all probability, would never have been made today.

PhyllisLudwig4Eight Girls in a Boat was her first feature. Now, here is a film you can see in two ways: as an excuse to show off eight of well-developed ingenues in shorts, tight blouses and bathing suits. This automatically means the movie is a shallow albeit fun exploitation of young. On the other hand, one can see it a a drama dealing with a “quite commonplace theme of illicit motherhood with considerable delicacy and tact” (taken from this review here). However you choose to look at it, there is no denying that Dorothy Wilson was an actress of great warmth and gentleness that never amounted to much (maybe I can do a profile of her sometime int he future). It’s hard to say why, as she was not shunned in the uncredited tier as most of the girls were – she actually had her share of leading roles. Ah, the fickleness of Hollywood!

She Made Her Bed is one of those movies that are slightly stupid, slightly bad acted and not that great, all in all. But they sure are a guilty pleasure! Combine mad, wild, untamed passion between two beautiful young people with a mad, wild untamed tiger and a mad, bad, unwanted husband and I think everybody can guess how this one ends. The leads are played by Sally Eilers, Richard Arlen and Bob Armstrong, all three decently talented actors who never got big breaks in Hollywood (but did achieve mid tier careers, which is much more than most can say).

Southern Style is a comedy short, with Ruth Etting in the lead. The movie is sorely forgotten today and I could not find anything about it.

King Kelly of the U.S.A. is a hidden delight of a movie. With a typical screwball plot – it features little known actors who did their job admirably. Unlike many other Monogram pictures films, this one actually has a budget (not a big one, but they used the sets build for bigger budget movies for all their worth). Despite a rather thin story resembling “Duck Soup” ( a Eastern European monarchy with a zany monarch, a outsider trying to straighten out a tricky political situation, a romantic story in the background) in more ways than one, the charming leads and superb supporting actors rise this above forgettable fare.

The Return of Chandu is probably the most famous movie Phyllis has appeared in. A movie serial with Bela Lugosi in the lead, and not as a car or a bad guy, but rather as dashing figure with a cut of Errol Flynn. If nothing, the serial proved just how debonair and charming Lugosi could be when not playing a undead monster hell bent of sucking everyone’s blood or a deranged scientist. As a reviewer wrote on IMDB: “The somewhat lumpy plot engages Chandler/Chandu in an ongoing series of escapades pointed at achieving the rescue of his fiancee, Princess Nadji(Maria Alba) and others from the clutches of the idol-worshiping sect of Ubasti, which covets Nadji’s blood in order to revivify an ancient mummified princess entombed upon the mysterious island of Lemuria.” But let’s face it, people didn’t’ watch it for the plot back then, or even now – they watched it for the action and the fun. And the serial, with it’s fast pace and brisk change of locations, manages to keep one occupied wonderfully.

PhyllisLudwig3The Good Fairy is a perfect movie for those who like a warm, easy moving, breezy comedy. It’s a kind of movies Hollywood stopped making 30 years ago, and which are sorely missed by moviephiles. Ferenc Monlar, the author created a cast of varied and very interesting characters, perfectly inhabited by a selected few of truly top notch Hollywood actors: Margaret Sullavan, a genuine talent, is a living and breathing waif, enchanting like a pixie. Wait there is more: Eric Blore, Frank Morgan, Reginald Owen, Beulah Bondi and Alan Hale. Don’t even let me get started on them…

It Happened in New York is a comedy forgotten today, so there is nothing to write about.

Phyllis gave up her career first for war effort work, and later for marriage and other careers. 

PRIVATE LIFE:

Here is a beauty tip that Phyllis gave to the papers in 1934:

If your hands become roughened, but a lemon in half and rub them with it. Allow to remain until dry. After five minutes, wash with warm water and a mild soap. This not only smoothes hands, but whitens blemishes.

As Phyllis Dobson, she was Miss California 1936 and first runner-up for the title of Miss America. Also of note is that, for publicity purposes, the papers claimed that Phyllis had a brother, Edward, who also became a Hollywood personality, working as a director. Thsi actually put me off the track for a time, since Edward Ludwig really was a director in the 1940s Hollywood, but he was born in 1899 in Latvia and had no familial connection to Phyllis whatsoever.

In the late 1930s, after 1936 and before 1939, Phyllis married her first husband, Thomas Fizdale, a publicity and advertising agent. Fizdale was born on September 21, 1904, in Russia. He was a successful businessman, president of  several public relation companies. Like Phyllis he worked in Hollywood in the late 1930s, having taken over the offices of Robert S. Taplinger, Inc. He then moved to Chicago, then to New York, where he was situation on the Madison Avenue (Mad Man anyone?).  He partnered with Win Nathanson in the mid 1940s and continued to be highly influential in the world of publicity.

Phyllis followed her husband first to Chicago then to New York. In 1941, she allegedly got a role in Uncle Dog House in Chicago. I have no idea what came out of it.

PhyllisLudwig1During a trip to Mexico to visit a cousin in 1942, Phyllis’ beauty caught the eye of the country’s most famous painter, Diego Rivera. Sitting across from Phyllis at dinner one night, Rivera boldly announced that he intended to paint the young actress. The painting, a light-hearted portrait of a carefree woman in a traditional Mexican dress, hung in Spalding’s home for years until she donated it recently to the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts.

The marriage was over for good in 1943. They divorced that same year. Fizdale went on to marry Patricia Stevens in the mid 1940s. Stevens soon opened a highly successful school for educating starlets and models, called Patricia Stevens Fashion College. The husband-wife duo ran the school together, even after they divorced in 1952.

Thomas Fizdale died on November 23, 1966 in Los Angeles.

Durign WW2, Phylis was very active in the war effort. She did radio shows for Office of War Information with Orson Welles, than signed on with the American Red Cross, which sent her to Guadalcanal, Australia and New Caledonia (where she was the first woman to land after the troops) helping with programs to entertain enlisted men. In the midst of all the war and violence, Phyllis found love.

Phyllis married her second husband, Paul I. Fagan, on March 1, 1945, in the home of Stanton Griffiths, a onetime husband of the lovely Whitney Bourne.

They met while she was serving in the American Women’s Hospital Reserve. He worked as a car salesman on Hawaii. Paul was born on January 19, 1916, in San Francisco, California. His mother was Marie Russell, and his father was Paul I. Fagan, Sr, a financier working in both San Francisco and Hawaii.

PhyllisLudwig6Interestingly, Philips Spalding Jr. served as the best man… Just wait and see what is going to happen here… Anyway, Phyllis left her career, New York and Hollywood behind to live with her new husband on Hawaii. She quickly integrated with the island’s high society, and started interior decorating as a hobby for friends.

As time went by, Phyllis and Phillip Spalding get to know each other better and soon they were in love. Phyllis divorced Fagan in 1952 and married Spaling the same year, entering one of the most prominent families on the island.
Now some background on Spalding. He was born on July 21, 1918, in Hawaii, son of Phillip and Alice Cooke Spalding. He had a younger brother, Charles. There is a story of how his father came into wealth in Hawaii: here is a short biography of the man, dating from 1925:

PHILIP E. SPALDING, Department Manager. Coming to Honolulu in 1912 in association with his brother, Walter, with a contract for the construction of the marine barracks at Pearl Harbor, Philip E. Spalding, now manager of the merchandise department of C. Brewer & Co., Ltd., has since made Hawaii his home. Their first work completed, the Spaldings branched into a general contracting business and built the United States naval hospital and officers’ quarters at Pearl Harbor, the Honolulu Iron Works and Star-Bulletin office, among other work.

With the intervention of the World War, Mr. Spalding entered the army as captain of the Machine Gun Company of the 1st Regiment, Hawaiian National Guard, and served at the Hawaiian Department headquarters until he was honorably discharged in May, 1919, when he joined Lewers & Cooke, Ltd. He resigned as vice-president of that firm in October, 1924, to take his present position with C. Brewer & Co., Ltd.
Mr. Spalding is a director of Lewers & Cooke, the American Sugar Co. and the Pacific Trust Co., Ltd. He is also a trustee of Leahi Home, Queen’s Hospital, Palama Settlement, a member of the Republican county committee, and has served on the City Planning Commission since 1918. He is a member of the University, Oahu Country, Commercial and Hawaii Polo and Racing Clubs.

Born in Minneapolis, Nov. 5, 1889, Mr. Spalding is the son of A. W. and Anna (Talbot) Spalding. His father was a prominent architect in Minneapolis and later in Seattle. Mr. Spalding was educated in the schools of Minneapolis and Seattle and attended Stanford University for two years, terminating his college course to come to Hawaii.Mr. Spalding married Alice Cooke, daughter of the late C. M. Cooke, whose family founded the Honolulu Academy of Art, in 1917 and they have two children, Philip E., Jr., and Charles C. Spalding.

PhyllisLudwig5Phillip attended private schools and college in Vermont. He was married to Joan Tozzer from 1940 until 1951. They had six children: Philip Spalding III, A. Tozzer, Anne, Joan, Susan and William.

Phyllis and Phillip lived in a 1925 home in Waikiki Heights, and had two sons, Phillip and Michael.

Phyllis made a second career out of interior design for herself. She became wildly successful at it, too. From her obituary (this is the link):

During a long career in Hawai’i as a designer, businesswoman, collector and patron of the arts, she worked on some of the finest buildings in the state — Castle & Cooke, Alexander & Baldwin, Mauna Kea Hotel, ‘Iolani Palace, and the state Capitol — and came to be recognized as a connoisseur with impeccable taste.

“For many of us who grew up here, she defined good taste,” said family friend Ian Sandison. “If you go to places commonly held out as eloquent in Hawai’i, chances are she was involved.”

She also owned the Mandalay stores at the Halekulani Hotel and Four Seasons Resort in Wailea.

Spalding often credited the influence of her second husband’s mother, Alice Cooke Spalding, whose family helped found the Honolulu Academy of Arts. Phyllis and Philip Spalding lived in the 1925 family home, which later became The Contemporary Museum.

During construction of the state Capitol, she was the only woman consultant, choosing the fabrics, rugs and wall coverings that give the interior offices and halls their warm, Hawai’i feel. For Rockefeller’s Big Island home, she coordinated all the fabrics — including draperies, bedspreads, wall prints and pillow coverings. For Harrison’s Maui home, she worked closely with the ex-Beatle and his wife while two of their bodyguards stood outside the office door.

One great quote from Phyllis: “You don’t tell the clients anything. You just try to find out what they like and work around that in the best of taste. Good taste. Always good taste.”

Phyllis’ husband Phillip died on April 15, 1999. Phyllis continued living in Honolulu after his death.

Phyllis Hume Spalding died on June 23, 2006, in Hawaii.