In Old San Francisco

Anyone who has ever been to San Francisco, especially between the upper ends of Hyde Street and Market Street nearest the Bay, has probably seen (or at least walked over) the bronze compasses that commemorate the Barbary Coast Trail. The Barbary Coast was the stuff of legend in the nineteenth and early twentieth century with … Continue reading In Old San Francisco

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Lionel On the Air

Lionel Barrymore was a towering actor, but unfortunately he had to deal with severe physical pain after the mid-nineteen-thirties, which limited his prospects somewhat. The possible causes range from rheumatoid arthritis to a drawing room table falling on him in 1936, to breaking a kneecap, to hip injuries. No one knows for sure. Some think … Continue reading Lionel On the Air

Judy Garland Lived Here

Judy's life was an odyssey and like most of us, her place of residence changed frequently. I thought it would be interesting to post current-day photos of as many of her former homes as possible, preferably using Google Maps. There was only one slight hitch (and being a Californian I should have remembered this): Mansions … Continue reading Judy Garland Lived Here

Surf’s Up

We Californians have to deal with some funny stereotypes, none of them true. Most of the time, anyway. We all live next door to movie stars, we're all uber-liberal, we're all hippies. And we all surf. I had a friend in high school who moved to California from Ohio, and she told me her friends … Continue reading Surf’s Up

Battle of the Backlots

(Cue Rocky theme music.) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I33u_EHLI3w Welcome, film fans! We have come to a big face-off between two movie heavyweights. Both are scrappy and determined, but only one will win the title of Best Backlot. In this corner, we have M-G-M, which roared onto the scene in 1924. Called by industry professionals "the Tiffany of the business," M-G-M … Continue reading Battle of the Backlots

Bette’s War

During the Second World War, most stars worked to support the fight. Jeanette MacDonald joined the American Women's Voluntary Service (AWVS). Rita Hayworth donated the bumpers off her car for scrap and replaced them with wooden ones. Many, many actors, directors, and crew members, like Jimmy Stewart and George Stevens, enlisted in the Armed Forces. … Continue reading Bette’s War

Into the Wild Blue Yonder

And we're off... 🙂 Have you ever explored a B-17? I had the opportunity a few years ago, which was an amazing experience. The plane was the same one that appeared in the movie, Memphis Belle, and it's not only beautifully maintained, but it still flies. There was so much more to seeing the plane than being where Sean … Continue reading Into the Wild Blue Yonder

Film Gris

Dick Powell had an interesting career. He went from being a crooner and a radio personality to a straight-ahead actor, best-known for playing hard-boiled types. While he had a lot of successful films to his credit, he did produce a turkey now and then, or something close to it. 1951's Cry Danger is one of those, but … Continue reading Film Gris

“Is Good. We Do Not Have To Go To the Bank.”

Today my son started fourth grade (yipe), and you know what that means: Time to study state history. In our case, that of course is California, which I love, and I'm excited because we've got a ton of history right in our own backyard. Our curriculum looks fairly awesome, too. Besides a Friday class at our … Continue reading “Is Good. We Do Not Have To Go To the Bank.”

I’m Going To Bodie

Have you ever been to Bodie? It's pretty unforgettable. I went there the summer before starting high school, and have always wanted to go back. Established after the Gold Rush, Bodie had a short-lived run as a boomtown in the 1880s, and it's never been anything but notorious. It went from having 10,000 people at … Continue reading I’m Going To Bodie