Let’s Talk About Ann Dvorak on the “Hollywood Time Machine with Alicia Mayer!”

September 20th, 2014

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I am very excited to share that this evening I will be a guest on the Hollywood Time Machine with Alicia Mayer. It’s a new show focusing on classic film which aires live at 6pm on Saturdays through LA Talk Radio. This is only the second episode, so it’s a real honor to be invited on the show. Just in case you were wondering about Alicia’s surname, she is in fact the grand niece of Louis B. Mayer. Tonight’s episode will also feature Josh Mankiewicz, brother of Ben and grandson of Herman, so there is some serious Hollywood pedigree at work here!

Alicia will be joined by co-host Will McKinley, who somehow manages to watch classic films 24/7, so this should be a lot of fun. Just in case you’re not able to tune in at 6pmPST, the show will be archived for later listening. BUT, for those who listen live, we’ll be giving away a free copy of Ann Dvorak: Hollywood’s Forgotten Rebel, as well as the companion volume The Inseparablesso it pays to listen live.

The archive of last week’s episode can be found here and the live streaming button is located on the LA Talk Radio homepage.

Take a listen, won’t ya?

Ann Dvorak Joined by William Selig, Charles McGraw, & Maria Montez This Saturday!

September 17th, 2014

 

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This Saturday at 2pm at Central Library in Downtown Los Angeles, TCM Movie Morlock Richard Harland Smith will be leading a discussion about the challenges of resurrecting Hollywood’s lesser know stories with biographers Alan K. Rode (Charles McGraw: Biography of a Film Noir Tough Guy), Tom Zimmerman (forthcoming Maria Montez: Queen of Technicolor), Andrew A. Erish (Col. William N. Selig, the Man Who Invented Hollywood), and…yours truly (Ann Dvorak: Hollywood’s Forgotten Rebel).

The program is FREE and reservations are not required. For those of you who are not in the L.A. area, we will be recording the discussion and have it posted to the Los Angeles Public Library’s website in the near future.

Additional information about L.A. in Focus – Out of the Shadows and Into the Spotlight: Resurrecting Hollywood’s Stories can be found on the library’s website.

Hope to see you there!

Ann Dvorak & Aline MacMahon Tear it Up in “Heat Lightning” on TCM

September 8th, 2014

 

Heat Lightning is going to air on Turner Classic Movies on Tuesday September 9th at 7:45am PST.

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If you’re not aware of how much I adore Heat Lightning starring Aline MacMahon, Preston Foster, and our Divine Miz Dvorak, then you have not been following this blog very long or often! Even though Ann’s role is relatively small, it’s a great little pre-Code and one of my favorites. It’s even one of the few Ann Dvorak titles that I collect anything of, even if Ann is not pictured on it. You can take a look here to see all the times I have discussed this film previously.

This one is really not to be missed, so check it out if you can!

“Racing Lady” on TCM

September 7th, 2014

Racing Lady is going to air on Turner Classic Movies in about 6 hours on September 8, at 3:00am PST.

Well, I kind of dropped the ball on this one. If you happen to checking this site anytime between now and 3 in the morning on September 8th, AND are an Ann Dvorak completest, set your DVR for TCM.

If you don’t read this in time, I can’t say you’re missing much with Racing Lady, other than it’s one of the few time Ann was the title character. Otherwise, it’s rather dry, Smith Ballew is pretty stiff, and Ann never even rides a horse.

We’ve got some pre-Code goodies coming up very soon on TCM so stay tuned!

Cinecon Roundup & Beyond

September 5th, 2014

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Last weekend I spent a bit of time set-up to sell at the annual film festival, Cinecon. I have been hitting the Cinecon dealer rooms for well over a decade, so it was exciting to be participant. I lost count of the number of people who came up to my table to thank me for taking the time to write about Ann Dvorak and I even managed to sell a few books. My daughter joined me on Sunday and was doing free Ann Dvorak sketches for anyone who wanted, so if you weren’t there, you really missed out!

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My deep desire is to one day find that poster or lobby card from The Strange Love of Molly Louvain at Cinecon. Looks like that will have to wait until next year since I only walked away with stills from Crooner and Racing Lady, along with a jumbo window card from a Carole Lombard film, just because the price was right.

And now for something completely different -

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Ever since Ann Dvorak: Hollywood’s Forgotten Rebel was released, I have been asked what’s next. While I am still undecided about tackling another biography, I have been doing some writing the last few months and have even been getting paid for it. Next week, the first finished product of my recent labors will be released which is…My Little Pony comic books!

That’s right, I’ve gone from Ann Dvorak to Twilight Sparkle. In a bizarre twist, my daughter obsessively watching episodes of My Little Pony has translated into my writing multiple issues of the comic series from IDW Publishing. My first issue issue features Granny Smith and those troublesome Flim Flam Brothers and is coming out on September 10th. Tony Fleecs is a longtime friend of mine and my husband’s and both of us will be at Collector’s Paradise in Pasadena on Wednesday for a release party. I can’t say I ever expected to be doing this, but I have been having a great time writing about Ponies and my daughter is very impressed.

Los Angles Public Library

Lastly, for those of you who fell under the spell of former Disney engineer Herman Schultheis when I mentioned him here last year, I’ll be doing a program at the library with Schultheis biographer and Disney historian John Canemaker on Thursday, September 11. Canemaker’s book, The Lost Notebook: Herman Schultheis & the Secrets of Walt Disney’s Movie Magic, which is partially a biography with the other part being an in-depth study of Schultheis’ extensive animation effects notebooks is fantastic. I am thrilled to be sharing a stage with him.

Between Ann Dvorak, Ponies, and Herman Schultheis, I like to think I’ve got a little something going for everyone.

See you around town!

Ann Dvorak Biographer Appearing At Cinecon 50

August 22nd, 2014

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Next weekend I will be set up at Cinecon 50, selling and signing copies of Ann Dvorak: Hollywood’s Forgotten Rebel and The Inseparables: Images of Ann Dvorak & Leslie Fenton’s 1932 Honeymoon From Their Personal ScrapbookI have been attending this annual film-lovers event in Hollywood for countless years, so it’s exciting to finally be a participant.

I’ll be at a table on Saturday, August 30 and Sunday, August 31 from 11:30am-2:30pm just outside the dealer rooms at the Loews Hollywood Hotel, located at Hollywood & Highland. If you have already purchased a book, please feel free to bring it by to be signed.  Even if you just want to shoot the breeze about Ann Dvorak, I’ll be all ears.

Full details about the show can be found on the official Cinecon website.

Hope to see you there!

“The Strange Love of Molly Louvain” & “Love is a Racket” on TCM

August 20th, 2014

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Earlier this month, Paul Muni was featured as part of Tuner Classic Movies annual Summer Under the Stars. His 24 hours of programming included the two movies he made with Ann Dvorak. Tomorrow, it’s Lee Tracy’s turn and his line-up also features two Dvorak flicks.

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First up is The Strange Love of Molly Louvain (1932, Warner Bros/First National) which is airing at 11:30am PST. We’ve talked about Molly Louvain quite a bit on this website over the years, and if you’re a Dvorak devotee it’s a must. This is one of Ann’s few starring roles, this film where she hooked-up with Leslie Fenton (she would marry him within weeks), and contains one of her most memorable scenes – playing the piano while singing a scat version of “Penthouse Serenade.”

Next at 2:15pm PST is Love is a Racket, which is also a 1932 Warner Bros/First National production. Dvorak and Tracy are not the stars of this one, but they’re arguably more interesting to watch together than Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and Frances Dee who are the leads. Ann doesn’t have too much to do other than glare at Frances Dee and hang out in a bathrobe, but it is worth noting that the day after this finished filming she eloped to Yuma, AZ with Leslie Fenton.

It’s been a Dvorak filled summer which looks like it’s going to carry over into the fall. Enjoy it while it’s going!

“Ann Dvorak: Hollywood’s Forgotten Rebel” Reviewed in the September Issue of Sight & Sound

August 15th, 2014

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Ann Dvorak: Hollywood’s Forgotten Rebel has been out in the world for nine months now, which means the initial exciting rush is over and most readers have moved on to other books. Every so often, something relating to my book pops up that is a delight for me. Last week I found out that the Dvorak bio was reviewed in Sight & Sound which is one of the longest running and most prestigious publications devoted to film. I have not been reviewed in too many print publications, so to be written up in a magazine like Sight & Sound is beyond exciting for me.

To add frosting to this cake is the prominant placement of the review, accompanied by my personal favorite photo of Ann, along with the fact that it’s a very positive review.

Because this is a UK publication, I have not yet gotten my hands on a hard copy, but reviewer Pamela Hutchinson was kind enough to send me a scan and posted the above screenshot on her website.

Here’s to more positive reviews!

 

 

Ann Dvorak Honeymoon Photos Now Available in Book Form

August 7th, 2014

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Those of you who have been following this site for the last year and/or read the preface to Ann Dvorak: Hollywood’s Forgotten Rebel are aware that last year I has the opportunity to obtain some of Ann Dvorak’s personal possessions. Among the cancelled checks and rent receipts was a holy grail for a Dvorak collector – her personal scrapbook of photos from her 1932 honeymoon with Leslie Fenton. This was the trip that pretty much torpedoed her career trajectory at Warner Bros, as she breached her contract with the studio to take it. The 8 month journey was also quite possibly the happiest time of her life. To become the custodian of something so precious to Ann was an unexpected honor.

I used four photos from the scrapbook in the Ann Dvorak bio and posted a handful more on this site, but I wanted to do something more with the 100+ images of Ann and Leslie Fenton which also contained snapshots from some of their later travels. I didn’t think such a large quantity of images would be practical to navigate here, but I didn’t want to hide them away either. My solution was to put together a book, which is now available.

The book, titled The Inseparables is an intimate glimpse into the lives of two Hollywood personalities during the peak of their romance which I hope will be of interest to all you Dvorak devotees out that. It can now purchased directly through this site  where I can sign and personally inscribe copies or through Amazon.

I will also have copies for sale at Cinecon on Labor Day weekend (more details on that will be forthcoming).

Enjoy!

A Double Dose of Ann Dvorak on TCM

August 5th, 2014

It’s August which means it’s that one glorious month of the year when Turner Classic Movies celebrates Summer Under the Stars, dedicating each day’s programming to one actor/actress. Tomorrow is Paul Muni day and both films he made with Ann Dvorak are on the roster.

First up at 6:30 pm PST is Scarface, co-starring George Raft, Karen Morley, Osgood Perkins, and Boris Karloff. I have extolled the virtues of this Howard Hawks classic numerous times, not least of which is due to Ann’s amazing performance. If you’ve made it this long without seeing Scarface, what are you waiting for?

Then at 10:00pm PST, Dvorak and Muni are teamed up again in Dr. Socrates. This second pairing is certainly not as strong as the first, but it’s watchable enough. Both of their characters are so far removed from Tony & Cesca Camonte that it’s an interesting comparison. Unlike ScarfaceDr. Socrates is not available on DVD which is another reason to check it out.

TCM is on a roll this summer with the Dvorak flicks, so enjoy ‘em while you can!