Archive for October, 2013
Year of Ann Dvorak: Day 303
After researching Ann Dvorak for well over a decade, I accumulated a mountain of information. While most of my discoveries made their way into the book, there were other things that were left behind. Some items were tidbits that I could not seamlessly weave them into the narrative while others had that questionable scent of studio publicity. The handful of “Ann Dvorak recipes” in my possession fell into that latter category, so they were left behind. However, some of them will be resurrected for the official book launch party, though I am assuming with varying results.
Guest blogger Mary McCoy previously discussed Ann’s New England Baked Beans, Salad Encino, and my favorite, Unprepared Walnuts. A popular consensus of friends and family agreed these all sounded like terrible party foods, so I went back into the piles of Dvorak papers and located a nice recipe for Bavarian Crème Pudding and a very questionable one for Apple Chutney. My mom was kind enough to cook Ann’s chutney to specification – and the result was spectacularly revolting. Instead, she is going to use a more modern concoction which will be called “Ann Dvorak Tribute Apple Chutney.” Sorry Ann!
I was going to pass on the celery filled with Roquefort, but that has gotten many thumbs up, and I personally think crispy bacon & peanut butter on mini toasts sounds delightful. If I have the wherewithal, there may be deviled eggs though skipping the anchovies found in Ann’s recipe might be welcomed by guests.
Finally, we have the fudge and pralines, because “stars must eat!” Last week I did a test run and I think it was successful. The pralines turned out great and received rave reviews from co-workers. The fudge was well received by adults, though my daughter spit it out in my hand. Therefore, I think I will cut back on the amount of molasses Ann called for. This ingredient definitely gives it an old-timey taste but apparently is not hip with today’s toddler set.
This menu may cause you to run to the party or run to the hills, but it will have the undeniable mark of our Divine Miz D (or the studio publicity people)!
Year of Ann Dvorak: Day 302
Do you ever watch a movie filmed on location somewhere and wonder, “gee, I wonder where they shot that?” I do that frequently, and will sometimes even take the step of searching the web to see if someone has taken the time to figure it out. Fortunately, there are people like Robby Cress over at the Dear Old Hollywood blog who not only digs up the info on specific locations, but also take the time to share it with us. Robby, not only posts his findings on the blog, but illustrates them with then & now images and additional background info. And I thought blogging about Ann Dvorak took a lot of effort!
Robby was kind enough to give me and Ann Dvorak some major real estate over at Dear Old Hollywood this week, and he even cleverly found a way to indulge my love of Ann AND Los Angeles. So, go take a look at the interview but stick around for the marvelous location posts including one on the 1933 Dvorak feature College Coach.
Year of Ann Dvorak: Day 301
We are now one week out from the release of Ann Dvorak: Hollywood’s Forgotten Rebel! The book may be done and printed, but I’ve been incredibly busy the past couple of weeks getting my marketing ducks in a row.
In addition to the pieces at Immortal Ephemera and TCM’s Movie Morlocks, there are two more online interviews coming up soon. I did two recorded radio interviews last week which should be airing any time now, and spent over 3 hours being filmed for a segment produced by L.A.’s transportation authority. As it turns out, writing a book about an obscure Hollywood actress on the subway after having a baby is a pretty nice news hook. On top of all that, my buddy Chris Nichols over at Los Angeles Magazine was good enough to plug the book launch party in the November issue (see above).
Later on this week, I should have a major marketing announcement which I have had to keep under my hat for a few months now. Looking forward to finally share that good news!
Year of Ann Dvorak: Day 300
Yipes, I have actually made it through 300 consecutive days of blogging about Ann Dvorak. The next 65 should be a breeze (I hope). I am getting ready to take the toddler to a Halloween party, so today is a quickie.
This is a recently acquired photo of Ann Dvorak & Douglas Fairbanks Jr. in Love is a Racket. It’s a beautiful image but what really struck me about the it is that it appears to be un-retouched, which is unusual for studio issued photos. Ann had a mole above her upper left lip, which was almost always air-brushed out of photos and it’s clearly visible.
Yes, after spending the last 15 years with Ann, these are the ridiculous things I notice.
Year of Ann Dvorak: Day 299
What’s better than coming home to find a package with a copy of Ann Dvorak: Hollywood’s Forgotten Rebel? Why, coming home to find a box full of copies!!
Year of Ann Dvorak: Day 298
Like most kids in 1985, I was enchanted by the movie Back to the Future. Sure the DeLorean time machine and skateboard chase was cool, but the scene that stuck with me more than any other is at the end of the film. It’s the part where Marty is still adjusting to his alternate reality and a humbled Biff bursts into the McFly home with a box of George McFly’s latest book. While viewing that for the first time, I thought that authoring a book and making first contact with the finished product had to be one of the best feelings in the world. I was only 11 at the time, but right then and there I knew I wanted to one day have my George McFly moment. In 1998, I started working towards that goal when I committed myself to telling Ann Dvorak’s story.
Maybe it took almost 30 years, but that moment finally came on Wednesday night. I arrived home from work and my husband handed me a package from the University Press of Kentucky. I was grateful to open it with my daughter on my lap and the hubby standing by my side. And even though I could not coax her into smiling for the photo, I think she was excited to see mommy’s book and I hope it’s something she’ll remember.
As for the book – well, it’s downright gorgeous! Everything I could have hoped for and more. As you can see, the photos look great and as Glen Creason commented, it’s got a kick-ass index.
Thanks again to all of you who have stuck with me as I journeyed down this long, long road. It may have taken a hell of a long time, but after seeing the final product, I can say with all honesty that it was worth it.
Year of Ann Dvorak: Day 297
I was thrilled to have recently acquired these three photos from the abandoned MGM feature The March of Time, made when Ann Dvorak was still a chorus girl at the studio. The film was supposed to have been the most grandiose of the early 1930s musical revues as is evident in the above image showing the 80 foot high set for the “Lock Step” number featuring the Dodge Sisters and a bevy of dancing jail birds. By the time the film was nearing its 1930 release date, these types of musicals had aggressively fallen out of fashion with audiences so MGM thought it best to scrap The March of Time. They would end up recycling some of the musical numbers in later films.
These are the first three images from The March of Time be added to my collection. The photo directly above came up on eBay around nine years ago and I stopped bidding when it got up to $45. To get it for $10 earlier this month was thrilling indeed! I always assumed Ann would be among the girls in the Native American inspired costumes, and I was bitterly disappointed when I initially did not see her among the group. Then I was able to breathe a sigh of relief when I spotted her in the bottom left side sporting her teen-aged grin.
The third photo is another spectacular behind the scenes shot of the “Father Time” number on the stairs.
Unfortunately, the two girls costumed like Ann are out of focus, but I think it’s possible the one on the right with her head turned could be our gal (yes, I realize this is hard to make out).
Back to the “Lock Step” photo at the top of the post. I am not 100% certain, but the jail bird on the far left second floor looks more like Ann-D than any of the others.
For a more in-depth look at The March of Time including some clips, check out this fantastic post over at All Talking! All Singing! All Dancing!
Year of Ann Dvorak: Day 296
I took the time to scan some of my cards which is why it’s been a lobby card week, so here are a couple more.
I’ve really grown to love The Private Affairs of Bel Ami, which is George Sanders at his scoundrel best and Ann Dvorak at her most sophisticated. Add to that gorgeous sets and beautiful period costumes, and you end up with lovely lobby cards.
Unfortunately, Ann is only on two of them, but we’ll enjoy them nonetheless.
Year of Ann Dvorak: Day 295
If you couldn’t already tell, I love vintage movie memorabilia. When it comes to Ann Dvorak, I will collect anything that was put out to promote one of her films. Old movie advertising art came in all shapes and sizes, but lobby cards are especially fantastic.
For those of you new to the hobby, lobby cards were issued for just about every feature film (and some shorts) and usually came in sets of eight including a “title card” and seven scene cards. In the 1930s, the images on the cards were usually hand tinted and frequently had attractive border art. The great thing about lobby cards is that they are small (11″x14″) and easy to pop into a frame and display. Because they were printed on a heavy card stock, they tend to stand the test of time really well and are frequently some of the easier pieces of memorabilia to locates.
However, there are always exceptions to every movie memorabilia rule and there are a handful of Ann Dvorak titles that I have had trouble finding cards on. For a number of years, I had very little on the 1935 Warner Bros. musical Sweet Music. A few years back, these two cards popped up on eBay, and even though they are kind of trashed, they are the only lobby cards I have ever seen from this film and am grateful to have found them.
If memory serves correctly, these cards were used as insulation in a 1930s house and were found during a remodel. While this may sound crazy, it happens more often than you might think and many fantastic collections have been recovered this way.