Michael Curtiz: A Life in Film - Due out this Fall from UOK Press

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Alan's sporadic takes on Film Noir and other aspects of pop culture

Hollywood History

Thoughts and insight into the history of Tinsel Town

    CROOKED MOUTHPIECES date back to the era of 1930s porto-noir gangster movies (reaching their apogee with Louis Calhern’s turn in The Asphalt Jungle), but crusading defense attorneys who trod the line between cleverness and corruption proved to be scarce onscreen.      And then came Perry Mason.      His creator, Erle Stanley Gardner, was a self-taught trial attorney who began submitting mystery stories to the pulps in 1923. Over the next decade, under a number of pseudonyms, he turned out an average for 3,200 words per day (1.2 million words per year) describing the adventures of protagonists such as Lester Leith, Speed Dash, and Ken Cornin.  “By the time I’d learned my craft—and that took about ten years—I was ready to use my law background for my stories,” Gardner recalled in a 1965 interview. At the time of his death in 1970, the prolific Gardner had become the...
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Posted by on in Hollywood History
  By 1954, the venerable HOLLYWOOD sign had been the symbol of Tinseltown for over three decades. The fifty foot high milestone on Mount Lee was emblematic of the aspirations of those worthies who appear everyday in Hollywood in pursuit of their respective holy grail. Most didn’t make it and still don’t. There were more than several who longed too much and cared too little that became authentic casualties. Let us offer a moment of silence for those unfortunates as personified by unemployed actress Peg Entwistle whose despondent swan dive to eternity off of the top of the Hoccurred in 1932. Although L.A. Times publisher Harry Chandler originally erected the original HOLLYWOODLAND sign to publicize his upscale housing development, the real estate company eventually played out. The City of Hollywood took over a landmark in disrepair in 1949 that was a direct reflection of the twin devastations - television and the...
©Alan K. Rode
  WELCOME! THRICE WELCOME ALL -Behind these curtains, tightly drawnAre Brother Masquers, tried and true,Who have labored diligently, to bring to youA Night of Mirth - and mirth ‘twill be,But, mark you well, although no text we preachA little lesson, well defined, respectfully, we’d teachThe lesson is this: Throughout this Life,No matter what befall-The best thing in this troubled worldIs LAUGHTER, after all-And that’s the slogan of our club -From cradle days to shroudIt brings the sunshine back againAnd drives away the cloudSo - now, tonight, let joy be yoursLet LAUGHTER ring out clear!I pray - be not too critical, in judgment, too severe!These are all our pals we’re here to see,There shafts of wit have zest! But should theyTouch a tender spot, remember - ‘Tis a Jest!...And, as you leave our house tonight,Midst Music, LAUGHTER, Din,Remember, friends our slogan -We laugh- WE LAUGH TO WIN! The Masquers Creed - Harry...
©Alan K. Rode

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