Miscellaneous bits of news and fun stuff from around the Internet...
...Today marks the centennial of the birth of actor John Payne. Early in his career Payne was the singing star of wonderful Fox musicals such as SUN VALLEY SERENADE (1941), WEEK-END IN HAVANA (1941), and SPRINGTIME IN THE ROCKIES (1942). Like Dick Powell before him, Payne later made the transition from musicals to rugged film noir hero, appearing in classics of the genre such as KANSAS CITY CONFIDENTIAL (1952), 99 RIVER STREET (1953), and SLIGHTLY SCARLET (1956). He also starred in numerous adventure films and Westerns in the '50s, including SILVER LODE (1954) and TENNESSEE'S PARTNER (1955). He'll always be best-known, however, as the star of the Christmas perennial MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET (1947). John Payne died in 1989.
Horseathon is well underway, sponsored by Page at My Love of Old Hollywood. Click the link for a list of participating blogs. I've enjoyed reading a number of excellent posts this weekend; one of my favorites was Elisabeth of The Second Sentence writing on Robert Taylor in Disney's MIRACLE OF THE WHITE STALLIONS (1963). I saw that as a child and recently purchased a copy. Later today I'll be posting on SMOKY (1946), starring Fred MacMurray and Anne Baxter. (Update: Here's my review of SMOKY!)
...I love this story: During a remodel of Clifton's Cafeteria -- which has been in operation in Downtown Los Angeles since 1935 -- it was recently discovered that a neon lamp, boarded over in a previous remodel, had been burning nonstop for the last...77 years! It's estimated the forgotten light fixture racked up over $17,000 in electric bills since the '30s.
...A review of O.S.S. (1946) at Kevin's Movie Corner caused me to order a used VHS copy of the film from Amazon this weekend. O.S.S. stars Alan Ladd and Geraldine Fitzgerald. Sounds like my kind of movie!
...And a review of the Japanese film LATE SPRING (1949) by R.D. Finch at The Movie Projector caused me to add that film, directed by Yasujiro Ozu, to my Netflix queue. In the comments section for his review, R.D. also gave me some excellent suggestions for further exploration of Japanese movies.
...Susan King of the Los Angeles Times discusses war films featuring female casts, including one of my favorites, SO PROUDLY WE HAIL! (1943).
...Colin recently reviewed PURSUED (1947) at Riding the High Country. I've always liked this psychological Western noir, which stars Robert Mitchum and Teresa Wright, and my husband and I were fortunate to see it at UCLA last summer. Toby reports at 50 Westerns From the 50s that Olive Films will release PURSUED on DVD this August.
...Speaking of Toby, I loved his review of HONDO (1953) and the long discussion which followed in the comments. For more on HONDO and its new release on Blu-ray, visit Glenn Erickson's review at DVD Savant.
...Power Line, one of the finest political blogs, celebrated its tenth anniversary this weekend.
...Just came across John Greco's very good December 2009 review of SLIGHTLY SCARLET (1956) at Twenty Four Frames, which was of interest as I just saw the movie Friday night at the L.A. County Museum of Art. Greco also noted the visual similarity to Sirk's WRITTEN ON THE WIND; it intrigues me the films were made by two different directors and cinematographers yet came out the same year and share such vivid, over-the-top colors. Greco's description of Rhonda Fleming and Arlene Dahl's wardrobes is funny and accurate.
...A collection of Joan Crawford noir posters at Where Danger Lives ties in with my Friday night movie-going too, since I saw one of the movies he features, THE DAMNED DON'T CRY (1950).
...Grand Old Movies writes on the entertaining Loretta Young thriller CAUSE FOR ALARM! (1951). As Caftan Woman noted a while back, there's a rather interesting "housewife noir" subgenre which also includes Laraine Day in WITHOUT HONOR (1949).
...Royal Watch: There are lovely photos of the christening of little Princess Estelle of Sweden at the Swedish royal family's official website.
...One of my favorite DVD reviewers, Barrie Maxwell of The Digital Bits, has faced health challenges of late, so it was wonderful to see him return last week with a new batch of reviews. I send Barrie prayers and the very best wishes for his continued recovery.
...Cliff has posted an informative CRIME DOCTOR Episode Guide at Immortal Ephemera. I'm looking forward to trying this Warner Baxter series in the future, sounds like fun.
...George Maharis recently reminisced about shooting the TV series ROUTE 66. Love this photo of Maharis and Martin Milner! Shout! Factory has just released the entire series in a boxed DVD set.
...The new movie directors postage stamps were released last week! They honor John Ford, Frank Capra, Billy Wilder, and John Huston. There are links with more info on the stamps, including pictures, in a post I wrote last August.
...Will Amazon rescue the cancelled ABC TV series PAN AM?
...I got a kick out of Charles Krauthammer's column on his obsession with baseball in general and the Washington Nationals in particular.
...Notable Passings: Jean Craighead George, the author of classics such as MY SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN and the Newbery Medal winner JULIE OF THE WOLVES, has died at age 92...TV producer Lee Rich, the man behind THE WALTONS, DALLAS, and FALCON CREST, passed away at the age of 93...and Jack Benny writer Al Gordon has passed on at age 89.
Have a great week!