I’m talking about pictures baby, not dusty old books!
If you’ve known me long enough, then you know I’m an old movie fanatic. I think it started with “Top Hat” initially, and some of the old Carmen Miranda movies that my mom used to watch. Sure there were the Shirley Temple vehicles, but I wanted stuff with fabulous sets and costumes! At age 8, I already wanted an art deco bedroom and fabulous evening gowns. Mostly I also liked how my mom would preface each movie before we watched it, like “Flying Down to Rio” she described as, “Dolores Del Rio is so dark, and the guy is so blonde and the whole thing is about how exotic she is, and how blonde he is — they work it out obviously”. Of course my favorite movies I used to watch over and over were the Topper movies. I’m more a fan of “Topper Returns”; maybe because it is a murder mystery, but also because his wife Billie Burke is so ridiculous in it. It is also fun for me now because of what I know about Carol Landis, and a character in “Valley of the Dolls” (book version, not the movie version) being based on her.
Like many people into the old Hollywood movie thing, I’ve always been fascinated by the studio system itself. It was great actually living in Hollywood for a while, and working downtown, so I could geek out on stuff just walking around; things and places and events I knew no one else cared about as far as industry history. I’m also really into the pre-code films — and if you ever want The List of what you couldn’t do in film after 1933, I have it. It is truly amazing to watch pre-1933 movies like, “Blood Money”, “Skyscraper Souls” and “Baby Face” be so blatant in a context where, when you think of black and white films, you think of them being glossed over and hardly daring at all. My mom got me The Star Machine as a Christmas gift, and if you are into old Hollywood movie history and the business of it all, then you should get it for sure. What amazes me is that even the silly little movies talked about throughout the book are things I’ve seen, even the bad Deanna Durbin crap. Maybe one day I’ll meet the author, because I know we’d have so much fun geeking out together.
So, if you are like me, you will love: Tired Old Queen At the Movies. That sums up what I feel like most of the time anyhow. Here’s a question: out of all the episodes, which 2 movies does he feature are the only 2 I haven’t seen? It is a good thing I don’t have a collector mentality, because if I did, I would have a film memorabilia collection much like Steve does. I think so far my only true indulgence was buying the out-of-print paperback of Joan Crawford’s “My Way of Life”. It was totally worth it, as you no doubt could tell.