Celebrating Ingrid Bergman’s Centennial
Today marks the centennial of Ingrid Bergman‘s birth.
Back in our college days, we attended a campus screening of Casablanca that was held in one of the larger lecture halls on campus. We’d seen it two or three times already by then—via broadcast television and on videotape.
But, as always, it’s an entirely different experience to see a movie on a large(ish) screen and with an audience of fellow moviegoers.
But the thing we’ll always recall about our first projected viewing of Casablanca, easily one of our favorite pictures (perhaps our very favorite), was the audible gasp that was heard throughout the house when Ms. Bergman was first seen in close-up onscreen. We’re not sure a more beautiful presence has ever been seen on the silver screen than Ms. Bergman as she appeared in that classic picture.
Today marks her 100th birthday, and for movie buffs, it’s truly cause to celebrate. Ilsa Lund might be our favorite among her roles, but she gave us so many memorable performances in a legendary career.
Happy birthday, Ms. Bergman, wherever you may be.
A Trip Through Columbia Network Studios!
We recently came across this 1934 pamphlet/game board. It was a handout from WCCO, a Minnesota radio station that began operation in 1922 as WLAG (the call letters were changed to WCCO in 1924). But the pamphlet appears to have been issued by the CBS network, not an individual station. It’s our bet that this was distributed by CBS-affiliated stations across the country.
In 1934, CBS was headquartered in New York City (much of their programming originated from Steinway Hall on West 57th Street in Manhattan), and we can only guess that it’s that facility that’s depicted here (but we encourage more astute radio historians than we are to chime in if we’ve got that wrong).
Among the famous (and perhaps now not-so-famous) faces you’ll see on your stroll through the studios are crooner Dick Powell, theatrical impresario Samuel “Roxy” Rothafel, Irving Kaufman (in his Lazy Dan, the Minstrel Man mode—really? Blackface on the radio?), Bing Crosby, Fred Waring and his Pennsylvanians, Isham Jones, and George Burns and Gracie Allen, among others.
Click below to see a higher-res version of the image, or to view or download an even larger, higher-res version, click here.
Happy 116th Birthday, Alfred Hitchcock!
Alfred Hitchcock, who was born 116 years ago today, was truly the master of suspense, and he remains to this day one of our very favorite filmmakers.
Let’s face it, if you’re not spending your evening watching a Hitchcock picture, you’re missing the boat.
Warren William Goes on the Run!
Though he may not be well remembered by your average Jill or Joe, for movie buffs, Warren William is an icon of 1930s Hollywood—especially the pre-code years.
Though he played a few good guys, William’s typical character ranged from roué to to cad. He is, for fans of 1930s cinema, the man we love to hate. As Roger Fristoe wrote for tcm.com, “William played his fast-talking, opportunistic characters with such style and dash that Depression-era audiences often found themselves rooting for him.”
William was a creature of the city, more urbane sophisticate than rough-and-tumble he-man. One can easily picture, say, Clark Gable or Gary Cooper feeling quite at home in the great outdoors, but somehow not William. And yet, William remained trim and fit until the end. He was broad-shouldered and had a narrow waist, and one would assume, because he appeared so fit, that he was athletic and active, in the gym if not on various fields of play.
But how, then, to explain the way he ran? (His daffy dash begins at the 30-second mark in the video below.) Mind you, we’re in no position to mock anyone else’s athletic abilities (it’s usually we who are being mocked), but we’ll admit that William’s sidewinding caper (as seen here in The Lone Wolf Spy Hunt) made us giggle.
King Kong Returns!
Filmmaker Travis Threlkel and photographer Louie Psihoyos tonight teamed to project digital light images of endangered species on the Empire State Building in what the New York Times called “an art event meant to draw attention to the creatures’ plight and possibly provide footage for a coming documentary.”
For their part, Threlkel and Psihoyos termed the event a “weapon of mass instruction.”
We were there to experience the show with a couple of pals, and as soon we arrived at the corner of 30th and Fifth, we turned to them and remarked, “What we’d like to see is a giant ape climbing that building.”
Not five seconds after that crack, the show began again (it was running on a loop every few minutes), and our wish was granted.
Give me a book that's entertaining when I'm lying in the hay,
To while away the hours on a simmery summer day.
I want to be lazy like a daisy in the middle of July
And watch the pretty pictures in the sky.
Ho hum, dreaming in the sun,
I'm a lucky one, it's true.
Ho hum, I'm not so very dumb.
I'll bet you'd like to dream there, too.
Beautiful butterlies are dancing in the field across the way,
The nearest thing to heaven on a simmery summery day.
What's the use of hustle-bustle? Find a little time to play.
And you'll never simmer on a summer day.
—On a Simmery, Summery Day
Words and music by James Cavanaugh, John Redmond and Frank Weldon, 1940