King King 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.
Happy Birthday, Rudy Vallée!
We were slow to come around to Rudy Vallée but we’re big fans now. He was a true eccentric and his singing style can take a little getting used to, for some, but once you’re won over, you’re hooked but good.
Rudy was born 114 years ago today, and we’ll be celebrating by enjoying his music throughout the day. We recommend you do the same! Heigh-ho, everybody!
Happy Birthday, Barbara Stanwyck and Ginger Rogers!
For an old movie buff, July 16 is a very special day indeed. A pair of memorable stars were born on this day, and so special were they, we couldn’t choose one over the other in deciding which to pay tribute to. So today you get a double dip.
Joe E. Brown, with Just a Touch of Marx Madness
We’ve dedicated ourselves to watching a few Joe E. Brown pictures of late, to see if he perhaps will grow on us (after seeing one or two of his films years ago, we had written him off).
Another thing this picture also has going for it (in addition to the presence of the always-welcome Thelma Todd—another Marx Brothers connection)? Béla Lugosi as something of a foil for Brown’s misadventures. Best of all, Lugosi plays a character named Pancho Arango who, when asked what country he’s from, responds, “South America!”
Flirting with the Past
Last night we watched The Lady Objects (1938), a strange and kind of silly drama/musical (drusical?) that finds Gloria Stuart, adorable as ever, playing a hotshot lawyer whose husband (Lanny Ross), a former All-American halfback, a world-class tenor and a hopeful young architect (quite the trifecta, that), resents her success and the demands it places on her time.
As we said, kind of silly, but entertaining enough, since we get a special kick out of watching any picture that features Ms. Stuart. We were pleased to do a telephone interview with her some years ago when her memoir was published, and we’ll admit to being not a little proud that when we got to meet her in person a few weeks later at her book party in NYC, she flirted with us just the slightest bit. Nothing overt, nothing untoward, but in a room filled almost entirely with the young women of the publishing industry, we stood out, it seems—a young(ish—we were 41 at the time) man who was thrilled to dote on Ms. Stuart, bringing her food and drink, asking her questions about her movie career back in the 1930s and generally behaving in starstruck fashion.
So whenever we see her looking so fetching on the screen, we can’t help but think, That gorgeous movie star once flirted with us, an actress who might have once flirted with Humphrey Bogart, The Marx Brothers, James Cagney, Lee Tracy, Melvyn Douglas, Boris Karloff, Ralph Bellamy, Pat O’Brien, Eddie Cantor, John Boles, Claude Rains, Lionel Atwell, Frank Morgan, Brian Donlevy, Warner Baxter, Dick Powell, Frank McHugh, Don Ameche, Lyle Talbot, George Sanders, Walter Pidgeon, Jack Oakie, and Richard Dix. In any case, she appeared in pictures with each of them (except Bogart and the Marx Brothers, whom she knew socially).
Yes, our brief encounter with Ms. Stuart came more than a half-century after those hypothetical Hollywood flirtations—she was 89 at the time—but if she batted her eyelashes at even one-tenth of her aforementioned costars back in the day, we’d have to say we’re in pretty good company!
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