Golden Age of Hollywood Book Club discussion

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Hob Nob > stars of your home state?

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message 1: by Feliks, Co-Moderator (new)

Feliks (dzerzhinsky) | 2484 comments Mod
Jimmy Stewart is a Pennsylvania boy who made good, as I recall. I believe there's a museum in his honor. His home town is named something like Indiana, Pennsylvania (a swift way to trip up trivia newbies)

What famous stars got their start in your territory?


message 2: by Feliks, Co-Moderator (new)

Feliks (dzerzhinsky) | 2484 comments Mod
...for some reason, there's a handful of high schools in Brooklyn which have produced a phenomenal number of star athletes, famous actors and actresses, jurists, scientists, musicians, and other celebrities. Nobel and Pulitzer winners galore.

James Madison High School and Erasmus Hall High School

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erasmus...

http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainm...

https://www.cnn.com/2016/05/02/politi...

...although I believe Madison is these days known as the 'school for sex' due to recent affairs between faculty and students; friggin mind-boggling stupidity


message 3: by Jamie (new)

Jamie  (jaymers8413) | 88 comments Mod
They were at least born in Kentucky

Famous Stars:
Irene Dunne
Rosemary Clooney

Not as famous (to me at least):
William Conrad
Lionel Hampton
Patricia Neal

Current actors:
Johnny Depp
George Clooney
Ashley Judd
Jennifer Lawrence


message 4: by Feliks, Co-Moderator (last edited May 31, 2018 02:45PM) (new)

Feliks (dzerzhinsky) | 2484 comments Mod
William Conrad is the the biggest name on that list for sure. Irene Dunne close second. She was always a treat to watch; a sparkling comedic actress. But Conrad is legendary. He and Charles McGraw were 'the Killers' in the famous Burt Lancaster / Rita Hayworth movie of the same name.

That movie (based on the Hemingway story) practically kicked off the crime/noir genre. Its the original flick which spun off every other 'hit man' movie ever made (most people don't realize that this is where Tarantino cribbed the start of his career.)

Anyway; although Conrad did not have a spectacular film career of his own, the reason for his renown comes especially from the airwaves. For nigh on 20 yrs, he was the voice of Matt Dillon in the 'Gunsmoke' radio serial. One of the longest running shows ever. Not sure if it is the #1 longest (that honor may go to some daytime radio soap opera or something). So powerful was the fandom for this show that when it moved to television it ran another 20 yrs in that medium!

These are things perhaps to reflect on whenever we get too dazzled by the hoopla of today's 'wraparound' press and buzz. There's "more" media today yes--but it still doesn't match what went on in yesteryear.

Brad & Angolina, Tom & Nicole, Michael Douglas and his wife? None of these 'power couples' hold a candle to the fame of Richard Burton and Liz Taylor in their heyday. Or the scandal of Ingrid Bergman and Roberto Rossellini. These scandals were worldwide events that caused diplomatic flaps.. Even the Vatican was in an uproar.


message 5: by Mollie (new)

Mollie Harrison Pennock | 91 comments I'm originally from west central Illinois. Danville, IL, is in eastern Illinois and only has a population in the low 30,000s. However, it has produced a number of celebrities, including Gene Hackman, Donald O'Connor, Bobby Short, Dick Van Dyke, and Jerry Van Dyke. Must be something in the water.


message 6: by Doubledf99.99 (new)

Doubledf99.99 | 254 comments Walter Cronkite, from Saint Joseph Mo
Jon Hamm, from St. Louis
Peter Quill, from St. Charles Mo.


message 7: by Feliks, Co-Moderator (new)

Feliks (dzerzhinsky) | 2484 comments Mod
I just learned last week that Jack Lord is a Brooklyn boy


message 8: by Hugh (new)

Hugh Centerville (hughc) | 17 comments I'm reading Robert LaGuardia's Monty(1977), a bio of Montgomery Clift. A most tragic life, a heartbreaking story. Clift was on a trajectory to become one of the biggest stars ever but wasn't ever able to deal with his bi-sexuality, and his life became a descent into hell. The book contains some good inside stuff (I wouldn't call it gossip) about Clift's relationship with some other big stars of his era, including Sinatra and Elizabeth Taylor. I highly recommend it.


message 9: by Mollie (new)

Mollie Harrison Pennock | 91 comments Burl Ives is from central Illinois. His brother lived in Macomb, IL, which is the town where we did our grocery shopping when I was a child. Mom would point out his house from time to time. Burl performed at Western Illinois University in Macomb. I was familiar with Burl as a child due to his narration of the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer show.


message 10: by Mollie (new)

Mollie Harrison Pennock | 91 comments I've have an obsession with Jack Lord recently. Several months ago I discovered MeTV was airing the original Hawaii Five-O. I didn't watch it when it aired originally but was familiar with it as my father watched it. I started watching it on MeTV beginning with S1 E1, and loved it. It is very well done. It was on 12 seasons, but MeTV only aired seasons 1-7, then started over with S1! So I am on a quest to find a way to watch seasons 8-12. My childhood friend had a huge crush on Jack Lord and watched reruns of his Stoney Burke TV series. Hawaii Five-O brings back memories as the 1970's clothing, architecture, etc. is a blast from the past. He had to work twice as hard as detectives today as there was no DNA. Phone books and telephone booths played a significant role as there were no cell phones. I read he was estranged from his parents/sibling(s) in later years.


message 11: by Feliks, Co-Moderator (new)

Feliks (dzerzhinsky) | 2484 comments Mod
Lord has a very interesting bio, for sure. He was more trained in acting and the stage, than some people might realize. I definitely admire his philanthropic inclinations and the way he dispensed his millions late in life.

But other than 5-0, I'd only seen him in cameo roles as 'henchmen' in various westerns. The one movie I know where he got star billing, is actually quite a decent and enjoyable western written by James Clavell. 'Son of Dragon' or some title like that. It has an East-meets-West angle of course, thanks to Clavell. The villain in the flick is none other than soft-spoken crooner, Mel Torme.


message 12: by Mollie (new)

Mollie Harrison Pennock | 91 comments Jack was devoted to his wife, and they lived a fairly reclusive life in Hawaii. His wife was about 20 years older than him. She was a fashion designer and made most of his clothes. They reportedly left $40 million to Hawaiian charities upon their death. I'm a fan of Mel Torme, too!


message 13: by Feliks, Co-Moderator (new)

Feliks (dzerzhinsky) | 2484 comments Mod
Me too. I regularly listen to vocalists from the 1930s-to the 1950s.

For example, check out www.radiodismuke.com. Commercial free, 24/7.

Did you see my anecdote about Mel and Johnny Mercer?


message 14: by Mollie (new)

Mollie Harrison Pennock | 91 comments Thanks for the link to Radio Dismuke. I had not heard of it. I listen to '40s Junction on SiriusXM. I recall you posting about Mel and Johnny, but don't recall the details. A few years ago I saw a documentary on Johnny Mercer, which was fascinating. I wasn't familiar with him at the time and was amazed at his body of work. I knew his songs but didn't realize with whom they were associated.


message 15: by Feliks, Co-Moderator (new)

Feliks (dzerzhinsky) | 2484 comments Mod
Those songwriters were astounding. What an era for music.


message 16: by Jamie (new)

Jamie  (jaymers8413) | 88 comments Mod
Feliks wrote: "William Conrad is the the biggest name on that list for sure. Irene Dunne close second. She was always a treat to watch; a sparkling comedic actress. But Conrad is legendary. He and Charles McGraw ..."

I need to look more into William Conrad then! Very interesting information!


message 17: by Mollie (new)

Mollie Harrison Pennock | 91 comments When I was growing up, I watched William Conrad on TV as Cannon. As I began listening to classic radio programs on SiriusXM, I realized what a prolific radio career he had. His voice was certainly suited for radio.


message 18: by Spencer (new)

Spencer Rich | 787 comments I've been in GA for a long time now and I'm sure if I did some research, I could figure this problem out. But I was born in NC and I know Ava Gardner was born in a town not too far from where my parents grew up. My grandmother was nuts about her.


message 19: by Spencer (new)

Spencer Rich | 787 comments Mollie wrote: "Jack was devoted to his wife, and they lived a fairly reclusive life in Hawaii. His wife was about 20 years older than him. She was a fashion designer and made most of his clothes. They reportedly ..."

Johnny Mercer is definitely from Georgia. There's a statue of him in Savannah. TCM made an awesome documentary on him. I think it's called This Time the Dream's On Me. I hadn't realized he was such a good vocalist. Dinah Shore is also from Georgia, I believe.


message 20: by Feliks, Co-Moderator (new)

Feliks (dzerzhinsky) | 2484 comments Mod
I wish there was a good database for this somewhere. I was having fun lately with looking up the height and weight of famous classic stars. Extraordinary. There's a few websites for this; not very good ones but better than nothing. There should be one for US state of origin!


message 21: by Sylvia (new)

Sylvia Resnick | 14 comments Felix, you and a friend or perhaps someone in this group should try and put one together. you might make some money or at least fulfill a need. it's a great idea.


message 22: by Feliks, Co-Moderator (new)

Feliks (dzerzhinsky) | 2484 comments Mod
Sure, I might do it myself, but ...I hate computers !!!

:p


message 23: by Feliks, Co-Moderator (last edited Dec 04, 2019 07:51AM) (new)

Feliks (dzerzhinsky) | 2484 comments Mod
If I haven't posted it before, here it is again: famous alumni from the legendary Erasmus Hall High School in Flatbush, Brooklyn

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erasmus...

Just look at that collection of talent. And a little further south, James Madison High School shows stiff competition too:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_M...

p.s. unfortunately, James Madison High has in recent times become rocked by scandal:
https://tinyurl.com/sxt2nzz
https://tinyurl.com/qn9rpbt
https://tinyurl.com/w2tm9g8

p.p.s. I myself am not from Brooklyn



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