Thursday, May 26, 2016

Jane Russell's Singing Quartet

In the early 1950s, during a charity night performance for the Hollywood Episcopal Church, Jane Russell took the stage with three other women - Beryl Davis, Connie Haines, and Della Russell ( no relation to Jane ) - and performed the spiritual classic Do Lord. They were such a hit with the audience that, for the next several years, they would continue to team up as a quartet and sing spirituals at various other charity benefits in the Hollywood area, and go on to record several 45s, as well as two albums. 

The Hollywood Christian Group, or "The Four Girls" as they were affectionately nicknamed, were all great singers in their own right ( Beryl Davis and Connie Haines were both well-known big band singers ), but, as a group, they created some stellar "folksy" harmonies, and found success with the public. 

After the few performances Della Russell was replaced by actress Rhonda Fleming, who had a sultry voice perfect for torch songs. She joined the group on their various television appearances ( Arthur Murray Show, Colgate Comedy Hour, etc ) as well. Check out the clip below of The Four Girls singing a medley of spiritual songs on a television special in 1955. 

All of the royalties they received from their recorded songs were donated to the churches to which each belonged. Later, in the mid-50s, Rhonda Fleming left the quartet, but Jane Russell, Connie Haines, and Beryl Davis often teamed up again to perform for various functions....and they even cut their own album as a trio on Capitol Records, aptly entitled, "The Magic of Believing". 

This entry is a part of our latest series entitled "Did You Know?".....sometimes we just feel like sharing interesting fragments of television and movie history and now we have a place to do just that. If you have a hot tip that you would like us to share on Silver Scenes, drop us a line!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

From the Archives : An Ideal Husband ( 1947 )

The conniving Mrs. Chevely ( Paulette Goddard ) discusses her terms of blackmail with Sir Roger Chiltern ( Hugh Williams ) at the Chiltern's annual ball in Alexander Korda's An Ideal Husband. What a sly one she is! 

From the Archives is our latest series of posts where we share photos from the Silverbanks Pictures collection. Some of these may have been sold in the past, and others may still be available for purchase at our eBay store :

Friday, May 20, 2016

Baron von Bomburst of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang ( 1968 )

"I vaaahnt dat caaar!"

When Baron von Bomburst wants something you can be sure he'll get it, for his minions will go to any length to satisfy the childish whims of their dictator, or else.....their heads would roll! 

Baron von Bomburst is different than your usual villain because he doesn't look dangerous. In fact, he looks quite amiable with his curly Bavarian mustache and beady black eyes. But mentally, he is quite verr├╝ckt. He's a pirate masquerdaing as a king, with no interest whatsoever in the well-being of his people. The baron believes that the peasants are only there to serve him, and his subordinates realize that the only way they can spare their own lives is by kowtowing to the demands of their mad ruler. 

One day, while patroling the sea for ships to capture, the Baron happens to spy Professor Caractacus Pott's beautiful motorcar Chitty Chitty Bang Bang skimming gracefully across the waters, and decides then and there that he must get his hands on the floating car to add to his collection of toys. ( Yes, he's a pirate who likes toys ). When he discovers that the car can fly, too, he demands its capture and employs his top henchmen to retrieve it for him....namely, his two spies X and Bacon. Together, they devise ingenious ways to capture the car, but when all else fails, the Baron resorts to kidnapping the Professor to build the same such motorcar for himself...only, being the blunderer that he is, he kidnaps Grandpa Pott's instead! 
Caractacus Potts and the children witness the kidnapping and follow Bomburst's airship which leads them to his castle in Vulgaria. There, they not only rescue Grandpa but lead an ambush on the castle to dethrone the baron and free the hundreds of children he kept locked in his dungeons. 

German actor Gert Frobe ( best known as Auric Goldfinger in Goldfinger ) plays the part brilliantly, and, from his first appearance onscreen, we anticipate his downfall. Frobe played a similar character in Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines ( 1965 ) but, in that film, he managed to create a scoundrel that was both comical and quite lovable. Baron von Bomburst is simply bombastic. 

While Ian Fleming initially created the character of Bomburst in his 1964 children's book "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang", he was nothing like the man we see on screen. Screenwriter Roald Dahl is the creative genius who transformed him into such a marvelous and outrageous villain for the 1968 musical film adaptation. 

Dahl combines in Bomburst all of the qualities a child would imagine in a storybook villain without any of the devilry of villains seen in adult films. He's not a pyschologically complex character...he's just a bellowing obnoxious bear in ridiculious costume, wielding power and money to satisfy any demand he could possibly make. 

Among his collection of toys is his wife ( Anna Quayle ), an "oochie choochie" doll he initially adored, and then, like his other toys, grew bored with. Instead of casting her aside he likes to try different methods of disposing of her - none of which work. 
Both the Baron and Baroness are repulsed by children, and so, to rid Vulgaria of their presence, he lets loose the Child-Catcher. This man is certainly one of the most frightening characters to ever appear in a children's film. With his long black hair, pointy nose, snow-white skin, and flowing cape, he prances throughout the streets of the town singing out "treacle tarts, gum drops..." to lure children to their doom: the caged wagon from whence they are thrown into the damp dungeon of the castle. 

Robert Helpmann, one of England's great ballet stars, is fantastic in this part and can be credited with giving more children nightmares than any other actor on both sides of the Atlantic. 
It's ironic that both Bomburst and his wife despise children so much, considering they are both juvenile in nature themselves. Bomburst is a middle-aged man going through his second-childhood, obsessed with owning the most unique car ever built - a flying car. He needs constant entertainment to squelch his boredom ( and his tantrums ) and even employs toymakers to continuously create new forms of amusement for him. 

It is this childish quality about Baron von Bomburst that makes him the brute you love to hate. He's like a silent-film villain who would tie a damsel to a train-track and then suck his thumb in gleeful anticipation of an approaching train. 

What makes Gert Forbe's portrayal of Bomburst so great is that he isn't playing the part for laughs. He takes his role seriously, and - like Robert Helpmann, too - ends up creating a character that inspires hisses and boos after repeated viewings. And that's, ultimately, what being a great villain is all about. 

This post is our contribution to the annual The Great Villain Blogathon being hosted by Speakeasy, Silver Screenings, and Shadows and Satin. Be sure to check out the complete roster for more great posts about wicked kings, evil-doers, and conniving churls of the silver screen.

Monday, May 16, 2016

The 5 Movies on an Island Blogathon

In celebration of National Classic Movie Day, Rick of the Classic Film and TV Cafe, is hosting The 5 Movies on an Island Blogathon, in which bloggers select their five favorite films that they would want with them on a deserted equipped with no other modern convenience other than a working television set, DVD player, and electricity ( which, for most of us movie lovers, is the only convenience desired anyway ). With a pile of ripe coconuts and a comfy straw couch to sit upon, we should be content to watch these films day in and night out for a good year or so.....after which time basket weaving and bamboo whittling will have to suffice as hobbies. 

Diana and I ( Connie ) have both chosen to participate in this desert island fantasy and have selected 5 films each....we're assuming we got stranded on different islands. 

Connie's Picks 

The Rainy Weather Picture - Not even Gilligan's Island could boast of having perpetual sunshine. Sooner or later, the rains gotta fall and, on that day, I'd kick myself for not having a good mystery film in my collection to watch - and what better mystery than that old warhorse, The Bat ( 1959 )? This Vincent Price/Agnes Moorehead classic features every cliche in the genre and has a good dose of old-fashioned "horror" thrown in too. It's a family favorite and one that I've grown up with, so that's that. On days when I feel like watching a cheap sci-fi film, this will have to suffice. 

A Dose of Humor - Surviving on a desert island can be serious business, and methinks a good dose of humor will be needed on a weekly basis to tickle up the laughing glands. Bob Hope and Don Knotts are tops to me, and since I love The Reluctant Astronaut ( 1967 ), that's one movie I'd be hankering to see on the island. I've watched it countless times already and have not tired of it yet, so I think it's good for another fifty or so viewings. 

Jolly Old England - Palm trees and white sandy beaches are beautiful, but after awhile I'd be longing for the greenery ( and wet weather ) of England, so Murder Is Easy ( 1981 ) will be my dose of comfort to carry me through my anglophile spells. This isn't quite a "classic" but it's Agatha Christie and it boasts a great cast of talented actors including Helen Hayes, Olivia De Havilland, Leslie Anne-Down, and Bill Bixby. I have a lot of happy memories associated with this movie, and since I've seen it over fifteen times already, I know it has the stuffing to last for decades ( Oh dear! I hope I won't be stranded that long on this island.....)

You're Going to Be Here Awhile  - Just in case I will be on the island for longer than expected, four 90 minute films won't be able to last long. So I'm taking Gone with the Wind ( 1939 ). I never included this movie on my favorites list, but I must admit, that every time I watch it, I love it must have just been an oversight all these years. In this case, I need it. It has enough plot to cover ten different movies with a bunch of different scenes to love. It has romance, too, which most of the other films I chose lack. 

The Pick-Me Up  - I couldn't survive on an island without at least one Walt Disney film...that's to carry me through on the days when I'm despondent. That Darn Cat is my favorite Disney film, but I have a feeling that the cat-chasing angle may get tiresome after awhile, so I'm going with my second favorite - The Parent Trap ( 1961 ). This one has a lot going on in it and a double dose of Hayley Mills to boot! The Parent Trap is another classic from my childhood and watching it always conjures up a happy California camping feeling. It has a few great Sherman Brothers songs, too, so that covers my lack of any musical. 

Diana's Picks

When my sister Connie asked me if I would be interested to write an article for the "5 Movies on an Island Blogathon", it didn't take me too long to decide which five films I would insist upon bringing along with me. I believe if I were left stranded on a faraway tropical island with a DVD player and a bowl of popcorn as my closest pals, then I would most certainly want to watch my most favorite films: 

"I Know Where I'm Going!" ( 1945 ) - Wendy Hiller plays a determined young Englishwoman dead set on traveling to a remote Scottish island to wed her wealthy fiance, but a gale disrupts the last leg of her journey, leaving her to patiently sit it out until the storm passes. 

Jack Cardiff's stunning black & white cinematography, the rugged scenery, and the romance which unexpectedly blossoms between Joan and Torquil, a dashing Naval officer ( Roger Livesey ) makes this one of my all-time favorites! 

"The Ghost and Mrs. Muir" ( 1947 ) - A beautiful romance between the breathtaking Gene Tierney and gentlemanly Rex Harrison. A spunky young widow ( Gene Tierney) sets out to make a new life for herself and her daughter ( Natalie Wood ) and rents a charming cottage overlooking the sea, but her home comes with an uninvited cohabitant, the ghost of its late owner Captain Daniel Gregg.

It is a lovely story to spin daydreams around with a musical score that sends me drifting out to sea. I admire Lucia's courage and grace and there is this passionate tension she shares with Daniel I find so attractive. 

"The Parent Trap" ( 1961 ) - "For Now, For Always", this film will remain very special to me. Identical twin sisters, separated at birth, meet by chance at summer camp and arrange to have their divorced parents reunite. 

Growing up, I fell in love with scenic Camp Inch and it made me want to go to summer camp myself, but it was hard to find one as nice as Camp Inch! The location scenes are beautiful and it really captures the "happy Saturday morning" feeling I can't live without!

"It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, World!" ( 1963 ) - A group of people set out to find a stash of stolen loot hidden under a "Big W" somewhere in Santa Rosita Park. Along the way, the number of people who get caught up in the excitement increases and so does the suspense... which all happens in one day! 

A lot of heart and talent went into making this superb comedy. It features a fabulous cast of comedians and cameos and the smart, witty dialogue keeps me laughing long after I watch it. The stunts are incredible, the theme song is catchy, and it always makes me happy! 
"The Ghost and Mr. Chicken" ( 1965 ) - Luther Heggs, a newspaper typesetter, dreams of becoming a famous reporter and gets his big opportunity when he is assigned to write a feature surrounding a crime that occurred in the town's past. 

I love Don Knotts and "Mr. Chicken" is spooky, but not horror-film scary, so it's perfect to watch on a Friday night and at Halloween..which I'll still be celebrating on my island. Great character actors and a well-written script, it embodies all the charms of small town America and funny one-liners I like to repeat all year 'round! "Atta boy, Luther!"

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Gangsters in Comedy 1940 - 1955

In 1940, one of my favorite of all film characters featured in comedy appeared on screen for the first time - the gangster goons - and for the next 15 years they would remain to get bumped, kicked, elbowed and knocked out by our bumbling comedian heroes.

These were no modern Disney villains who trip over their own shoelaces and could scarcely hold a gun. Nay, these were full-fledged “tough guys” of the meanest sort...ones who have earned their facial scars and busted noses. These were characters like Raspy Kelly, the strong silent type – “Moose Matson” a gourmet gangster - or “Left-eye Louie” who keeps you up nights wondering what happened to his right eye. And who can forget “Angel” from Shivering Sherlocks ( Three Stooges )?

Hardly the angelic sort!

The beginning of the era of comedy/villain films stems from Universal Studios in 1940 with the release of The Ghost Breakers starring Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard. Whilst there were a few slapstick shorts that featured thugs prior to this, it was The Ghost Breakers that really triggered the comic-gets-mixed-up-with-gangsters theme that continued into the mid-1950s. These gangsters appeared in the form of bank robbers, mobsters, art thieves, foreign spies and various other private syndicates. In this particular film, Bob Hope fled from Frenchy Duval’s gang in the nick of time just to fall into the hands of another villain out to scare Paulette Goddard from her family’s estate of Black Island in deep fog-engulfed Cuba.
One year later, Bud Abbott and Lou Costello were pitted against “Moose” Matson and his henchmen in the rollicking comedy Hold That Ghost ( 1941 ). Richard Carlson, Evelyn Ankers, and Joan Davis are stranded along with Abbott and Costello in a secluded roadhouse - during a thunderstorm, of course - where, unbeknownst to them, a gangster's fortune lay hiding within. 
That same year Red Skelton had to contend with one of the most notorious of filmdom’s vicious stereotyped actors – Conrad Veidt – in Whistling in the Dark ( 1941 ) when Veidt, as the leader of a swindling cult, need to hush up our hero from squawking about their criminal activity.
Throughout the 1940s, the Three Stooges were continually being thrown into the hot spot of gangster’s lairs as well. In Hold That Lion! they try to collect on their grandiose inheritance but come up against Ichabod Snipp, an underhanded broker. In Crime on their Hands ( 1948 ) they try to scoop a news story about a stolen diamond but Shemp almost gets cut in two by Dapper and his henchman Muscles when he accidentally swallows the rock instead. Ouch! Character actor Kenneth MacDonald often portrayed the villain in these Stooges shorts in spite of his gentlemanly appearance.
Even the four-footed equine Francis had to contend with a gang of art thieves for his final film…Francis in the Haunted House ( 1956 ). Donald O'Connor opted out of this entry and Mickey Rooney took his place in aiding Francis to save the hapless heroine of MacLeod castle from the so-called "ghost" of the estate. 
Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and other looney tunes poked fun of goony gangsters in such classics as “Bugs and Thugs” and “Catty Cornered” and “Rackateer Rabbit”. Big clunky Mugsy was the epitome of a henchman – clearly a former boxer who had his brains knocked out once too many times.
But King of all tough-talking, fast-acting, eye-glaring gangsters was Sheldon Leonard. This poor guy was stereotyped so badly that even when a role did not call for any skull-duggery he gave the appearance that he had a few tricks up his sleeve. Just look at those shifty eyes.
Mike Masurki and Mark Lawrence were popular con men of the 1940s too. Mark Lawrence played the mysterious “Charlie Smith” in Hold that Ghost and was bumped off faster than you can bat an eye by person or persons unknown. Alas, that’s often the fate for a scripted gangster.
In the 1950s comedians such as Abbott and Costello, The Three Stooges and Red Skelton were waning in popularity and so the studios turned to box-office draws such as Danny Kaye and Bob Hope and a duo which were the newest hit nightclub sensation of New York- Martin and Lewis.

These comedians fought crooked racing bookies, diamond thieves, murderers, international spies as fast as the screenwriters could churn out plots in such semi-classics as The Lemon Drop Kid, My Favorite Spy, My Favorite Brunette, The Secret of Walter Mitty, Knock on Wood, Paris Holiday and one of the last of the comedy-gangster films – You’re Never Too Young ( 1955 ). Raymond Burr played our baddie in this colorful remake of The Major and the Minor.
By the mid-1950s audiences were tired of seeing the same plot of mix-ups with thugs and goons…especially when films focusing on realistic teen crime were hitting the screen ( Blackboard Jungle, East of Eden ).

Nevertheless, in the 1960s there was a brief return to making films with a light-hearted approach to catching spies after the James Bond spy mania swept the world. As a mild-mannered archeology professor with a magical amulet, Tom Poston was fleeing from Russian agents as early as 1962 in Zotz!
Today, this genre of film no longer exists. While Walt Disney continues to make a handful of kiddie capers with bungling crooks, we no longer have full-fledged comedians fleeing from rough and tough gangsters who want their diamonds back, or bank robbers trying to silence their only eye-witness. 

Too bad really...they were such enjoyable films. 
"Alright got us beat now. But beware, we'll be back!"

This post is our contribution to The Great Villain Blogathon being hosted by Speakeasy, Silver Screenings, and Shadows and Satin. Be sure to check out the complete roster for more great posts about gangsters, goons, and other grimly characters of the silver screen. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Van Williams - From Athlete to Crime-Fighter

Before Van Williams donned the mask and black coat to anonymously fight crime in The Green Hornet ( 1966 ), he sported bathing trunks and brawny muscles on a daily basis to instruct both men and women in the aquatic art of skin diving. Unbeknownst to many, this hunky hero of television fame was a professional skin diver in Hawaii when he was discovered by producer Mike Todd in 1957. 

Williams was an all-around athlete even in his youth. In highschool he set records in the college he played football for Texas Christian. Mike Todd perished in an airplane accident shortly after he asked Williams to come to California for an audition, but that didn't deter the young man. After some acting lessons and vocal coaching he headed to the mainland on his own, and landed some guest spots in television before he was signed by Warner Bros in 1959. Williams portrayed Kenny Madison in the television series Bourbon Street Beat ( 1959-1960 ) which later spun-off into the series Surfside 6 ( 1960-1962 ). In both shows he portrayed a detective. This training, combined with his muscular physique, came in handy when he was asked to squash criminals on a daily basis in the popular series, The Green Hornet. 
This entry is the first in our latest series entitled "Did You Know?".....sometimes we just feel like sharing interesting fragments of television and movie history and now we have a place to do just that. If you have a hot tip that you would like us to share on Silver Scenes, drop us a line! 

Friday, May 6, 2016

Horse Racing Films of the 1940s and 1950s

And they're off! Flying around the first bend is Seabiscuit, followed by The March Hare, with Riding High scrambling into third position. And what's this? National Velvet is trailing behind by nearly a furlong! She'll have a long way to catch up if she wants to win. 

With the Kentucky Derby, the most popular horse race in the U.S classics, coming up this Saturday, what better way to get into the hoof of the moment then by watching some winning horse racing films. Can't think of any good ones off the top of your head? Well then, you've come to the right place.

Below we lined up some of the finest racing flicks of the 1940s and 1950s, and ranked them based on their track performance. Select a title you are familiar with, or gamble on a long may just be a winner! Across the leaderboard you'll find : 


Win - National Velvet ( 1945 ) - The timeless Enid Bagnold classic comes to vivid life in this Technicolor MGM adaption starring Elizabeth Taylor, Mickey Rooney, Donald Crisp and Anne Revere. It's all about the story of a young girl determined to get her "Pi" into the Nationals and to win at that. This is the Triple Crown winner of racing pictures. 

Place - The Story of Seabiscuit ( 1949 ) - A "thorough"ly entertaining fictional account of the life and times of the great Seabiscuit prior to his winning the Triple Crown in 1937. Actual footage of Seabiscuit's win at the Kentucky Derby top off the grand finale. Shirley Temple, Lon McCallister and Barry Fitzgerald star. 

Show Boots Malone ( 1952 ) - This is the horse-racing picture for true horse-racing fans. Boots Malone captures life at the track the way it really was. William Holden plays a cynical agent for a young jockey who wheels and deals with everyone and everything to get what he wants ( yes, this is Holden being Sefton at the racetrack ). An unexpected ending just adds to the splendor of this entertaining film. 


Riding High ( 1950 ) Bing Crosby stars in this remake of Broadway Bill ( 1934 ), directed by Frank Capra. Crosby lends more of a laid-back vigor to the part of the determined horse trainer who bet everything on his beloved horse winning the Kentucky Derby. Coleen Gray and Charles Bickford co-star. 

The March Hare ( 1956 ) This colorful British comedy is set in Ireland and stars Cyril Cusack as a drink-loving trainer who whispers a "magic word", obtained from the fairy queen, to his horse before each big race. A sideline romance between Terence Morgan and Peggy Cummins, and a slew of great British character actors ( Martita Hunt, Wilfred Hyde White ), make this a gem. 

My Brother Talks to Horses ( 1947 ) - What a trainer would give for an inside tip direct from the horse's mouth! Peter Lawford counts himself fortunate to have a little brother who not only knows what horses talk about, but can converse with them, too. MGM's popular child actor Butch Jenkins stars as the pint-sized horse whisperer.

The Return of October ( 1948 ) - Uncle Will ( James Gleason ) loved horses to death, so its no wonder that after he died he was reincarnated as a least that's what his niece Terry ( Terry Moore ) claims, and it's up to Professor Bassett ( Glenn Ford ) to disclaim her theory to the court when she is tried for insanity. The Return of October has a charm about it that is hard to resist, especially since that Irish charmer himself, Albert Sharpe, also stars in the film. 
The Red Stallion ( 1947 ) - A young man ( Ted Donaldson ) finds an orphaned colt in the woods and trains him to race in a big derby hoping to raise enough money to pay off his grandmother's ( Jane Darwell ) ranch debts. This is one of those routine family films to come out of an independent studio but it's very entertaining and boasts a strong cast. 


Glory ( 1955 ) - Margaret O'Brien and Walter Brennan star in this story of a young woman yearning to win a big race with her philly "Glory". This coming-of-age film was made as an attempt to launch Margaret O'Brien's adult career, but it never took off. Lawrence Welk's lovely Champagne lady Norma Zimmer dubs O'Brien's singing voice for her three musical numbers. 

Sorrowful Jones ( 1949 )Sorrowful Jones is not a winning horse, but a cheap bookie ( Bob Hope ) who finds himself playing nursemaid to a little girl after a man leaves her as a marker for a bet. This comedy united Lucille Ball and Bob Hope onscreen for the first time. They became fast friends and played together many times afterwards. 

It Ain't Hay ( 1943 ) - Bud Abbott and Lou Costello star in this comedy remake of Princess O'Hara ( 1935 ) in which a street vendor finds his nag has been replaced with a thoroughbred no less!

Thunderhead - Son of Flicka ( 1945 ) - This charming Technicolor picture is a sequel to the popular My Friend Flicka ( 1943 ) and also stars Roddy McDowall. Now the English lad is training Flicka's son to become a race horse. 

Derby Day ( 1952 ) - Instead of focusing on the famous race at Ascot, this film turns the spotlight on the people attending the race, namely three different groups who each find their lives turned around on Derby Day. Anna Neagle and Michael Wilding teamed up for the sixth and last time in this highly entertaining drama. 

Blue Grass of Kentucky ( 1950 ) - This Monogram quickie tells the story of Blue Grass, a "secretly" bred horse of the finest stock who is entered to win at the Kentucky Derby despite his owners doubts of his racing ability. Bill Williams, Frank Morgan, and Jane Nigh star in this Kentucky drama. 

Pride of the Blue Grass ( 1954 ) - The 1950s saw a host of horse-racing remakes, and this time around Allied Artists brought back Pride of the Blue Grass ( 1939 ) in "thrilling color". Since an Irishman is a prerequisite for any great horse picture, Barry Fitzgerald's brother Arthur Shields was tossed in for good luck. 

Boy from Indiana ( 1950 ) - Lon McCallister had a difficult time growing from juvenile parts into manly roles due to his short stature. Leading men are not often shorter than their leading ladies, and so he was often cast opposite short women and playing the part of.....a jockey! In this film, Lon ditches the harness racing equipment to raise a colt who becomes champion racer Texas Dandy ( played by JoJo ). 


Scattergood Rides High ( 1942 )  - A boy nurses his favorite horse, Starlight, back to health to win the Governor's Race and save his father's business. Guy Kibbee and Jed Prouty are the only "name" actors in this budget family drama from Pyramid Productions.

The Rainbow Jacket ( 1954 ) - For a jockey, being banned from the track can be the worst thing that can happen to you, especially when horse racing is in your blood like it is in Tyler's ( Edward Underdown ). To satisfy his longing to be back in the saddle, he trains a young lad to be a champion jockey just like he was. 

Sporting Blood ( 1940 )  - Louis B. Mayer often claimed that if you have a good story, film it again...and again. This remake of Sporting Blood came but nine years after the original film and stars Robert Young as the young man who sets out to spite a fellow stable owner by marrying his daughter ( Maureen O'Sullivan ). Hardly sporting, old bean. 

Easy Come, Easy Go ( 1947 ) - No, it's not the Elvis's the Sonny Tufts comedy-drama set at the tracks. This film goes on record as featuring the largest cast of Irish descendants ( until The Quiet Man was made ). If one good Irishman makes a racing picture, then why not through in 12...or 20? Barry Fitzgerald, Arthur Shields, Frank McHugh, Allen Jenkins, Frank Faylan and Diana Lynn are just some of the cast. 

The Fabulous Suzanne ( 1946 )This amusing Republic quickie features a young Barbara Britton ( best remembered for playing the scatter-brained Mrs. Brown in the television series My Favorite Martian ) as a waitress with a surefire "system" for winning at the racetrack. Otto Kruger and Rudy Vallee also star. 

That Gang of Mine ( 1940 ) - Horse racing was a major sport in the 1940s. So much so, that even the East Side Kids made a film about it. Muggs ( Leo Gorcey ) finds his dream of becoming a jockey about to come true when he meets up with an old man who has a champion race horse. 


So You Want to Play the Horses ( 1946 ) - Joe McDoakes couldn't stay away from the race track either, and thought he would share some betting tips with his viewers in this amusing short film. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Silver Scenes Celebrates 3 Years!

Time to bring out the bubbles! 

This week marks the third anniversary of Silver Scenes. It's a monumental event of no consequence to our readers, but two sisters from Cleveland are feeling quite sentimental about it, and so we'll spread our good cheer around. Three years ago this week we popped the cork and launched this blog with the high-expectations that with any luck it may just last six months. 

Since it has outgrown its britches, Diana and I will be celebrating this occasion all week long with some cheap beer, and we advise you to do the same. If you have a dapper suit or black evening gown, feel free to don that too. 

To help get you giddy, on Monday night we'll be giving away a door prize :  a vintage movie still to a random commentator ( yeah, what the hey, spammers included! ) who answers a simple question : What is your favorite movie genre? 

Here's your chance to own a piece of Hollywood history....this is a random drawing, so anyone can win!

There's nothing like an anniversary to make one realize just how true to course they have stuck to their initial goal. Our very first post boasted that Silver Scenes would feature: 

* a good directory of where to find classic movie info on the web.
* classic movie themed crossword puzzles, quizzes, and picture puzzles 
* interviews ( those didn't happen )
* lots of rare and unique photographs 
* biographies
* radio broadcasts
* behind-the-scenes tidbits 
..and last, but certainly not least
* classic movie reviews 

It looks like the radio broadcasts, behind-the-scenes tidbits, and "rare and unique photograph" sharing have been neglected, so this year we're going to try and remedy that. To start things off, we're adding a new series, aptly entitled "From the Archives", featuring those rare and unique photographs from Hollywood's Golden Age. Of course, they'll come from Silverbanks Pictures, our vast archive of movie stills. Some will be available to purchase, and others will be interesting photos that we sold in the past.

  Answer the question, What's Your Favorite Movie Genre? in the comment box below and you'll be entered in a drawing to win this original John Payne/Linda Darnell movie photo dating from 1940!  

Keep your eyes out for more behind-the-scenes tidbits too, because that's an always-fascinating part of Hollywood's history that needs to be shared.

Our main goal in starting Silver Scenes was to introduce overlooked and underrated classic films to our readers. We may not have accomplished that as of yet, but we certainly will try in the future. As old Pete would say, thar's a heap too many films being buried in the dust of forgotteness! Speaking of which, if you're stumped on what to watch this evening, check out the Nugget Reviews page to pick up a few titles. Click on a title unfamiliar to you, read the little review, and presto! you've got a movie to look into.

The very first article we posted back in May 2013 was Kentucky Derby themed and, since Derby Day is coming around the stretch once again, we'll be posting another horse-racing themed article in the next few days. Tally-ho!

Congratulations to Hamlette, who won our photo giveaway drawing!