Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Happy 91st Birthday Baby Peggy!

Before there was Shirley Temple, there was Baby Peggy. Debuting at the age of 3 and appearing in more than 150 shorts and films during the silent era.

Baby Peggy was born Peggy-Jean Montgomery on October 29, 1918 in Merced California to Marian and Jack Montgomery.

Her father, Jack Montgomery was a cowboy for several years all over the western states. He ended up in the movies as a stuntman and extra driving stagecoaches. He also served as Tom Mix's stunt double.

Baby Peggy was discovered while visiting the Century Studios lot on Sunset Boulevard with her mother when she was a mere 19 months old. Impressed by Peggy's well-behaved demeanor and willingness to follow directions, director Fred Fishbach hired her to appear in a series of short films with Century's canine star, Brownie the Wonder Dog.

Baby Peggy made her debut in Her Circus Man (1921) at the age of 3.

She went on to appear in nearly 150 shorts between 1920 and 1923 and nine full feature films.

Baby Peggy appeared in such shorts as On With The Show (1921), Playmates (1921), Brownie's Baby Doll (1921), Get Rich Quick Peggy (1921), Circus Clowns (1922), The Kid Reporter (1923), Little Red Riding Hood (1922), Peggy Behave (1922), The Darling of New York (1923), Hansel and Gretel (1923) and Jack and The Beanstalk (1924).

The vast majority of Baby Peggy's films have not survived and records related to their production have been lost.

A handful of Baby Peggy shorts, including Playmates (1921), Miles of Smiles (1923), and Sweetie (1923) have been discovered and preserved in film archives around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

Her first full length film was Penrod (1922).

Her full length films The Family Secret, April Fool (1926), Capatin January (1924) and Helen's Babies (1924) have also survived and have been restored.

Many of Baby Peggy's popular comedies were parodies of movies that grown-up stars had made, and she delightfully imitated such legends as Rudolph Valentino, Mary Pickford, Mae Murray and Pola Negri.

Baby Peggy's film career abruptly ended in 1925 when her father had a falling out with Sol Lesser over her salary and cancelled her contract. From 1925 to 1929, Peggy enjoyed a successful career as a vaudeville performer.

Baby Peggy reportedly made at least two million dollars in her early career but her parents' bad management and free spending left her in poverty. This resulted in several nervous breakdowns in young adulthood.

At the age of seventeen, trying to escape the film industry and her parents' plans for her life, Baby Peggy ran away from home and rented an apartment with her sister Louise. She married actor Gordon Ayres in 1938, but the union was not a happy one. She divorced Ayres in 1948 and married Bob Cary (sometimes listed as Bob Carey) in 1954. They are still married today.

She adopted the name Diana Serra Cary and is now a publisher, historian and author. Her books included "What Ever Happened to Baby Peggy: The Autobiography of Hollywood's Pioneer Child Star" and "Jackie Coogan: The World's Boy King: A Biography of Hollywood's Legendary Child Star."

She has also advocated reforms in child performer protection laws, most recently as a member of the organization A Minor Consideration. As a toddler she worked eight hours a day, six days a week. She was generally required to perform her own stunts, which included being held underwater in the ocean until she fainted in Sea Shores Shapes (1921) and escaping alone from a burning room in The Darling of New York (1923).

Child Actors and The Academy Awards

First, a little trivia:

The youngest recipient of an academy award was Shirley Temple at the age of 6 when she received the Honorary Juvenile Academy Award.

The youngest person to receive a Best Actor nomination is Jackie Cooper for Skippy (1931) at the age of 9.

The youngest person to receive a Best Actress nomination is Keisha Castle-Hughes (2002) at the age of 11 for Whale Rider.

Jackie Cooper is the only child actor to ever receive a Best Actor nomination. No child actor has ever won an Acadmey Award for Best Actor.

Keisha Castle-Hughes is the only child actor to ever receive a Best Actress nomination. No child actor has ever won an Acadmey Award for Best Actress.

No child actor has ever won an Acadmey Award for Best Supporting Actor.

The youngest award nominee in any competitive category was Justin Henry, age 8, for Best Supporting Actor for Kramer vs. Kramer (1979).

The youngest recipient of an Acadmey Award in a competitive category is Tatum O'Neal for Paper Moon (1973) at age 10 (Best Supporting Actress).

The first child actor to receive an Academy Award in a competitive category was Patty Duke for The Miracle Worker (1962) at age 14. (Best Supporting Actress).

For the competitive awards, child actors have only one three times and each was in the Best Supporting Actress category (see below for those wins).

The youngest Academy Award presenter was in February 1939 when 9 year old Shirley Temple had to climb on a chair to present the award.

The Honorary Juvenile Academy Award was established in 1934. It was awarded sporadically until it was retired in 1960. Sometimes it was given as a general award and sometimes for a specific performance.

Recipients of the Honorary Juvenile Academy Award:

Shirley Temple (1935) at the age of 6 (general award) (the youngest recipient)

Mickey Rooney (1938) at the age of 17 (general award)

Deanna Durbin (1938) at the age of 17 (general award)

Judy Garland (1939) at the age of 17 for The Wizard of Oz

Margaret O'Brien (1944) at the age of 7 for Meet Me in St. Louis

Peggy Ann Garner (1945) at the age of 14 for outstanding child actress of 1945

Claude Jarman Jr. (1946) at the age of 11 for The Yearling

Ivan Jandl (1948) at the age of 9 for The Search

Bobby Driscoll (1949) at the age of 12 for The Window

Jon Whiteley (1954) at the age of 9 for The Little Kidnappers

Vincent Winter (1954) at the age of 7 The Little Kidnappers

Hayley Mills (1960) at the age of 12 for Pollyanna

Competitive Best Actor Award Nominations:

Jackie Cooper (1931) at the age of 9, nominated for Best Actor for Skippy (the youngest Best Actor nominee ever)

Competitive Best Actress Award Nominations:

Keisha Castle-Hughes (2002) at the age of 11 for Whale Rider. .

Competitive Best Supporting Actor Award Nominations

Brandon de Wilde (1953) for Shane at the age of 10

Sal Mineo (1955) for Rebel Without a Cause at age 16

Justin Henry (1979) for Kramer vs. Kramer at the age of 8

River Phoenix (1988) for Running on Empty at the age of 17

Haley Joel Osment (1999) for The Sixth Sense at age 10

Competitive Best Supporting Actress Award Nominations:

Natalie Wood (1955) for Rebel Without a Cause at age 16

Patty McCormack (1956) for The Bad Seed at age 10

Mary Badham (1963) for To Kill a Mockingbird, at the age of 10

Linda Blair (1973) for The Exorcist at age 14

Jodie Foster (1976) for Taxi Driver at age 14

Quinn Cummings (1977) for The Goodbye Girl, at age 9

Abigail Breslin (2006) for Little Miss Sunshine at age 9

Competitive Best Supporting Actress Wins:

Patty Duke (1962) at the age of 14 for The Miracle Woker

Tatum O'Neal (1974) for Paper Moon, at the age of 10

Anna Paquin (1993) for the Piano, at age 11

Monday, October 26, 2009

Milestone Anniversaries of Films

Recently TCM did a feature of 1939 as several classic movies celebrated their 70th Anniversary like Gone With The Wind, The Wizard of Oz, Stagecoach and many many more.

I did a little research and several other movies also celebrated milestone anniversaries. Below are just a few films celebrating milestones in the year 2009. It is hard to believe it has been so long since some of the films had their debut on the silver screen.

80th Annivesary:

Small Talk (The first Our Gang film)

Broadway Melody

The Virginian

Cocoanuts (Film debut of the Marx Brothers)

75th Anniversary:

The Gay Divorcee

It Happened One Night

Manhattan Melodrama

The Thin Man

60th Anniversary:

Adam's Rib

On the Town

She Wore a Yellow Ribbon

The Third Man

White Heat

50th Anniversary:

Anatomy of a Murder


North by Northwest

Rio Bravo

Some Like it Hot

40th Anniversary:

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Easy Rider

Midnight Cowboy

True Grit

The Wild Bunch

30th Anniversary:


Apocalypse Now

Kramer vs. Kramer


Before They Were Stars

They were not always movie stars. Some stars began their careers in performing and in show business, while others began in ordinary jobs.

1) Jean Arthur: stenographer

2) Humphrey Bogart: bonds salesman

3) James Cagney: bellhop and book custodian at a library

4) Gary Gooper: salesman

5) Henry Fonda: phone company

6) Clark Gable: tire factory worker and neck tie salesman

7) Greta Garbo: shampoo girl at a barber shop

8) Greer Garson: advertising agency

9) Sydney Greenstreet: Ceylon tea planter

10) Angela Lansbury: saleswoman at a department store

11) Sterling Hayden: ship captain

12) Fredric March: banker

13) Steve McQueen: lumberjack

14) Robert Mitchum: machine operator

15) Agnes Moorehead: school teacher

16) Gregory Peck: truck driver

17) Barbara Stanwyck: gift wrapper at a Brooklyn department store

18) James Stewart: construction worker

19) Rudolph Valentino: bus boy at a restraurant

20) John Wayne: newspaper delivery man

Wizard of Oz Trivia

The Wizard of Oz made its premier in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin on August 12, 1939. It made its Hollywood premiere on August 15, 1939 and its New York City premiere on August 17, 1939 and was released on August 25, 1939 to the rest of the United States.

The film started shooting on 13 October 1938 and was completed on 16 March 1939 at a then-unheard-of cost of $2,777,000. It earned only $3,000,000 on its initial release.


The film had five different directors: Richard Thorpe (fired); George Cukor (did not actually film any scenes; he merely modified Garland's and Bolger's makeup); Mervyn LeRoy (directed some of the transitional scenes); King Vidor (took over the remaining sequences after Fleming went to work on Gone With The Wind) and Victor Fleming.

Ultimately it took 14 writers the story to the screen.


*Ray Bolger was originally cast as the Tin Man, however, he insisted that he would rather play the Scarecrow

*Buddy Ebsen had been cast as the Scarecrow, and but switched roles with Bolger. But the aluminum powder makeup for the Tin Man was toxic and Ebsen apparently had an allergic reaction to it as well. He left the picture, but his voice can still be heard in "Off to see the Wizard".

*Charley Grapewin came out of retirement to play Uncle Henry.

*Shirley Temple was the original choice to play Dorothy. However, she was under contract to 20th Century Fox at the time. A deal was put in place to loan her to MGM Studios in exchange for Clark Gable and Jean Harlow going to 20th Century Fox for a film. However, after Jean Harlow's untimely death the deal was revoked.

*Frank Morgan actually had five roles in the film: Professor Marvel, The Wizard, Gatekeeper of Emerald City, Guard, and The Carriage Driver.

*Toto's real name was Terry, she died in 1945 and was buried in her trainer's yard. Terry was the dog Rainbow in the film Fury (1936) and the dog in the beauty shop in The Women (1939).


*The ruby slippers were silver (like in the book) until MGM chief Louis B. Mayer realized that the Technicolor production would benefit from the slippers being colored.

*There are thought to be seven pairs of ruby slippers, of which the whereabouts of five are known. Each has an estimated value of $1.5 million, making them the most expensive Hollywood memorabilia.

*Margaret Hamilton suffered a serious injury on the set when her make-up heated up and nearly caught fire in the scene where she disappears in a cloud of orange smoke and fire. As it was, she suffered second- and third-degree burns to her hands and face. It was later discovered that one of the key components in her make-up was copper.

*Judy Garland had to wear a painful corset-style device around her torso so that she would appear younger and flat-chested.

*Glinda's gown was first worn by Jeanette MacDonald in San Francisco (1936).

*Bert Lahr's costume weighed 90 pounds.


*The Munchkins were awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in November, 2007. Seven of them attended the ceremony: Mickey Carroll, Ruth Robinson, Margaret Pellegrini, Meinhardt Raabe, Karl Kosiczky and August Clarence Swenson.

*Many of the Wicked Witch of the West's scenes were either trimmed or deleted entirely, as Margaret Hamilton's performance was thought too frightening for audiences.

*The "tornado" was a 35-foot-long muslin stocking

*In the movie Glinda is the good witch of the North. However, in L. Frank Baum's book, Glinda is the good sorceress of the South.

*Judy Garland very much wanted to adopt Terry, after the two spent so much time together shooting the film. Unfortunately, the owner of the dog wouldn't give her up, and Terry went on to a long career in films.

*The last surviving major cast member was Ray Bolger (Scarecrow) who passed away in 1987.

*Meinhardt Raabe (born September 2, 1915) is the oldest surviving Munchkin (The Coroner) with any significant dialogue in the film.


*Over the Rainbow" was nearly cut from the film; the song was ranked #1 by the American Film Institute on the 100 Greatest Songs in American Films Institute

*Ding Dong the Witch is Dead is #82 on the 100 Greatest Songs by the American Films Institute

*The movie's line "Toto, I've got a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore" was voted as the #4 movie quote by the American Film Institute.

*The movie's line "There's no place like home." was voted as the #23 movie quote by the American Film Institute (out of 100).

*The movie's line "I'll get you, my pretty, and your little dog, too!" was voted as the #99 movie quote by the American Film Institute.

*Dorothy was the main inspiration for the character of Mary Ann on Gilligan's Island.

Alfred Hitchcock Trivia

Here is a little trivia about The Master of Suspense

*His first directing project was the movie Number 13 in 1922, however, the production was canceled due to financial problems and no finished scenes are believed to exist today

*His directing debut (in a finished film) is 1923 in Always Tell Your Wife (although he is uncredited)

*His first cameo appearance was in The Lodger in 1927, he then made cameo appearances in 39 of his 52 films

*The Lodger (1927) was his first thriller

*His first "talkie" was Blackmail (1929)

*His first American film was Rebecca (1940) although Rebecca was still set in England

*Shadow of a Doubt (1943) marked his first film to be set in the United States

*He directed one romantic comedy, Mr. and Mrs. Smith (1941)

*Suspicion (1941) marked Hitchcock's first film as a producer and director

*Shadow of a Doubt (1943) is Hitchcock's personal favorite of all his films

*North by Northwest at 136 minutes is Hitchcock's longest film

*It is impossible to have seen all of Hitchcock's films as The Mountain Eagle (1926) is lost (no copy exists today)

*50 Academy Award nominations have resulted from Hitchcock films

*Spellbound, Foreign Correspondent, Suspicion and Rebecca are the only films to receive Academy Award Best Picture nominations

*Rebecca is the only Hitchcock film to receive the Academy Award for Best Picture

*Joan Fontaine, is the only actress to receive an Academy Award for acting in a Hitchcock film (winning Best Actress for Suspicion)

*Hitchcock was nominated five times for Best Director for Psycho, Rebecca, Lifeboat, Spellbound, and Rear Window

*Hitchcock never won an academy award although in 1967 he received the Irving Thalberg Memorial Award at the Oscars

*He delivered the shortest acceptance speech in Oscar history: while accepting theIrving Thalberg Memorial Award, he simply said "Thank you."

*Six of Hitchcock's films are in the National Film Registry: Vertigo, Rear Window, North by Northwest, Shadow of a Doubt, Notorious and Psycho

*He was married 53 years to Alma Reville.

*He and Alma had one child, a daughter Patricia who appeared in three Hitchock movies: Stage Fright (1950), Strangers on a Train (1951) and Psycho (1960)

*Leo G. Carroll appearred in more Hitchcock movies than any other actor, six films: Rebecca (1940), Suspicion (1941), Spellbound (1945), The Paradine Case (1947), Strangers on a Train (1951), and North By Northwest (1959)

*Cary Grant and James Stewart both appearred in four Hitchcock movies

*Ingrid Bergman and Grace Kelly both appearred in three Hitchcock movies

Marriage in Hollywood, Celebrating 50 years or more

It seems in recent times all we hear about is Hollywood marriages that fail, divorces, affairs and so forth. So I decided to write this blog to pay tribute to some of the longest lasting marriages in Hollywood. I included only those I could find that have or were married 50 plus years.

32. Fess Parker and Marcella Rinehart (50 years) married January 18, 1960 to March 18, 2010 (his death)

31. Paul Newman and Joanne Woodard (50 years) married January 29, 1958 to September 26, 2008 (his death)

30. John Forsythe and Julie Warren (50 years) married December 18, 1943 to August 15, 1994 (her death).

29. Edgar Buchanan and Mildred Marguerite Spence (50 years) married April 14, 1928 to April 4, 1979 (his death)

28. Hal Linden and Francis Martin (52 years) married April 13, 1958 to present

27. Ronald Reagan and Nancy Davis (52 years) married March 4, 1952 to June 5, 2004 (his death)

26. Walter Pidgeon and Ruth Walker (52 years) married December 12, 1931 to September 25, 1984 (his death)

25. Alan and Arlene Alda (53 years) married March 15, 1957 to present

24. Dana Andrews and Mary Todd (53 years) married November 17, 1939 to December 17, 1992 (his death)

23. Dorothy Janis and Wayne King (53 years) married March 21, 1932 to July 16, 1985 (his death)

22. James Garner and Lois Clarke (53 years) married August 17, 1956 to present

21. Bernard Punsly and Lynne (53 years) married 1950 - January 20, 2004, his death.

20. Alfred Hitchcock and Alma Renville (54 years) married December 2, 1926 to April 29, 1980 (his death)

19. Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara (55 years) married September 14, 1954 to present

18. Baby Peggy and Bob Carey (55 years) married May 15, 1954 to present.

17. Kirk Douglas and Anne Buydens (55 years) married May 29, 1954 to present

16. Ozzie Davis and Ruby Dee (56 years) married December 9, 1948 to February 4, 2005 (his death)

15. Jeanne Crain and Paul Brooks (56 years) married December 31, 1946 to October 1, 2003 (his death)

14. Joel McCrea and Frances Dee (57 years) married October 20, 1933 to October 20, 1990 (his death and yes it was on their anniversary)

13. Robert and Dorothy Mitchum (57 years) married March 15, 1940 to July 1, 1997 (his death)

12. Peter Graves and Joan Endress (59 years) married December 16, 1950 to March 14, 2010 (his death)

11. Tony Martin and Cyd Charisse (60 years) married May 15, 1948 to June 17, 2008 (her death)

10. Eli Wallach and Anne Jackson (62 years) married March 5, 1948 to present.

9. James Cagney and Frances “Billie” Vernon (63 years) married September 28, 1922 to March 30, 1986 (his death)

8. Charlton Heston and Lydia Clarke (64 years) married March 17, 1944 to April 5, 2008 (his death)

7. Ricardo Montalban and Georgiana Young (64 years) married October 26, 1944 to November 13, 2007. (her death)

6. Carl Reiner and Estelle Lobost (64 years) married December 24, 1943 to October 25, 2008 (her death)

5. Bob Hope and Doloroes DeFina married February 19, 1934 to July 27, 2003 (his death), 69 years

4. Karl Malden and Mona Greenberg married December 18, 1938 to July 1, 2009 (his death) 70 years

3. Charles Lane and Ruth Convell (71 years) married April 12, 1931 to November 30, 2002 (her death)

2. Norman Lloyd and Peggy Lloyd (73 years) married June 29, 1936 to present

1. Art Linkletter and Lois Foerster (74 years) married November 25, 1935 to present