Saturday, July 4, 2015

Some Holiday Firecrackers!

Independence Day, the Fourth of July, has hit us once again here in the States and to commemorate the occasion, we give you several female stars and starlets being put through their respective publicity paces via often-corny photographs. If you try to determine how many lasses end up handling a phallic firecracker, you'll lose count! (Stay tuned at the end of this post for a rare personal note as well!)

Colorful actress Anita Page who, during the late-silent/early-talkie era, was second only to Greta Garbo in terms of fan mail (10,000 letters per week!) Retiring around the time of a 1937 marriage, she occasionally reemerged to act or to grant amusing interviews about Hollywood's golden age.
This early portrait of Claire Trevor almost wouldn't fit the bill for today until you note a) the salute and b) the fact that her hat is trimmed with a row of firecrackers! Wow! She'll need 100spf to protect from that burn. 
Dancing superstar Eleanor Powell had better stand back once she lights the candle on this cake!
A very young Susan Hayward and pal Virginia Dale put some bang on the beach with this firecracker-laden holiday display. (Dale is perhaps best known for 1942's Holiday Inn with Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire.)
June Preisser was a dancer with contortionistic ability that was put to use in many of her films. She played love interests to Mickey Rooney in Babes in Arms (1939) and Strike Up the Band (1940) in addition to other work. Years after her retirement, she and her son were killed in a car wreck during a rainstorm.
Barbara Bates is best known for her brief, but key, role in All About Eve (1950) in which it's made clear that Anne Baxter - having disposed of Bette Davis - had better watch her own back! Bates' career was already nearly through, though, due to a variety of personal demons, depression and so forth. Sadly, after several career stops and starts, she committed suicide via carbon monoxide at only age forty-three.
Gloria DeHaven came from a showbiz family and carried on the tradition, working at MGM and proceeding to a career that spanned sixty years or more! Her parents divorced before she was conceived, but then remarried, leading to her birth! DeHaven herself would later divorce her third husband only to remarry him three years later. At age eighty-nine, she's still with us today!
Anne Gwynne was a top WWII pin-up girl, horror movie scream queen and beautiful love interest in various movies and serials of the 1940s. What's fascinating today is that she was Chris Pine's grandmother! Her daughter Gwynne Gilford married Robert Pine, though Chris was only just beginning to act on TV the year Ms. Gwynne passed away. 
One must assume that Miss Rita Hayworth was under contract to Columbia at the time of this photo as it's not something I could see her partaking in otherwise. (And the smile looks just a little frozen/forced, don't you agree?)
Joan Caulfield strikes a different sort of Fourth of July pose, portraying Betsy Ross as she sews the American flag. Caulfield, depsite a modicum of success, was never really suited to acting or, in particular, Hollywood, and later became a highly-successful businesswoman, then occasionally returning to acting on stage with renewed fulfillment.
Great guns!  Gloria Grahame is bursting with holiday flag-waving cheer (and cheesecake!) Another highly-complicated Hollywood star, Grahame offered up many engaging performances (such as in It's a Wonderful Life, 1946, The Greatest Show on Earth and The Bad and the Beautiful, both 1952, and Oklahoma!, 1955, to name but a few) while battling with husbands, spouses, costars and herself behind the scenes. Stomach cancer eventually claimed her at only age fifty-seven.
Penny Edwards segued from life as a singing and dancing starlet of the late-1940s to a frequent TV guest star during the '50s. She also worked opposite Roy Rogers while Dale Evans was pregnant. A devoutly religious (Seventh-Day Adventist) woman, she ultimately began to focus on that and exited the business.
Fans of Dennis the Menace (1959-1963) might be surprised to see Gloria Henry in a pose like this. Though Henry receded from view somewhat after that series ended, she has occasionally worked as a guest star on everything from Love, American Style to Dallas to even an episode of Parks and Recreation in 2012! She's still crackin' today at ninety-two, bless her!
Pert, pretty Jane Powell has a really different sort of get-up on, but it befits her frilly, ladylike image which was crystallized in musicals like Royal Wedding (1951) and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954.)  Powell is eighty-six now.
Piper Laurie is seriously ready for take-off in this portrait! One of countless, pretty Universal Studios starlets, she later emerged as an acting force to be reckoned with. Three Oscar nominations were the result:  The Hustler (1961), Carrie (1976) and Children of a Lesser God (1986.) She is now eighty-three. 
Barbara Ruick ought to be familiar to anyone who's seen 1956's Carousel, in which she played Julie Jordan. Never quite getting her due in movies, she continued to act occasionally and was one of the ugly step-sisters (alongside Pat Carroll) in 1965's Cinderella with Lesley Ann Warren. Married to now-legendary composer John Williams, Ruick was felled by a cerebral hemorrhage in 1974 at only age forty-three.
Shirley Patterson was a busy starlet of the 1940s and bit part actress of the 1950s with an occasional larger role. A very severe skiing accident derailed her career in 1958, though with titles like It! The Terror from Beyond Space, it might have been time to move on to the next chapter of her life in any case. 
Nina Roman was a frequent TV guest star of the late-1950s and 1960s (and regular on the short-lived 1975-1976 mystery show Ellery Queen) who continued in that vein through 2000. She is now eighty-one.
Esther Williams is about to make a splash in this holiday-themed portrait. 
Singer-actress Julie London is about to hear a bang in this cheesecake pose. More often, Miss London was depicted in satin gowns and evening gloves which befitted her sultry nightclub image. (Later, she traded all that in for nursing gear and seven seasons of Emergency!, 1972-1979.)
Buxom Jayne Mansfield, looking quite appealing with her darker blonde hair instead of the more familiar platinum blonde.
Joanne Dru, probably best known for the John Ford westerns Red River (1948) and She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949) as well as All the King's Men (1949), though this being Poseidon's Underworld we find her more remarkable for Sincerely Yours (1955) opposite Liberace and for being the sister of Hollywood Squares' Peter Marshall!
I really doubt that this suggestive shot made it into (the ordinarily blonde) Martha Hyer's autobiography! As her life proceeded, she became more and more devout in her religious faith. Of course, we like her in movies as campy or tacky as possible like The Best of Everything (1959), Ice Palace (1960), Desire in the Dust (1960), The Carpetbaggers (1964) and The Chase (1966!) 
Here's Ol' Ironside's Barbara Anderson! Ha! She worked on that show from 1967-1971, later working several times as a fill-in spy on Mission: Impossible. Despite only being sixty-nine years old even now, Ms. Anderson hasn't worked on TV since 1993.
Recognize Heather Young? She was the second female costar of Land of the Giants (1968-1970), but did precious little on screen after that, preferring to concentrate on her five children (one of which she was carrying during season two of the Irwin Allen series.) She is now seventy.
We adore this portrait of buoyant Barbara Eden, legendary as the star of I Dream of Jeannie (1965-1970) even though that is a comparative blip on her half-century-long career. Ms. Eden is now eighty-three.
Some varied and interesting expressions on these gals from Petticoat Junction. These three, Meredith MacRae, Lori Saunders and Linda Kaye Henning, are probably the ones most closely associated with the series, which underwent quite a juggle of cast mates, especially early on.
...And then there's Adrienne! Ms. Barbeau was at this time costarring on Maude (1972-1978) with Bea Arthur. Later, she would pop up in a variety of movies (such as The Fog, 1980, Escape From New York, 1981, and Swamp Thing, 1982) and TV, including a showy stint on General Hospital. She is seventy today.
We end this parade with bikini-clad Sybil Danning. Danning is notable in The Underworld for not only being present in a major favorite, The Three Musketeers/The Four Musketeers (1973/1974), but also appearing in Meteor (1979) and The Concorde... Airport '79 (1979.) She is now sixty-three.

Thus ends our publicity portrait celebration of the Fourth of July. But, as promised, I have a little personal note to share. If you visit this blog regularly, you know that I am always, always busy with one thing or another that prevents me from posting as frequently as I'd like. My latest excuse was being off at a convention from June 25th - 28th. I had been in a theatrical production all throughout May and had hardly gotten my bearings back from that when the group decided to put forth a 30-minute or so excerpt into this convention/competition. I was delighted (but petrified!) to learn that my song from the show was selected to end the excerpt, which would then be adjudicated live by three established veterans from across the state.

I have been coming to this convention, just for the social aspects of it, for nineteen straight years. Occasionally, I've taken part in an excerpt before (four times, even once winning a Merit in Acting for my role of Brick in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof"), but had never had occasion to sing anything solo in competition. Thus, it was truly exciting to get this chance. If you'll forgive my boasting, it went spectacularly well (though inside I was a house of cards throughout) and when the dust settled I was greeted with exceedingly positive critiques and then at the closing banquet was granted the highest level of award that is given, an Outstanding, for my vocal performance. It's still surreal to me even now! Our show wasn't picked to go on to State, but it is the alternate in case someone else can't make it.

Though I'm still not quite to the point of publicly coming out for this blog, I know that there is often curiosity about just who in the hell you are reading and sometimes interacting with! I decided to share a backstage mirror selfie of me from the show itself. The Golden Girls' Blanche Devereaux once told a train station ticket agent, "...you are speakin' to Miss Angie Dickinson! ...I'm under heavy disguise for a major film role!" And, similarly, I am under fairly substantial disguise here, but one of these days I'll be out and about for real!  Thanks for reading!  Yours, truly, Poseidon.

9 comments:

SnuffyPuff said...

I always enjoy your posts have a great Fourth and wonderful summer. Congrats on all your successes!

Knuckles Girlyskirt said...

Thanks for this somewhat-odd collection of July 4th cheesecake (which at times was extra heavy on the cheese!!!)

Personally, I can never get enough of Sybil Danning.

And thanks for the glimpse into your personal life. Congratulations! Keep us posted on your successes!

Armando Kotch said...

What a pretty and delicious post. Even Susan Hayward and Piper Laurie as pinup girls, "...and I liked it!"

Happy 4th of July.

joel65913 said...

Happy Fourth!...a day late.

That's super news about your success!

Wonderful collection of holiday stars and starlets. Love the Marilyn snap, so simple but well composed.

This must be very early in Susan Hayward's career. I read that after her first Oscar nomination she renegotiated her contract and put the kibosh on any further cheesecake as well as other things including the studio not being able to cut her hair without her express consent. Apparently another facet of the studio system contracts, the right for them to alter the performers appearance regardless of their personal wishes.

The Jane Powell photo is great, what I want to know is if they had an entire collection of those gloves with the months of the years printed or sewn on for the different holidays.

Love that pinwheel behind Barbara Ruick. She was a talented lady such a shame her time was so brief. Her mother was one of my favorite supporting actresses, Lurene Tuttle.

You're right when I think of Petticoat Junction, which isn't often, these are the women of think of as Billie Jo, Bobbie Jo and Betty Jo.

My goodness Adrienne Barbeau looks almost demure, that is not the image I've ever had of her!

artist george said...

Congratulations on your success. I am always looking forward to your posts

Scooter said...

Congratulations. Very exciting!

Poseidon3 said...

Greetings, friends! Thanks for the comments, well-wishes and so forth. I'm now nursing an ailing back after a particularly busy 4th of July weekend! (And no, I didn't throw it out the Blanche Devereaux way! LOL I think I hurt it either a) riding all the slides and stuff at a local water park or b) jumping onto a 12-person float in a friend's pool while on my fourth or fifth Whipped Cream Vodka & Diet Sunkist! HA HA!) I'm hoping to have another installment posted to this blog by Wednesday.

As for the Marilyn photo, I thought it was pretty striking, which is why I picked it for the "cover," but it also amazed me that if you look at it bigger and close-up, there's a surprising resemblance to Jane Russell. The fuller lips and more rounded jawline were principal deviations. Thanks, Joel, too, for pointing out the Lurene Tuttle connection. I somehow missed that!

Gingerguy said...

What a treat! Though they are all fun, I loved the Barbara Eden one the best, so kooky. As a kid I only knew Julie London from "Emergency" with a shag haircut, and older. Later I discovered her glamour period and now her "Daddy" is on my iPod. Another childhood fave was "Holiday Inn" which is quite a shocker if you watch it now. Especially Virginia Dale in black face for Abraham Lincoln's birthday. That number is a hair curler. Poseidon you are adorable in your selfie, thanks for sharing it.

Dave in Alamitos Beach said...

If we can't see the video of your singing, can we at least know what you sang? It sounds very exciting!

Since this is about the only write-up Barbara Ruick is ever likely to get anywhere, I feel the need to point out that she played Carrie Pipperidge while Shirley Jones played Julie Jordan in Carousel. And since we're on the subject, the leading man was Gordon MacRae who is the father of Meredith MacRae from Petticoat Junction featured above. Full circle! :-)