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Hollywood & Politics: Then & Now
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Monday Discussion: Who's Your Favorite Classic Actor? Why? Was he/she political?Views: 1675
Jul 17, 2006 2:16 amMonday Discussion: Who's Your Favorite Classic Actor? Why? Was he/she political?#

Linda J. Alexander http://www.lindajalexander.net
Hello Everyone:

It's late Sunday evening & I won't be able to get to the computer until later in the day tomorrow, so here's Monday's discussion:

Who's Your Favorite Classic Actor? Why? Was he/she political? If you don't know, let me help you find out. If you don't know one, post that . . . & maybe I can suggest a few names to look into.

I'd love to talk about MY favorite -- & I will -- but I hope I can get some other responses before I get into the Robert Taylor story.

I look forward to hearing from you!


Blessings -- Linda


Linda J. Alexander, Books For The Thinking Reader
http://www.lindajalexander.net
http://www.authorsden.com/lindajalexander
HOLLYWOOD & POLITICS - http://hollywoodpolitics-network.ryze.com/

Private Reply to Linda J. Alexander http://www.lindajalexander.net

Jul 17, 2006 3:07 amre: Monday Discussion: Who's Your Favorite Classic Actor? Why? Was he/she political?#

Debra Shiveley Welch
Oh, I have so many favorites! Where could I ever begin?

Since I am politically ignorant I will start with a fairly obvious actor. And I can hear the groans, even before I type the name! Doris Day. I love her! Her work for animal rights was so ahead of its time.


Debra - Mitakuye oyasin - We are all related.
Author of "A Very Special Child" - www.whodathunk.org

Private Reply to Debra Shiveley Welch

Jul 17, 2006 11:57 amre: re: Monday Discussion: Who's Your Favorite Classic Actor? Why? Was he/she political?#

Glenda Lowery
Like Debra I have so many favorite classic actors. Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Katherine Hepburn, Jimmy Stewart, Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney,Ethel Barrymore, Henry Fonda, just to name a few, oh and I liked Doris Day also.

As far as their ties and or political asperations, well I just don't know about that. Being as I was born in 1950, so many of the movies that were made by these actors were before I was born, or at the very least when I was a child and not frequenting movie theaters. I came to know their movies years later when they were shown on TV.

I am sure the causes they stood for, or the troubles they may have had during their careers where written about in newspapers, but in our house (in the 50's) the newspaper was considered adult reading and not for a child's eyes. Current events was something that was discussed only after the child was out of ear shot. It was kind of a "children should be seen but not heard" household. I don't think that was meant to be mean or cruel, I think it was their way of protecting us from the cold cruel world and to preserve our innocence as long as possible. Children need to be children first, and should not be expected to be or treated as tiny adults.

Glenda

Private Reply to Glenda Lowery

Jul 19, 2006 12:32 amre: re: Monday Discussion: Who's Your Favorite Classic Actor? Why? Was he/she political?#

Linda J. Alexander http://www.lindajalexander.net
Oh, I HATE it when I post an involved note & -- POOF! -- it goes bye-bye!! Here goes again. . . .

Doris Day was known as an animal rights activist. She was born Doris von Kappelhoff in Cincinnati, Ohio 1924, making her, age-wise, one of the last members of an almost-gone "club" -- stars of early "Golden Era" Hollywood. Her 1st film was 1948, "Romance on the High Seas." An interesting tidbit from that time:

When she saw herself in "dailies" early in this film's production, Doris Day claims she was so embarrassed by her own performance she asked director Michael Curtiz to recommend a drama coach. "No, no!" Curtiz replied, "You're a natural just as you are - if you learn how to act, you'll ruin everything."

She had one son, Terry Melcher, who died at 62 in '04. He was part of the music business, & connected to the Charles Manson murders because he reportedly turned Manson down for a recording contract. He also had lived in the house where the murders took place. It's thought he may have been the actual target.

A few details:

** She started out to be a dancer but a car accident when she was 15 sidelined that

** She had her share of troubles. Married 3 times, the 3rd husband, Terry Melcher, died in 1968, leaving her nearly broke & driving her to a nervous breakdown. Eventually she sued the attorney who'd covered her late husband's finances, & won 22 mil. I'd guess this might've led towards her "new life" as animal rights activist, or at least opened her up to more opportunities

But she'll always be known for her squeaky clean image! A funny quote from composer Oscar Levant, "I knew Doris Day before she was a virgin."

An intruiging woman! When it comes down to it, fiction can't hold a candle to lives that have really been lived!


Quick References:

http://www.atomicplatters.com/more.php?id=35_0_1_0_M
Conelrad Atomic Platters

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000013/
imdb -- Doris Day


Blessings -- Linda



Linda J. Alexander, Books For The Thinking Reader
http://www.lindajalexander.net
http://www.authorsden.com/lindajalexander
HOLLYWOOD & POLITICS - http://hollywoodpolitics-network.ryze.com/

Private Reply to Linda J. Alexander http://www.lindajalexander.net

Jul 19, 2006 1:57 amre: re: re: Monday Discussion: Who's Your Favorite Classic Actor? Why? Was he/she political?#

Linda J. Alexander http://www.lindajalexander.net
Glenda:

You have some politically-active favorites!

Bette Davis: she & actor, John Garfield (a notable part of Hollywood's HUAC, Communist period), joined together to form the Hollywood Canteen. This became even more politically-involved because not only was it part of the WWII effort, Bette Davis was instrumental in the fight to allow African American soldiers free & unfettered access to such places. She also made sure they had the freedom to dance w/white partners, should they so desire.

Joan Crawford: Donated portions of her income to pay for medical assistance for underpriveleged people. For years she financially supported a medical ward at a local hospital. Every piece of fan mail she received was answered -- if not by her, then by her assistants. In fact, in 1928, when she first became known on screen in "Our Dancing Daughters," she personally answered each letter, stamped the letters & drove them to the post office to mail.
http://jayspace.wordpress.com/tag/star-of-the-month/page/2/

Katherine Hepburn: The studio system successfully contained Kate Hepburn's political forwardness. During the HUAC period, she stepped back from her political positions because of the hard-line contract system. October 20, 1947, she was denounced by HUAC along with others as a "left wing sympathizer." There were generally known to be 3 groups during this period: Friendly Witnesses (Robert Taylor was one), Unfriendly Witnesses, & Liberals opposed to the Hearing -- Katherine Hepburn was part of the 3rd.
http://www.terramedia.co.uk/Chronomedia/years/1947.htm
http://web.syr.edu/~dwdeacon/Truman.pdf

Jimmy Stewart: Communists working as writers & directors attempted to color "red" many a film during the HUAC period. Lines deeply embedded in one of our country's most famous holiday films, "It's A Wonderful Life," and given to Jimmy Stewart to emote, failed to take away the "milk glass" image of sweetness and light and love. As late as 1987, Jimmy Stewart lobbied against film colorization for Screen Actors Guild.
http://www.wbai.org/artman/publish/article_686.php
http://www.variety.com/index.asp?layout=guildawards2001&nav=news&content=story&articleID=VR1117794989

Humphrey Bogart: Oh, Humphrey Bogart! HE had a notable part in the HUAC era. He and wife, Lauren Bacall, led a group of Hollywood liberals called the “Committee for the First Amendment”. This bunch, including John Huston, William Wyler, Gene Kelly, went to Washington in support of the now-infamous "Hollywood Ten," another group of Hollywood-ites, subpoenaed to appear in front of the HUAC committee in 1947. The Hollywood Ten had made it known they'd be "unfriendly witnesses," & Bogart & his group intended to support their right to free speech. It all backfired, though. Bogart's group were appalled at how they reacted, the histrionics displayed, the ways they harangued committee members in front of the TV cameras. His group returned to Hollywood, & Bogart wrote an article for the March 1948 issue of Photoplay magazine titled "I'm No Communist." He claimed he'd been "duped." The trip had been "ill-advised."

Hmmm. . . . So much good stuff here! I'm going to have to continue tomorrow, if you're still interested.


Blessings -- Linda



Linda J. Alexander, Books For The Thinking Reader
http://www.lindajalexander.net
http://www.authorsden.com/lindajalexander
HOLLYWOOD & POLITICS - http://hollywoodpolitics-network.ryze.com/

Private Reply to Linda J. Alexander http://www.lindajalexander.net

Jul 27, 2006 3:46 amre: re: re: re: Monday Discussion: Who's Your Favorite Classic Actor? Why? Was he/she political?#

Linda J. Alexander http://www.lindajalexander.net
I'm bumping this one back up to the top. Some good stuff was started here & I'd like to see if we can get some discussion going. What did you know about the actors outlined in this thread? what did you find intriguing?

Any other actors you've wondered about insofar as their political leanings are concerned? Let's discuss them!


Blessings -- Linda

Linda J. Alexander, Books For The Thinking Reader
http://www.lindajalexander.net
http://www.authorsden.com/lindajalexander
HOLLYWOOD & POLITICS - http://hollywoodpolitics-network.ryze.com/

Private Reply to Linda J. Alexander http://www.lindajalexander.net

Jul 27, 2006 12:41 pmre: re: re: re: re: Monday Discussion: Who's Your Favorite Classic Actor? Why? Was he/she political?#

Glenda Lowery
When it comes to the actors I listed as some of my favorites I can't say I knew too much about them as far as their personal lives. You have to take in account that when they were in their "heyday" as they say, I was either not born yet, or just a mere child. So I did not actually see many of the movies they starred in until years after their general release.

I know there have been movies made and books written in the "tell-all" style by children and siblings of some of the classic actors, but I don't give those types of books or movies much credence as I wonder how much was based on perception (the truth as they saw it) or actual fact.

I have no doubt that the writers and directors of that time, that had ties to the Communist Party, did inject or embed their beliefs into the work that they did, but I can honestly say the message they were trying to send was lost on me. I don't watch a movie to scrutinize each and every word wondering, "now what did they mean by that?" So with that being said, what was the communist teaching that was embedded in the movie "It's a Wonderful Life"? I have the movie on video and I would be interested , armed with this new knowledge,in watching it again.

Speaking of stars who are activists for one cause or another, well most I don't take too seriously. While they may pay lip service, if they are not out there lending more than their name to a cause, then they fall into the "if you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem" category with me. I mean don't go out there and shout how you think we should all protect these endangered species then let me catch with your name on the list of investors who just bulldozed 100 acres of what had been natural habitat for a great many animals to build a new strip mall or apartment complex.







Glenda Lowery
I always wanted to be somebody;
I guess I should have been more specific

Private Reply to Glenda Lowery

Jul 28, 2006 1:47 amre: re: re: re: re: re: Monday Discussion: Who's Your Favorite Classic Actor? Why? Was he/she politi#

Linda J. Alexander http://www.lindajalexander.net
Glenda:

Here are some links to read about the "communist influence" in "It's A Wonderful Life" & other films of that era. The 1st has a visual of an actual document created by the FBI:

http://www.paperlessarchives.com/compic.html

http://server1.fandm.edu/departments/CollegeRelations/PressReleases/1997-98/PR075.html

http://www.epinions.com/content_128656576132

There are many, many more. It was a scary time in Hollywood. Something appearing so innocent, w/depth created from the humanity of the story, was dissected from the bottom up; more sinister minds had other interpretations.

I've always had a far-reaching fascination w/films of the "Golden Era." I'm too young to have seen them as 1st runs -- I was born in the mid-'50s -- but I can recall, even as a child, adoring those black & whites & getting lost in them.

I think, for me, it was the attention to detail, the allowance for my imagination as the viewer, as opposed to how it is so often today -- blatantly laying it all out & leaving nothing for me to interpret my own way.

Also, it was the glamour. My, we can't even get close to that these days! They weren't blatant in their romance, so they had to use eyes, hands, movement, vocal inflections, & words to relay passion -- & that still is always SO much more erotic & romantic, to my way of thinking, than the coarse "laying it out" way of today.

What you say about activists is much the same as I was trying to relate about the pop singer who testified about logging in Kentucky. There just is no buy-in w/a character like that. Even if he's sincere, the platform, w/him on it, turns out to be all for show.


Blessings -- Linda


Linda J. Alexander, Books For The Thinking Reader
http://www.lindajalexander.net
http://www.authorsden.com/lindajalexander
HOLLYWOOD & POLITICS - http://hollywoodpolitics-network.ryze.com/

Private Reply to Linda J. Alexander http://www.lindajalexander.net

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