Category: Entertainment

Coogan with Grable; child actors gain ownership of their earnings

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1939 photo of Jackie Coogan with wife Betty Grable. Location is not given but it was probably in southern California. Image from http://thesilverscreenaffair.blogspot.com/2011/09/picture-of-day_29.html .

“The Coogan Law is named for famous child actor Jackie Coogan. …It wasn’t until his 21st birthday …that Jackie realized he was left with none of the earnings… Under California law at the time, the earnings of the minor belonged solely to the parent. Coogan eventually sued his mother and former manager for his earnings. As a result, in 1939, the Coogan Law was put into effect, presumably to protect future young actors from finding themselves in the same terrible situation that Jackie Coogan was left in. Unfortunately, the 1939 incarnation of the Coogan Law was flawed, leaving open various loopholes and necessitating long term, court sanctioned contracts for validation.”

Excerpt from http://smartactors.com/coogan-law/ . Learn more about the law at the link.

Coogan was born in Los Angeles and lived in the area. As a child, he was discovered by Charlie Chaplin and appeared in The Kid. His marriage to Grable was short-lived. Read more at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jackie_Coogan .

 

 

 

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Mickey Rooney gets pushed around

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Image and excerpt via http://www.glamoursplash.com/2014/04/rip-mickey-rooney.html .

“Mickey Rooney goes off the diving board, as Marjorie Gestring gives him a push, during Judy Garland’s birthday party at Louis B. Mayer’s Santa Monica beach home. Judy Garland, June Preisser, Jackie Cooper, and Virginia Weidler sit (L to R) behind them on the board. On the edge of the pool is Ann Rutherford.

“Judy turned 17 on this day, June 13, 1939.”

Garland is sitting on the diving board just to the right of Gestring.

 

Terry McGinnis, professional wrestler

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Image: Carroll Photo Service on file at Los Angeles Times newspaper library.

This blogger could find virtually no information about McGinnis but he was important enough to have a photo on file in 1939 and be in the newsreel of a match (at link below) believed to have taken place circa 1939 in Los Angeles.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-d8y373eUY?rel=0&w=560&h=315

“For the first time online, here is Cowboy (Killer Krippler Karl) Davis vs Terry McGinnis from Los Angeles. The match is from the 16mm film titled Through the Ropes and was issued in 1940. Both Davis and McGinnis were mainstays in the Los Angeles territory for many years.” Excerpt from the youtube posting.

The video at the link shows the violence of the sport. Watch the 8 minute 41 second video to the end to see what happened after the winner was declared.

Call for Philip Morris!

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Images: from Outwitting Handicaps magazine. Per the inside cover, it was founded “as a non-profit publication dedicated to the best interest of the physically handicapped. It is the offical organ of Chair Warmers, Inc., an incorporated association without capital stock, chartered under the laws of Michigan.”

So, while it is not a southern California story, the Philip Morris cigarette brand was the CBS radio sponsor of the 9 p.m. time slot on Fridays in 1939-1940 featuring the Russ Morgan Orchestra. So, we can presume that local listeners heard Johnny Roventini make that famous “Call for Philip Morris!” yell many times.

“Stagecoach” and “Destry Rides Again” westerns

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“Here’s the roundup, I mean, the lineup: ‘Stagecoach’ (April 5), ‘Destry Rides Again’ (April 12)…They screen at 6:30 p.m. at the [Ontario] library, 215 E. C St. in downtown Ontario [,C A]. [David Allen will] be there to introduce them. Admission is free, as is the popcorn.”

Excerpt and “Stagecoach” image from https://www.dailybulletin.com/2018/03/31/wanted-folks-to-watch-westerns-in-ontario/ .

Newspaper columnist and author David Allen will be hosting the two classic 1939 westerns. See his column in the link above for more information, including brief descriptions of the films for those who aren’t already familiar with them.

John Wayne in “Stagecoach” and James Stewart in “Destry…”, were among other southern California resident actors. Many of the location shoots took place in southern California. See the links below for details.

“Stagecoach” — https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0031971/locations?ref_=tt_dt_dt .

“Destry Rides Again” — https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0031225/locations?ref_=tt_dt_dt .

Betty White TV debut

No 1939 image could be located.

“…her connection with television dates to an appearance on an experimental Los Angeles channel in 1939. She and her high school classmate sang songs from the light operetta ‘The Merry Widow.’ They were sweltering in a small studio on the sixth floor of the Packard building while the viewing audience gathered in the ground floor auto showroom.”

Excerpt from 2010 Los Angeles Times article: http://goldderby.latimes.com/awards_goldderby/2010/06/betty-white-reflects-on-a-golden-career-.html .

“Even White has a hard time remembering the exact name of her debut show on screen back in 1939. However, there is one particular event she recounts as life-changing during a certain interview with Guinness Book of World Records. She was given the chance to dance on an experimental television show, based in downtown L.A. She wore her high school graduation dress and danced with the student body president (Harry Bennett) of their school: Beverly Hills High – to the tune of ‘Merry Widow Waltz.'”

Excerpt from http://moneyinc.com/things-you-didnt-know-about-betty-white/ .

Learn about 1930s television, including the Don Lee network in Los Angeles, here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_television#United_States .

Arrowhead Springs Hotel

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After destruction by fire in 1938, an all-new hotel designed by Paul Revere Williams opened on December 16, 1939. The star-studded opening was broadcast over CBS radio.

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Images: uncited newspaper articles via https://www.sakoguchi.info/arrowhead-springs-hotelnew-gallery/ .

“Overlooking the San Bernardino Valley, the location was ideal for a resort. It sat atop natural hot springs, whose waters, at a scalding 202 degrees Fahrenheit, were much hotter than those at Europe’s most famous spas, one reporter dutifully noted. To partake of them, guests had only to press the down button when they stepped into the elevator. The curative powers of the springs had long been advertised, and the hotel that opened that December was actually the fourth on the site. Its predecessor, a massive Victorian pile, had burned down just the year before. That was the point at which an enterprising tycoon, Jay Paley, the uncle of CBS president William Paley, jumped in and recruited some of the movies’ biggest names to invest in what he hoped would be the industry’s most glamorous getaway.

“For the overall design, Paley hired Gordon B. Kaufman and Paul R. Williams. An African American who had done something unheard of in those days—he had erased the color barrier—Williams was one of Hollywood’s favorite architects and the designer of Paley’s own house in Los Angeles. He and Kaufman produced a U-shaped structure with six floors, 150 rooms and suites, a 300-seat theater and three dining areas. “Georgian modern,” it was called, but it also showed the influence of Art Déco. For the interior, Paley went all the way to New York and to a woman who knew very little about life in California but just about everything there was to know about interior design—Dorothy Draper. “First chop in the decorating business,” was how she was irreverently characterized in Westways magazine.”

Excerpt from Architectural Digest magazine: https://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/hotels-arrowhead-112008 . Click on the link for more information.

Learn about the architect at http://www.paulrwilliamsproject.org/about/paul-revere-williams-architect/ .

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For a complete history, read Arrowhead Springs, California’s Ideal Resort by Mark Landis. http://landispublications.com/Publications_pg1.html .

 

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Today marks one year of daily posts about southern California in 1939. In the future, posts will be less frequent.