Felix In Hollywood

A Blog for the Smart Set

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Vivian Vance......

.....was awfully young to be wearing a pearl necklace if you ask me.  And such a very long necklace too!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Fancy Foot Work.

I had posted this on the facebook page but I wanted to show you guys too:

These are a pair of shoes used by Mae West in her nightclub act of the 50s. The combined platform and heel gave her an extra 9 1/2" (she was only 5 feet tall!) The shoes are from the Library collection of the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. I'm giving the tour to a group of FIDM students (makes me feel real smart!).

Monday, May 23, 2011


It's a long road from brilliant, quirky risk-taker:

To sellout:

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Everybody Freeze - It's A Raid!!!

In 1947-48 CBS honcho Bill Paley performed a major talent raid in Hollywood at the NBC studios 2 blocks away.  In addition to Benny, the other defectors included Amos and Andy (proudly cited in the above ad)  The Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy Show, Red Skelton and The Burns and Allen Show!  This little maneuver would, for the first time, land CBS at the top of the ratings battle.

How'd he do it?  Does the phrase, "You'd sell your own name!" ring a bell?  CBS would buy the stars' names as a property, in exchange for a huge lump sum and a smaller salary.  Since the tax structure on capital gains (the name sale) was a much lower rate than on income (the smaller salary portion of the deal) the talent benefited by double. And there was no concern about NBC doing a reverse raid because now CBS owned these peoples' names! 

**The above image was supplied by my new pal Raul Moreno who has a fantastic page for CBS Columbia Square Alumni.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Monday, May 16, 2011

There Are Passages And Then There Are Passages.

Hollywood has always been famous for the old switcheroo.  They'll buy a novel or a play and by the time the picture comes out, precious little is recognizable from it's source material.  If you're a DeMille you even get to change the bible for dramatic purposes.  Sometimes, they are content to just change the title because the brain trust has decided that story is okay but the name needs a little more zing.

Paramount's 1941 Caribbean potboiler "Bahama Passage" is a case of the latter. 

It may very well  be a case of the former too - I've never read the book.  Visually spectacular it was made in Technicolor on location in Grand Turk, a rarity for the time.  It starred beautiful Madeline Carroll, a mostly shirtless Sterling Hayden and included an 18 year old Dorothy Dandridge in a bit part as a (you guessed it) maid.

If the story had been as compelling as the scenery, it might be more remembered today.  Come to think of it, if they had kept the original title, I'm certain it would have been more remembered today:

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Really Love Your Peaches Wanna Shake Your Tree.

Some people call me a space cowboy....

Natalie Wood

Some call me the gangster of love.....

Joan Crawford and Marlene Dietrich

Monday, May 9, 2011

Hot And Cold Running Girls!

"By A Waterfall" production number from "Footlights Parade", 1933

Fountain pyramid construction.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Do You Like Me, Really, Really 'like' Me?

Philip Mershon.....

By now, I think you know, I have a tour company.  Yep, Felix is the name - Hollywood history is the game.

and his nemisis partner in crime Jennifer Coolidge
I have been learning the harsh reality that it's hard to get visibility and publicity when you can't afford a publicist.  Of course what I can do, as all my friends have told me since starting the company, is throw my self through the gates of social media.  They're all like, "Oooo, you gotta do facebook, you gotta do Twitter, you gotta do Yelp, you gotta do youtube, you gotta do linkedin.

With each 'gotta' I would cringe.  See, I'm basically an old fashioned, non-tech brained, single task kind of fellow.  I mean, I walk and tell interesting stories for a living!  It took  breaking down a lot of resistance just to start this blog.

So I do facebook, and then I do a facebook page for the company and funny thing happens - I'm enjoying it! (Archie Bunker voice in my head, "aw jeez")

Then another funny thing happens.  One day on my news feed I see that Actress and Comedienne Jennifer Coolidge has started a fan page.  The first thing that came to mind was not how ridiculously talented and funny she is with her legion of spot on performances.  No, the first thing that came to mind was that a few years ago I was briefly introduced to her when I was doing some work for a friend who has a marvelous gift/paper/boutique printer shop on Beverly Blvd.  She came into the store and I found her to be lovely and kind.  And with that memory I wanted to support her.

So I go to her page and hit the 'like' button at the top.  Turns out that we were tied in our number of 'likes' that day, and I mentioned that I would race her in the contest of 'likes'.  Of course she's killin' me, I mean, she's a beautiful, funny celebrity; I'm a history storyteller who posts cool pictures.  But just like my first meeting with her she's lovely and kind in cyberspace too.  And she wants to take my tour!

Now that I'm doing facebook, and Twitter, Yelp, youtube and linkedin, I'm having to admit, maybe this social media networking thing isn't so horrible after all.  Maybe I'm a closet cyber guy.  Psych!

So why don't you 'like' me here

And while you're at it go ahead and 'like' Jennifer here .  She's gonna win our race anyway, and that's cool, she's a swell dame!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

You'll Be Dancing On Rooftops Too!

As the song says, "Ain't it funny how time slips away".  I just looked at the calendar and realized that summer is practically upon us!  With that, I just went into the magical cyber world of Brown Paper Tickets, my official ticket seller, and loaded in all tour dates through the end of August.

Now if you already live in SoCal, I can't imagine for the life of me why you haven't taken the tour yet**

If you're planning a visit this summer, well tickets are now available.  With small tour groups like this, don't let 'em get away.  Get yours today!

You can access BPT directly via the link above, or though the official tour website.

** Authors comments do not apply to the many fabulous folks who already have taken the tour.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

I Want To Love....

U.S. title "The Man Without A Country", starred Edward Hearn.  Hearn has 380 title listings on IMDB that span from 1915 to 1955.  After his star had faded (by about 1931) mostly he played uncredited bit parts, but he never stopped working.  Mr. Hearn passed away in 1963 at the age of 74.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Turnabout Is Fun Play.

Miss Katharine Hepburn embraces a masculine attitude:

Meanwhile, Mr. Buster Keaton is in touch with his feminine side:

But the world goes 'round.

Monday, May 2, 2011

One Last Interlude With Shirley

Shirley finally got to appear in one movie. She was a "Pick-A-Little" lady in 1962's "The Music Man" at Warner Bros. Here she talks about movies, beauty, and (of all things) Edna May Oliver!

Edna May Oliver