Hollywood Hist-o-Rama (TV Series 1961– ) Poster

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1961
Carole Lombard
Born Jane Alice Peters, Carole Lombard learned from an early age that movie success was dependent upon box office. She got her first screen credit at age 12, but began her screen acting career in earnest as one of Mack Sennett's bathing beauties after finishing school four years later. As Carole was making a name for herself in the early 1930's, she was cast opposite some of Hollywood's A-list leading men, which would catapult her into the ranks of an A-lister. One of those leading men was 'Clark Gable'. Although having made only one picture together, Gable and Lombard would extend their ...
 
1961
Errol Flynn
A nearly breathless off-screen narrator and still photographs arranged chronologically take us through the life and career of Errol Flynn (1909-1959). This short film presents him as virile, athletic, and adventurous off screen as well as on. After his youth in Australia and the South Seas, a London screen test sends him to Hollywood. "Captain Blood" is his breakthrough role followed by other swashbuckling parts, often in movies with Olivia de Havilland and Alan Hale. His early death, the narrative suggests, cements his reputation as a Hollywood matinée idol.
 
1961
Fred MacMurray
A brief biography of actor Fred MacMurray: segments include his happy childhood, being discovered by a Broadway group called the California Collegians, and constantly switching between comedic and dramatic roles during his film career.
 
1961
Gloria Swanson
A brief biography of actress Gloria Swanson.
 
1961
Greer Garson
Born in Ireland, Greer Garson, known for her screen portrayals of beautiful yet extremely kind and humanistic characters, began her acting career on the London stage, where she was noticed by Louis B. Mayer who signed her to a Hollywood contract. Mayer insisted she not appear in any movie, but the right movie, hence the reason she sat idle for the first year of her contract until the movie Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939) came along. A string of successful movies followed, including Blossoms in the Dust (1941), which would team her for the first time with who would become her frequent leading man, Walter Pidgeon. A subsequent collaboration with Pidgeon would become...
 
1961
James Cagney
James Cagney began his show business career as a dancer. But the movie The Public Enemy (1931) and its famous grapefruit scene with co-star Mae Clarke made Cagney a star as a tough guy women loved and men wanted to emulate. Despite his tough guy screen persona, Cagney was a soft spoken man who prided himself on keeping in good dancing shape. It would come in handy for his second Oscar nominated role as George M. Cohan in Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942), a role which was offered to him directly by the Cohan family and for which he did win the Oscar.
 
1961
John Wayne
The film uses an off-screen narrator and still photographs to breeze through John Wayne's film career. First, he's an extra after playing guard for USC's football team; Raoul Walsh gives him his first screen test and his breakthrough role is in John Ford's "Stagecoach." Then, we get a rapid recitation of starring roles along with photos of him with some of his co-stars -- in Westerns, war films, costume dramas, and a few comedies. By the early 1960's Wayne is an American icon, one of movies' biggest stars.
 
1961
Myrna Loy
Using photographs and an off-screen narrator, this breezy biography takes us quickly through Myrna Loy's film career and ends with a salute to her charity work for the United Nations and on behalf of children. She grows up on a Montana ranch and goes to private high school and art school in Los Angeles. Rudolph Valentino and his wife become her patrons (she's a sculptor) then help get her first movie roles. She's soon cast as a vamp, changes studios a couple of times, stars with Hollywood's most famous leading men, and plays a wife in her most enduring roles, as Nora ...
 
1961
Spencer Tracy
A brief biography of actor Spencer Tracy.
 
1961
Tom Mix
A look at the life and careers of Tom Mix (1880-1940), daredevil and Western-movie action star.
 
1961
W.C. Fields
Born William Claude Dukenfield, W.C. Fields started his professional career as a juggler, working the vaudeville circuit. But his ad-libbed comments on stage made him change the focus of his act to comedy. He starred on the Ziegfeld Follies on Broadway for nine years before moving onto the silver screen. Despite initially working in D.W. Griffith movies, it was his roles in Mack Sennett comedies that Fields crafted the on-screen persona for which he is now known, which included mastering the art of physical comedy. He transferred his love of comedy from what is seen on the screen to what happened on set...
 
1961
William Powell
This entry in the Hollywood Hist-o-Rama series offers a brief biography of actor William Powell using voice-over narration and photos, including stills from films from throughout his career.
 
1962
Basil Rathbone
Although neither his parents were actors, Basil Rathbone followed in the footsteps of some of his relatives by going into the acting profession. He originally started his acting career on the stage, most notably in Shakespearean plays both in London and on Broadway. He made the transition to acting in motion pictures easily. He specialized in playing dark characters, probably because of the piercing nature of his eyes. While in Hollywood, he and his wife were renowned for hosting lavish parties. After playing the heavy for years, he had what is arguably his most famous role, that ...
 
1962
Cecil B. DeMille
His father being both a playwright and a deeply religious man would greatly influence the career of Cecil B. DeMille. Growing up in Ethel Lake, New Jersey, Cecil and his brother William would often be told bible stories as they grew up. He is considered a movie making pioneer, creating the Famous Players Corporation, which is better known today as Paramount Pictures and where he made his first motion picture. DeMille helped bridge the gap between the Broadway community and Hollywood, and helped develop what is the star system in Hollywood. Under that star system, DeMille had his ...
 
1962
Claudette Colbert
Born in Paris, actress Claudette Colbert initially wanted to be a fashion designer. But after a move to the United States and a chance part in a Broadway play, her career path changed. She was cast as the female lead in Paramount Pictures' first ever talkie The Hole in the Wall (1929), which was only her second movie. Despite being cast alongside some of the most sought after leading men of the early 1930's, Claudette's roles were primarily overshadowed by her co-stars. Upon deciding to return to Broadway due to her lack of screen success, the studio began to reinvent her persona as the siren, which paid ...
 
1962
Fred Astaire
Brief biography of Fred Astaire, starting with his child stardom dancing with his sister Adele. After her marriage, he has one turn on Broadway before Hollywood hires him. After a musical with Joan Crawford, he's paired with Ginger Rogers. Their 1930's hit machine is marked by hard work, lots of rehearsal, and self-disciplined, combined with Fred's cheery good humor. In the 1940's, he has a series of co-stars; then follows an Academy Award, a short-lived retirement, success with television, and a few dramatic roles.
 
1962
Gregory Peck
A brief biography of Gregory Peck, including his early childhood ambitions of becoming a shipbuilder, his time in college as an athlete and a pre-medical student, his early theater work, and the films that made him a star.
 
1962
Harold Lloyd
An off-screen narrator breezes through Harold Lloyd's life as a performer, with still photographs and movie clips as illustration. He goes from the Midwest to San Diego, where he tries character parts on stage. Then to Los Angeles, where, as a movie extra, he meets Hal Roach. He creates the character of Lonesome Luke, and then his Everyman with spec-less glasses. According to this biopic, he retires at the height of success, lured back a years later for one more triumph.
 
1962
Janet Gaynor
Born Laura Gaynor, Janet Gaynor believed since she was a young child that riches and fame were to come her way. Her predetermination seemed to be true as she landed a job as an extra within a week of arriving in Hollywood. She was quickly noticed on the studio lot, which led to a short interview, a short screen test, and the second leading part in a movie. Her rise to stardom was quick, most notably with the presentation of the Academy Awards, being awarded the first ever Best Actress Oscar for a trio of film roles, and her frequent on-screen pairing with Charles Farrell, which the public ...
 
1962
Jean Harlow
Born Harlean Carpentier, Jean Harlow's unglamorous early life did not telegraph what was to come. She was a superstitious woman, who among other things, always sported a trademark lucky ankle bracelet. Her early movie work, which she did as a lark, was in Hal Roach comedies. A chance meeting with Howard Hughes marked a change in her movie career as he cast her in her first credited role in Hell's Angels (1930). Her screen stardom quickly rose, being cast in a quick succession of popular movies, including Platinum Blonde (1931), to which she would be forever tied in the eyes of the movie going public for her striking hair. Many consider her ...
 
1962
Jeanette MacDonald
Jeanette MacDonald's film career is probably best known for her lyrical singing voice. She seemed destined for stardom, even at an early age, as the camera loved her. She started her professional career on Broadway in musical theater. In such productions, she was known primarily as a dancer. She was quickly lured to Hollywood in the early talkie era to star in movie musicals. Her role in The Lottery Bride (1930) would lead to a meeting with opera star Lily Pons, the two would would become friends with and admirers of each other. MGM was the studio which cast her with the person with who she would be forever linked: Nelson Eddy. ...
 
1962
Joan Crawford
The glamorous face that the public now knows of Joan Crawford took quite the evolution from her movie career beginnings, where she played a variety of roles, both glamorous and non-glamorous. Before starting her movie career, she worked on Broadway, where she was noticed by movie producers and offered the part of Rose-Marie (1928). In the mid-1930's when her career had already taken off, she co-starred in a number of movies with Franchot Tone, with who she would enter into a brief marriage. The glamorous Joan Crawford would eventually emerge in the movie Susan and God (1940). That movie would lead to her Oscar winning performance...
 
1962
John Barrymore
A brief biography of actor John Barrymore.
 
1962
John Garfield
A brief biography of actor John Garfield which talks about his childhood poverty, his start in Broadway, his switch to Hollywood, his battle with depression, and his death.
 
1962
Judy Garland
A brief biography of actress Judy Garland.
 
1962
Katharine Hepburn
Starts with childhood photographs of Miss Hepburn and an off-screen narrator's stories of her early abilities to entertain. He then references a brief period in New York when her prickly personality may have cost a job or two, then it's on to Broadway stardom, a contract with RKO, taking Hollywood by storm with unconventional behavior, and winning two Oscars in her first four film roles. The narrator calls her Hollywood's favorite enigma.
 
1962
Leslie Howard
Photographic stills and an off-screen narrator describe the movie career of English-born Leslie Howard (1893-1943), a stage actor until his first screen appearance at 37. His breakthrough role was "Smiling Through," with Norma Shearer. He continued to go back and forth from Hollywood to England and to work on stage as well as in films - acting, producing, and directing. His female co-stars included several in their first major role. He died over the Bay of Biscayne, his plane shot down by Germans who thought Churchill was on board. His signature style was brains over ...
 
1962
Lionel Barrymore
The eldest of three famous acting siblings, Lionel Barrymore started his professional career in the theater, but began acting in movies through a connection with director D.W. Griffith. He made the permanent move from New York to Hollywood when he realized he was more dedicated to film acting. He appeared on screen with his siblings John Barrymore and Ethel Barrymore only twice, with John in _Grand Hotel (1932)_ and with both in Rasputin and the Empress (1932). Although most noted as an actor, he also made movie contributions in the areas of writing and directing. Another noted role was on radio where he recreated the role of Ebeneezer Scrooge for ...
 
1962
Marlene Dietrich
Known for her beautiful legs, Marlene Dietrich did not choose acting as a first choice of career, but rather concert violinist. Over-practicing resulted in a wrist injury which would deny that first choice. She instead turned to musical theater. Her first international movie hit was The Blue Angel (1930), the costumes for which showed off those famous legs. She and her Blue Angel director Josef von Sternberg moved to Hollywood to collaborate on their next movie, Morocco (1930), which continued her meteoric rise in popularity in America. The studio capitalized on this popularity by casting her in a quick succession of movies, which ...
 
1962
Marx Brothers
A brief profile of the comedy troupe the Marx Brothers, including their origins as classical music performers, their days as stage actors, their break into the movies, and their individual careers after they split up.
 
1962
Maurice Chevalier
Brief biography of actor Maurice Chevalier, detailing his early years as a carpenter, his beginnings in the Paris nightclub circuit, his popularity in America, and the interruptions in his career caused by both World Wars.
 
1962
Norma Shearer
Born in Montréal, Québec, Canada, Norma Shearer was known as an actress with a determined will, common sense and beauty, who easily spanned both the silent and talkie eras. She left the comforts of her middle class upbringing to endure the struggles of an often unemployed actress in her early career, taking jobs as extras or in silly bit roles solely to make a living. Although he had noticed her years earlier, Irving Thalberg, when he became production head at M-G-M, took Norma on the road to becoming a star with her first long term studio contract. Perhaps her most well known role occurred in ...
 
1962
Paul Muni
Paul Muni is an actor most known for being able to embody his characters physically as he is almost unrecognizable from role to role. His characters also spanned the ages from young men to old men. Warner Bros. signed him to a contract after the success of his first big role in Scarface (1932). To capitalize on that success, most of Muni's early roles were as tough guys. His portrayals of characters who aged from young to old men are most widely known in The Story of Louis Pasteur (1936) and The Life of Emile Zola (1937), the former which would earn him a Best Actor Oscar. His diverse roles would have him play an East Asian (The Good Earth (1937)) and a Mexican president (Juarez (1939)...
 
1962
Rita Hayworth
Born Rita Cansino in New York, Irish-Latin Rita Hayworth came from show business roots with an actor mother and dancer father. She studied both acting and dancing in her younger years, favoring dancing which provided more opportunity. It was her dancing that got her initially noticed by movie studios. Being cast as nothing more than the eye catching dancer in bit roles, Rita started her rise to stardom by adopting her mother's family name, changing studios and focusing on being a dramatic actress. Once becoming a star, she was able to combine her acting with singing and dancing in...
 
1962
Robert Taylor
Robert Taylor is known as an actor for his consistency. His global persona belies the fact of being a mid-westerner, born Spangler Arlington Brugh in Nebraska. He got his entertainment start singing in a small ensemble - a trio - in college in Nebraska, they who performed on the local radio. Taylor disbanded the trio to follow his music teacher to California, where he was spotted by a studio representative which led to his start in movies. His starring role in Camille (1936) opposite Greta Garbo shot him quickly to stardom. He starred in one success after another with other A list movie stars. The onset ...
 
1962
Ronald Colman
A brief biography of actor Ronald Colman.
 
1962
Tyrone Power
Tyrone Power is best remembered as a handsome leading man of Hollywood movies, that good looks which he possessed since childhood. He came by his acting naturally as the son of British stage legend Tyrone Power Sr., with who he acted on stage as early as age seven. He worked as a theater usher in Cincinnati growing up, but the acting bug brought him back to Hollywood. The Power name initially got him through casting doors, which closed upon his father's passing in 1931. Those casting doors were reopened specifically by Darryl F. Zanuck, which led to a long term contract with 20th Century Fox, and movie stardom....
 
1962
Victor McLaglen
Born in England the son of a clergyman, Victor McLaglen traveled the world as a young man, serving in the military, sailing the south seas, boxing, and serving as a physical instructor to a rajah. When he returned to England following WWI a twice decorated soldier, he was noticed by a director who cast him in the lead of The Call of the Road (1920). Within a few short years, he was a top box office draw in his homeland. Working on an American produced British movie was his stepping stone to Hollywood. His ruggedness was different than the typical Hollywood leading man, which made him stand out and had him ...
 

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