Wednesday, April 24, 2019

PERRY MASON: LOST AT WARNER BROTHERS

Erle Stanley Gardner
July 17, 1889 - March 11, 1970

Erle Stanley Gardner was a successful lawyer, author of mystery fiction, as well as books on travel and conservation. Along with other legal professionals, he began the Court of Last Resort to assist the wrongly convicted. I highly recommend Dorothy B. Hughes The Case of the Real Perry Mason for Gardner's fascinating life story.

Gardner's most famous protagonist and greatest gift to popular fiction is the lawyer Perry Mason. I love kicking back with one of the Mason page-turners. The energetic and quick-witted lawyer goes beyond the extra mile for his clients. This attitude echoes much of Gardner's thinking that the law has everything on its side in terms of power and resources, and anything a lawyer has to do to assist his client is right. 

The first Mason novel, The Case of the Velvet Claws was published in 1933 followed by The Case of the Sulky Girl, and in 1934 The Case of the Lucky Legs and The Case of the Howling Dog. It was The Case of the Howling Dog that Warner Brothers chose to kick off their series based on the newly popular fictional sleuth. It was the beginning of Gardner's dissatisfaction with adaptations of his novels. Gardner did not have an expectation of slavish devotion to his work but failed to understand why the studio would pay for a property with a built-in fan base and its inherit advertising value and then stray so far from the character.

"Warners proceeded to ruin Perry. It seemed to me had had about an acre of office and Della was so dazzling I couldn't see her for diamonds. Everybody drank a lot."
- Gardner interview with Dwight Whitney, TV Guide, 1961



The Case of the Howling Dog  (1934)

The Case of the Howling Dog was a great success for its author. It is an excellent story that packs a real emotional wallop with an ending that just tip-toed past the enforcement of the Motion Picture Production Code. Alan Crosland, whose greatest successes as a director had been in the 1920s directed a stylish and witty film of Gardner's story. William Rees' cinematography gives us a nice, early noir feeling, especially in the nighttime scenes.

Helen Trenholme, Mary Astor, Warren William

Warren William, the sophisticated star equally at home in drama and comedy, was cast as Perry Mason following his impressive success as a lawyer in The Mouthpiece and his casting as Philo Vance in The Dragon Murder Case. Canadian-born Helen Trenholme played a smart Della Street in one of two pictures she made before returning to the stage. Allen Jenkins played Sergeant Holcomb and Grant Mitchell the D.A. Claude Drumm. Although part of the novel, Perry's legman Paul Drake was not included in the movie.

When Gardner refers to the "acres of office" he is not kidding. The film sets up Perry's law practice as a major industry employing dozens of employees from investigators and clerks to doctors. They are housed in a huge art deco set that looks like a museum.

Perry finds himself with a client in an untenable situation after the murder of her estranged and abusive husband. Perry's original client, Arthur Cartwright disappeared after leaving instructions for Mason to defend Mrs. Foley should the need arise. It is only one of the interesting twists and turns in this story. We see the risks Perry Mason is willing to take for the sake of clients who invariably lie. Gardner always satisfies his audience when the truth is discovered and revealed in dramatic fashion.



The Case of the Curious Bride (1935)

The second outing introduces us to Perry Mason, gourmet and connoisseur of fine wines. This Perry is intimately acquainted with produce retailers, restauranteurs, and chefs. Perry's closest friends form an entourage and include City Coroner Wilbur Strong played by Olin Howland. Allen Jenkins plays investigator "Spudsy" Drake. Spudsy!? Spudsy is one of the "dese" "dem" and "dose" chaps which Jenkins could play in his sleep.

Warren William, Margaret Lindsay

We are also given to understand that Perry is something of a ladies' man when his commandeering of a local restaurant's kitchen is interrupted by the appearance of an attractive young woman played by Margaret Lindsay. She and Perry reminisce about their past before getting down to the reason for her out-of-the-blue visit. Of course, she is lying about many of the facts but Perry has come to expect that from clients. It is little wonder that our Della Street, this time played by Claire Dodd displays more than the usual shades of green. 

Perry's apartment takes the place of the office in the earlier film as the site of elegant opulence. The abode is the perfect site for the gathering of suspects culminating in a stunning reveal, a la Nick Charles from Dashiell Hammett's The Thin Man popular novel and MGM film.

Michael Curtiz had a way with all the genres he directed. He always knew how to entertain and The Case of the Curious Bride, with Gardner's fascinating plot, is a fast-paced and fun film. I could probably get used to this iteration of the character in film, but Warner Brothers was not done with their tinkering.

Note: Future Perry Mason Donald Woods and future Warners star Errol Flynn have roles in this adaptation of another popular Gardner novel.



The Case of the Lucky Legs (1935)

The above advertising should dispell any lingering doubt that Warner Brothers was more interested in Nick Charles than they were in Perry Mason. In this movie, we are introduced to a hungover Perry Mason asleep on his office floor. The office this time around is of a more manageable and realistic size yet its attached washroom is almost as large as the one in his penthouse in the previous film. 

Olin Howland is back, but not as the coroner. He is Perry's personal physician called Dr. Croker. Allen Jenkins' "Spudsy" is still around but considerably dumbed down for comic effect and is now the henpecked husband of Mary Treen.

Genevieve Tobin, Warren William

Genevieve Tobin and Warren William showed themselves to be an excellent comic pairing in the 1933 screwball Goodbye Again, and keep up that standard here as Della Street and Perry Mason. Theirs is a fun-loving and understanding relationship in which every conversation has a punchline.

Porter Hall plays the client this time out; a businessman bilked by a phoney contest racket. Many of the beautifully gammed gals who were scammed are also involved in the murder of the con man. Hall and Warren William make a grand comic tag team. See them also in Satan Met a Lady and Arizona

The script here makes reference to a "curious bride" and a more subtle allusion to William's role as The Match King. Watch for them in this nifty and shifty movie directed by Archie Mayo (Moontide, Angel on My Shoulder, The Petrified Forest). Have we yet found Warner Brothers idea of the perfect Perry Mason? 


The Case of the Velvet Claws (1936)

The movie maintains the interesting Gardner lot involving a blackmailing tabloid editor and the most duplicitous of clients. Olin Howard returns to playing coroner Wilbur Strong. Also back in the mix is Claire Dodd as Della. "Spudsy" Drake is still on the premises, but Allen Jenkins is out and Eddie Acuff is in. Spudsy is still the comic relief and the character returns to the single life. In an act of charity, they give the character a few more brain cells than Jenkins had on his last appearance.

William Clemens directed the movie, and it was right in his wheelhouse with Nancy Drew, Torchy Blane, and The Falcon also coming under his watchful eyes. Highlights include Winifred Shaw as the double-dealing client, a peroxide Carol Hughes as a cutie southern belle, Ruth Robinson as a housekeeper who is more than she appears, and Clara Blandick as a judge.

Claire Dodd, Warren William, Eddie Acuff

The script also includes a lot of silliness. Perry and Della get married! Della has persuaded her husband to give up the practice of criminal law! When the honeymoon is interrupted by a murder case, Della swings between being her usual competent and understand self to weeping on the sofa and seeking an annulment. Ah, me. 

"What a honeymoon; murder, influenza, and looming annulment!"
- Perry Mason

Warren William, Winifred Shaw

Exciting sequences in interesting settings are interrupted for Perry to sneeze. He is catching a cold which he exaggerates to influenza. By the dramatic reveal, everybody in the cast is sneezing. Is this really how Warner Brothers see Perry Mason? They monkeyed around with the character to the extent that you didn't know what to expect from picture to picture, except that it wasn't going to be Perry Mason.

Stage Struck filmed after The Case of the Velvet Claws was the movie with which Warren William finished out his Warner Brothers contract. It was obvious at this time that dissatisfaction between the studio and the star went both ways. If the Mason series were to continue, there would be a new Perry.



The Case of the Black Cat (1936)

Ricardo Cortez had recently signed with the studio and was pegged to bring the crusading attorney to the screen. This Perry Mason was not a Nick Charles knock-off, but the determined, smart, and slightly bemused professional who went the extra mile for his clients. This is the Perry Mason who likes to stir things up and use the authority of the law to help those caught in the web of red tape. 

Gardner's popular novel The Case of the Caretaker's Cat was retitled The Case of the Black Cat, I should imagine for the sake of mysteriousness. However, Clinker, the cat in the story looked to me like a run-of-the-mill tabby. Nonetheless, the duplicitous family of crotchety millionaire Peter Laxter played by Harry Davenport is on display with all of their greed and murderous intent.

Nedda Harrigan, Ricardo Cortez, Garry Owen

June Travis, who spent only a few years at Warners before leaving Hollywood for marriage, is an attractive and competent Della Street. She and the boss are not married (forget that last movie, folks) but do engage in some adorable flirting. "Spudsy" is gone! He is replaced by - here's an idea! - investigator Paul Drake played by Garry Owen. The character is still played for laughs by displaying a lack of social graces and a habit for opening his mouth at the wrong time. Guy Usher plays District Attorney Hamilton Burger in a gruff, let's-get-Mason manner. 

Ricardo Cortez, June Travis, Clinker

Alan Crosland (The Case of the Howling Dog) was directing when he lost his life in an automobile accident and was replaced by William McGann, Oscar-winning Effects Artist for A Stolen Life. The film moves briskly and holds your attention due to the palette cleansing performance of Ricardo Cortez. I'd say things were looking up for the series. I don't know what Warner Brothers thought, but Cortez thought there were greener and more lucrative pastures elsewhere (The Magnificent Heel, The Life and Films of Ricardo Cortez by Dan Van Neste). Here we go again!



The Case of the Stuttering Bishop (1937)

Manitoba-born Donald Woods becomes the first, but not the last Canadian actor to play Perry Mason in 1937s The Case of the Stuttering Bishop directed by B mystery champ William Clemens (The Case of the Velvet Claws). The opening credits and the publicity material don't mention Perry Mason. It is as if they are trying to slip one over on the public. I think they should have been pleased.

Joseph Crehan, Ann Dvorak, Donald Woods
Paul, Della, Perry

It took me the entire movie to get used to Donald Woods moustache, but his work as the crusading lawyer felt natural. He even did the hands in pockets while pacing his office or the courtroom attitude which can be found in Gardner's novels. This Perry seemed the right age and the right physicality. He's not a habitual souse, and he's not a pretentious gourmet. Ann Dvorak played Della Street. I don't think the studio really knew what to do with that talented girl. She had the chops to make Della interesting, plus the personality to blow everyone else off the screen if she wanted.

Joseph Crehan is on board as investigator Paul Drake, no longer comic relief, but a professional on the level of Mason with the gravitas of being older than his employer. Tom Kennedy handles the detective as clown bit. He's a hotel dick of halting mental process and over-baked enthusiasms. He was doing the same thing for the Torchy Blane series as Gahagan. Frank Faylen was around as one of the Drake Detective Agency lads, and I couldn't help but think he would have been an excellent Drake from the beginning of the series.

Donald Woods, Craig Reynolds

Charles C. Wilson was the fuming Hamilton Burger, pronounced with a soft "g", and I found that a more difficult adjustment than Woods' moustache. Gardner's tale of a blackmail racket, missing heirs, and international witnesses played out at a nice, interesting pace. Perry kept almost a half a step ahead of the law and the crooks leading to an exciting courtroom reveal. Very satisfactory. 

I suppose it is easy to understand why Warner Brothers wanted to copy the "Thin Man" formula as most studios did try to varying degrees of success. However, Perry Mason was popular in his own right and when they finally got around to following Gardner's template, they let Perry faded away from the big screen. 


Thoughts:

Warner's contractee Craig Reynolds appears in three of the Mason features. If some bright executive had kept his eyes open back when they purchased Erle Stanley Gardner's stories, they might have seen that the attractive and versatile actor would have been perfect for the role of Perry Mason. 

They could add my idea of Frank Faylen for Paul Drake, and maybe give Jane Wyman's career a leg-up as Della. Only, for the love of Heaven, no "Spudsy!"


Trivia:

Tim Considine, Russ Conway, Tommy Kirk

Mason #3, Donald Woods' younger brother was actor Russ Conway, Fenton Hardy on the Disney Hardy Boys series. They were born Ralph and Russell Zink in Brandon, Manitoba.












36 comments:

  1. I never saw any of the old MASON movies but I watched the show in reruns from 1983-88. RAYMOND BURR, a great and likable actor. The very attractive BARBARA HALE, WILLIAM TALMAN, RAY COLLINS & WILLIAM HOPPER were the rest of the cast. I found out in 1985 that Hopper was the son of HEDDA HOPPER. That was the same year that the PERRY MASON movies began airing with Raymond & Barbara. The first 9 had WILLIAM KATT(the real-life son of Barbara)as PAUL DRAKE, JR. The next 17 had WILLIAM R. MOSES as KEN MALANSKY. So it went WILLIAM HOPPER, WILLIAM KATT & WILLIAM R, MOSES!

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    1. The Perry Mason crew had good luck with their sweet Williams.

      I am a huge fan of the books and television series. It took years of gifts for birthdays and Christmases, but eventually I came to own all of the TV series on DVD. Once I get started talking about them, I tend to go on forever. And so it was with the first screen adaptions.

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  2. I can understand why Erle Stanley Gardner was somewhat unhappy with Warner Bros.' Perry Mason movies. The early ones really strayed from the novels! I can enjoy the first few entries in the series, but only if I pretend it isn't Perry Mason. Now the last few movies I think Warner Bros. finally got things right. Okay, they are still a bit different from the novels and the later TV series, but I can accept them as genuinely Perry Mason. I have to agree Frank Faylen would have made a great Paul Drake!

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    1. Indeed. We get what the studio was trying to do, but the question remains "why?" The right approach would have given them success perhaps on a par with The Thin Man, albeit from their B unit.

      What great retro movies we could make!

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  3. The TV show had great guest stars including many character actors. There were JULIE ADAMS, CONSTANCE FORD, CONSTANCE TOWERS, MARGARET OBRIEN & ANGIE DICKINSON. Also R.G. ARMSTRONG, PETER BRECK, MIKE CONNORS & WALTER PIDGEON. There was also JOHN LARKIN who had played PERRY MASON on the radio show. I believe he did 2 or 3 episodes of the show. He is best known as playing MIKE CARR on the soap opera/mystery THE EDGE OF NIGHT. I read that he left EDGE in 1961(before my time). Thanks for a great post!

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    1. A great deal of the fun I get out of watching Perry Mason is recognizing people I didn't recognize when I was younger, or reconnecting with favourites.

      I loved The Edge of Night, but only have vague memories of John Larkin in the role. I remember both Laurence Hugo and Forrest Compton quite well as Mike.

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  4. I looked up the credits of JOHN LARKIN on imdb and it had 4 Perry Mason episodes. Also I forget that Mikes last name on EDGE was spelled KARR. Mr. Larkin guest starred on GUNSMOKE & BONANZA. Also he did a DISNEY movie THOSE CALLAWAYS with BRIAN KEITH & VERA MILES. LINDA EVANS played his daughter in that movie. (Later that year YHE BIG VALLEY came on with Linda as AUDRA BARKLEY.)

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    1. Ah, The Big Valley is another favourite of mine. And Those Calloways is a charming movie. It featured Max Steiner's last film score.

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  5. Thanks for this exploration of the various Perry Masons. I didn't realize there were so many P. Masons, nor did I realize how far Warner Bros. had wandered from the source material.

    I hope you'll be entering this essay in the CMBA Awards this year.

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    1. Oh. You surprised me with that last comment. I think I shall have to do so now. Thank you.

      The world is full of Perry Mason fans and we probably all share a mild hint ob obsessiveness.

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  6. WILLIAM TALMAN(another WILLIAM!) played HAMILTON BURGER, who was always on the other side of Perry, of course. In 1950 he was in THE KID FROM TEXAS with AUDIE MURPHY as BILLY THE KID, which was the first western Audie did. Audie was a natural actor and what a cutie! The last acting Mr. Talman did was THE BALLAD OF JOSIE with DORIS DAY, PETER GRAVES, PAUL FIX, GEORGE KENNEDY & ANDY DEVINE. What a cast! Also William was, as they used to say, a tall drink of water!

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    1. William Talman was such an interesting actor. One of his most famous film noir villains is in The Hitch-Hiker directed by Ida Lupino. Talman and Lupino shared a February 15th birthday, with Bill being three years older.

      The public service announcement he made against smoking and cancer, which killed him, is heartbreaking and, I think, very brave.

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    2. IDA LUPINO had three ex-husbands, LOUIS HAYWARD, COLLIER YOUNG, & HOWARD DUFF. Collier Young created IRONSIDE which starred RAYMOND BURR as ROBERT T. IRONSIDE , a wheelchair-bound cop. He had been the POLICE CHIEF then he got to be a consultant after he became paralyzed after a shooting. So Raymond got to play PERRY for 9 seasons and IRONSIDE for 8 seasons. Also I looked up The Hitch-Hiker and IDA and her husband COLLIER wrote it.

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    3. Young and Lupino made a terrific creative team. Maybe they shouldn't have made The Bigamist, as Collier Young married co-star Joan Fontaine after he and Ida split.

      The pilot for Ironside is to this day one of my favourite TV movies, and the series one I love as much as Perry Mason. Two definite high points in Raymond Burr's most interesting career.

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    4. I like Ironside but to me Raymond played Ironside but IS Perry Mason. As I mentioned earlier there were the Perry Mason reunion TV-movies with him and BARBARA HALE.(26 of them). There was also an Ironside reunion movie in MAY 1993 with all the cast-DON GALLOWAY, DON MITCHELL, and both BARBARA ANDERSON & ELIZABETH BAUR. Barbara had played Eve the first 4 years and then Elizabeth played Fran the next 4 years. Also I found Raymond to be quite an attractive man. Even when he came back for the Perry movies from 1985-93 and had gained more weight he was still attractive and appealing. He turned 68 in 1985. Being the Perry movies were in color you could see THOSE BLUE EYES. He also had a nice smile and dimples.

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    5. Also he looked good with his beard in the PERRY movies. It was always neat and well trimmed.

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    6. I was very pleased, as a fan, that both Eve and Fran were featured in The Return of Ironside. I wish they had focused more on our favourite characters, but the thought that Raymond Burr wanted one more time with his friends from the show is very touching. In 1983 Raymond Burr, Don Galloway and Don Mitchell appeared on stage here in Toronto in a thriller called Underground. It was set on a subway train. My folks bought me tickets for the play. What a thrill!

      I enjoy those Perry Mason TV movies. They are the only thing that can make me nostalgic for the 1980s!



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    7. Speaking of Ironside BARBARA ANDERSON(Eve) did some episodes of MISSION IMPOSSIBLE as a new character(Mimi Davis) while LYNDA DAY GEORGE (Lisa Casey) was on maternity leave. Barbara was nominated for 3 Emmys for Ironside and won the first year. She was nominated every year but her last year on the show. If someone was talking about RAYMOND BURR and said Raymond and Barbara people would, of course, think of Miss Hale on PERRY MASON but they could be talking about Miss Anderson on IRONSIDE. Both Barbaras got to be on TV GUIDE different times with Raymond.

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    8. Funnily enough, I have been catching Mission Impossible on a local television station and they have just reached the point where Casey is mentioned, but Mimi takes the lead on the assignment.

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  7. I think the series entry THE CASE OF THE HOWLING DOG was the spur to Bette Davis' first revolt at the Warners studio. As I recall, she had received critical acclaim for "Of Human Bondage" and "Dangerous," and the studio then wanted to stick her into this B-level programmer, so she rebelled and was put on suspension. Warners doesn't seem to have had the luck with its Mason series that MGM had with the Thin Man; Warren William basically played the role as a joke. From what you say, it seems the series didn't really get serious until Donald Woods took on the role, and by then the studio had lost interest. Which seems too bad, as Mason was an interesting character. I remember the 1950s-60s TV version as quite dramatic (especially its opening theme music, which always sounded so sinister to me).

    BTW, I love your line, "It took me the entire movie to get used to Donald Woods moustache." Also that fascinating bit, that he and his brother were originally named Zink - I keep thinking what might have happened if they decided to do a double act billed as the Zink Brothers!

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    1. The Case of the Howling Dog is excellent, but it is an excellent B movie. Bette was right to try to protect her career at this point.

      I'm glad The Lone Wolf series came along giving Warren William a chance to cut his own place out in the movie detective universe. His nonchalant humour worked well in the role.

      Ha! I love the way your mind works. The Zink Brothers and the Mystery at Applegate Farm!

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  8. I looked up MARGARET LINDSAYS name the other day to see if I had seen her in anything. (Her name & picture is here because she was in the second PERRY movie.) She was in PLEASE DONT EAT THE DAISIES which starred DORIS DAY and she played the head nurse in TAMMY AND THE DOCTOR with SANDRA DEE. I also read that she had a sister who went by the stage name of JUNE GILBERT. June has three credits on imdb. June was married to WILLIAM HOPPER who played PAUL DRAKE on PERRY MASON. They were married from 1940 until their divorce in 1959.(Hopper was married to his second wife Jan from 1959 until his passing in 1970.) So Margaret was in a Perry movie with WARREN WILLIAM. Later her brother-in-law HOPPER got to be Paul Drake. William Hopper and his wife June got divorced two years after PERRY MASON came on.

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  9. I want to correct a mistake. Margaret Lindsays sister was JANE GILBERT(not June). Also William & Jane had a daughter Joan in 1947. So there was his wife Jane and daughter Joan. Then later his second wife Jan. Like I stated earlier there were WILLIAM HOPPER, WILLIAM KATT & WILLIAM R. MOSES. There was WILLIAM TALMAN as HAMILTON BURGER so that's four. If you go back to the old movies there is WARREN WILLIAM as Perry. Even though that was his last name it is WILLIAM.

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    1. My goodness, we have name trivia for days! I'll throw in a contribution. Don Galloway was married twice, and both wives were named Linda.

      Margaret Lindsay was a leading lady at Warner Brothers in the 1930s. She appeared in four movies with James Cagney, and the studio kept her very busy.

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  10. This is a hugely entertaining post! I remember the first time I saw CASE OF THE CURIOUS BRIDE and encountered Spudsy Drake. Ouch! Where’s William Hopper when you need him? Also, while I think Warren William makes a fine Philo Drake, he’s all wrong as Perry. Ditto for Donald Woods. So glad the TV show came along later.

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    1. Thank you so much!

      We are all lucky that the TV series was made with the co-operation and contributions of Erle Stanley Gardner. All of the titles Warners adapted were later done again on TV. In the case of The Case of the Velvet Claws, I think they gave it a couple of go-rounds.

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  11. KEN KERCHEVAL(1935-2019), best known as CLIFF BARNES on the hit show DALLAS, was in a PERRY MASON TV-Movie, THE CASE OF THE DEFIANT DAUGHTER. He was the underdog on DALLAS. He was great as Cliff who started out as a lawyer. Pam, the sister of Cliff, married Bobby, the brother of J.R. EWING(LARRY HAGMAN). HAGMAN & KERCHEVAL were the only two who were on the show for the entire run. Ken also guest starred on DIAGNOSIS MURDER 4 times. (EARLIER he was in DIAGNOSIS OF MURDER, a TV-Movie that had DR. MARK SLOAN before the show was on.) I also remember him from an episode of IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT where he played a judge that was not a credit to his profession. It was kind of a mini-reunion of DALLAS because his wife was played by LOIS CHILES who had played HOLLY HARWOOD and the episode was directed by LARRY HAGMAN! I know you didn't watch DALLAS but Ken was in 3 daytime soap operas earlier. Did you see any of them? I believe they were SEARCH FOR TOMORROW, THE SECRET STORM and HOW TO SURVIVE A MARRIAGE. I am a big fan of both Ken and Larry. Ken did TV, movies and BROADWAY. He also did game shows and in 1986, I think, he hosted an Easter Parade on CBS with Susan Howard that Cliff was briefly paired up with her character DONNA CULVER KREBBS on DALLAS. Ken was nominated for 6 SOAP OPERA DIGEST Awards and won one.

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    1. I did watch one season of Dallas, and for me at the time it was fun to see Ken Kercheval, whom I remembered from The Secret Storm even though I was a "tweener" at the time. How to Survive a Marriage was a really interesting show (even to a teenager), and deserved a longer run.

      Ken's two Perry Mason movies, and those Diagnosis Murder episodes really tie him to this discussion of mystery stories. Also, he was a very good and intriguing actor; always a joy to watch.

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  12. WARREN WILLIAM was in IMITATION OF LIFE with CLAUDETTE COLBERT and he was also in a movie that you really like-LADY FOR A DAY. I saw the remakes-IMITATION OF LIFE with LANA TURNER and JOHN GAVIN(talk about glamour!) and POCKETFUL OF MIRACLES that I mentioned before with GLENN FORD & BETTE DAVIS. IMITATION OF LIFE was written by FANNIE HURST(another successful female author). Speaking of GLENN FORD today (May 1) he would have been 103. He was born in 1916-the same year that KIRK DOUGLAS and OLIVIA DE HAVILLAND were.

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    1. My crush on Warren William seems to bother the hubby who insists on calling him Warren Williams.

      We are lucky that Olivia and Kirk are still around to know how much they are appreciated by fans. I hope Glenn Ford knew some of that prior to his passing.

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  13. Also GLENN FORD has a connection to mystery/suspense movies. I remember when you mentioned your favorite GLENN movies but I don't remember the name of the one where he played a cop and GLORIA GRAHAME was in it. Like the actors who played PERRY MASON, GLENN also played a lawyer in TRIAL(I believe it was on your list too.)

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    1. The movie whose title escapes you is The Big Heat. Yes, Trial was on my list. When I first saw it as a teenager, it influenced my attitude toward politics.

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  14. Speaking of lawyers WALTER MATTHAU played lawyer HARMON COBB in 3 CBS Movies. THE INCIDENT and the others were AGAINST HER WILL, AN INCIDENT IN BALTIMORE and INCIDENT IN A SMALL TOWN. They aired in the early 90s and also starred HARRY MORGAN as JUDGE STODDARD BELL. SUSAN BLAKELY & ARIANA RICHARDS were in the first two as HARMONS daughter-in-law and granddaughter. STEPHANIE ZIMBALIST was in the last one as the daughter of the judge. Speaking of Miss Zimbalist do you know much of her dads work? I really like EFRAIM in the MURDER, SHE WROTE episode with DALE ROBERTSON, MARTIN MILNER, JANE GREER, & RICHARD ROUNDTREE. I also remember him from episodes of HOTEL as the brother-in-law of VICTORIA CABOT(ANNE BAXTER).

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    1. I remember those Matthau TV movies. They were excellent.

      I used to watch Efrem Zimbalist Jr. on The FBI, and my mom was a fan of 77 Sunset Strip. That's a classic show I should catch sometime. I really get a kick out of Zimbalist as Dandy Jim Buckley in guest appearances on Maverick. He looks like he's having so much fun.

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  15. I misspelled a name. It is EFREM ZIMBALIST. He was in a 2-hour LOVE BOAT with DONNA REED. Donna has a connection with KEN KERCHEVAL. She replaced BARBARA BEL GEDDES on a season of DALLAS as matriarch MISS ELLIE. Donna took over when Ellie came back from her honeymoon with Clayton (HOWARD KEEL). This was 1984-85 and then Barbara came back.

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    1. I remember the legal issues surrounding Donna Reed's arrival and departure from Dallas. I think the producers treated her horribly.

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THE JANET LEIGH BLOGATHON: Columbo, Forgotten Lady (1975)

Michaela of Love Letters to Old Hollywood is hosting a blogathon tribute to lovely Janet Leigh. Click HERE to enjoy the contributions....