Saturday, 18 February 2012

Film Stars

The Sepia Saturday meme "Using old images as prompts for new reflections"

This Sepia Saturday prompt reminded me that I had two old Picture Show Annuals "The Year's Best in Pictures".  These I  inherited from my mother and they fascinated me as a child.  As I grew older I thought it out of character she owned them for although she liked films she was not a collector of memorabilia.  When she was in her 80s and clearing out some books she said  "I must give these back to Mabel".  What the!!!  Now consider this, she had borrowed them as a teenager from her friend Mabel Gardner, it must have been in her mind to return them, but war had intervened, she joined the Fire Service and was posted elsewhere in the country. She kept in contact with Mabel but I don't think she had seen her in person for at least 55 years.  We decided, well OK she decided,  that we would go and visit Mabel, even identified the area of the town she lived in as we passed it on one journey to visit my uncle, but my mother's memory deteriorated with dementia and she became frail before we could do it and now sadly neither of them is with us any more.  So here am I now sharing some of its pictures from the golden age of cinema from one of the books.        

'Picture Show' was a weekly magazine containing the latest news of film favourites such as
Clark Gable (1901-1960).  The caption says
"He is known as a man's man. Which means that he has a devastating effect on women. He likes to omit the morning shave on shooting and fishing trips with a couple of other congenial companions of similar tastes. "Parnell" gives him his greatest acting opportunity".  
Guess the smooth cheek was only for the women he had the devastating effect on, and why his frequent co-star and friend Joan Crawford said he was the most masculine man she had ever met, as anyone who has seen him playing Rhett Butler in  'Gone With the Wind' could probably guess. 

I wondered if the dog in this picture was his and discovered that he always seemed to have kept dogs, including dachshunds, hunting dogs and this one, Parnell, who shared photo opportunities on numerous occasions
 (Photo from
such as this picture taken in 1939 which ties in with the date of this Picture Show Annual of
1938 where Greta Garbo (1905-1990) in her role as Camille graces the cover. She looks remarkably cheerful for such a tragic story. Like Clark Gable, Greta Garbo started her career in silent films and her first talkie (Anna Christie) was famously promoted by the strap line "Garbo talks".

Now our host said if we did not have pictures of film stars them people sitting on chairs might be a possibility so here is Joel McCrea (1905-1990) combining both elements and  looking relaxed on a film set,
The caption which the scan has fuzzed says:
"1937 marked the tenth year of film work, which he began as an "extra". It was not until three years later that we saw him in a leading rôle, but since then he has been consistently popular. He is still "un-actorish" likes a simple life on his ranch and outdoor rôles on the screen".
McCrea used to write his occupation as 'rancher' and his hobby as 'acting', and spent much of his later career in cowboy films of which he said:
 "I liked doing comedies, but as I got older I was better suited to do Westerns. Because I think it becomes unattractive for an older fellow trying to look young, falling in love with attractive girls in those kinds of situations...Anyway, I always felt so much more comfortable in the Western. The minute I got a horse and a hat and a pair of boots on, I felt easier. I didn't feel like I was an actor anymore. I felt like I was the guy out there doing it".


Postcardy said...

Parnell looks like he is a good actor too.

Wendy said...

Joel McCrae's thoughts about aging are certainly different from what actors and actresses seem to think today.

Wibbo said...

Great photo of Joel McCrea - his "Foreign Correspondent" is one of my favourite films.

Kristin said...

Too bad you all never got return the memorablia but Mable probably wasn't missing it too much since it had been so long and now you get to share it with us.

Little Nell said...

An enjoyable post and all neatly linked together with the film actor in the chair! Those old annuals look like real treasures.

Linda@VS said...

These are great photos, Joyce. And don't worry about Mabel, she probably had no idea how interesting these pictures would be in this day and age.

Karen S. said...

A man's best friend! Clark was such a handsome hunk! What a great post!

Bob Scotney said...

Parnell is the star for me, though I must confess I remember Joel McCrae better. I like the idea that acting was a hobby to him.

Teresa Wilson Rogers said...

Wonderful pics and posters. Watched Gone with the Wind last night and still love it even though I've seen it many, many times.

Christine H. said...

The story about Mabel is so funny. As for Clark Gable, I used to have a big crush on him, but I'm not sure why.

Linda said...

I liked Joel McCrae in Dead End and Sullivan's Travels. Wise words about finding age-suitable roles.

Mike Brubaker said...

A nice story about your mother and her obligation to Mabel. Even the simplest things can be more than just ephemera. The dog gives Gable a different spin on his image. I wonder if he picked the dog himself or was it just an agent's gimmick?