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HOLLYWOOD AT PLAY Authors Mary Mallory and Stephen X. Sylvester Visit June 17 & 18!

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HOLLYWOOD AT PLAY Authors Mary Mallory and Stephen X. Sylvester Visit June 17 & 18!

Postby Sue Sue Applegate » June 14th, 2017, 1:37 pm

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MARY MALLORY IS COMING TO THE SILVER SCREEN OASIS WITH STEPHEN X. SYLVESTER, JUNE 17-18 TO DISCUSS HOLLYWOOD AT PLAY! Her co-author, Stephen Sylvester, author of MGM: HOLLYWOODS GREATEST BACKLOT, has a book out in the fall, TWENTIETH CENTURY-FOX: A CENTURY OF ENTERTAINMENT, is also scheduled to appear.


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Mary Mallory is a film historian, photograph archivist, and researcher, focusing on Los Angeles and early film history. She writes theatre reviews for "The Tolucan Times" and blogs for the "LA Daily Mirror." Mallory served on Hollywood Heritage, Inc.'s Board of Directors, and acts as a docent for the Hollywood Heritage Museum. As a member of the Studio City Neighborhood Council, she produced the events, "Mack Sennett and the Birth of Studio City," "80th Anniversary of Republic Pictures," and "50th Anniversary Celebration of CBS Radford Studios," and helped produce the 75th Anniversary Celebration of Republic Pictures. She has given presentations on a variety of historical topics at Hollywood Heritage Museum, Pasadena Museum of History, Conference of California Historical Societies, Egyptian Theatre, Book Soup, Pasadena First United Methodist Church, Will & Ariel Durant Library, and the Studio City Library. "Hollywood Celebrates the Holidays" has been named one of the best film books of 2015 by both Huffington Post and Ain't It Cool News.

Stephen X. Sylvester is also co-author of MGM: Hollywood's Greatest Backlot with Stephen Bingen and Michael Troyan, and is also co-author of the upcoming 20th Century Fox: A Century of Entertainment with Jeffrey Thompson. He is also the former Executive Director of the Wattles Mansion and Gardens, Hollywood’s last remaining original intact estate. In addition, he has lectured on the Hollywood studio system for the Los Angeles Club, the Art Directors Guild of America, and the American Cinematheque at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood.

From Stage 32 about Stephen X. Sylvester:

"Alone among our trio of authors, Stephen was lucky enough to have explored MGM’s legendary backlots in 1968 and 1975. That experience was the genesis for this book and sparked a decades-long obsession which would ultimately lead to a collection of studio artifacts and to the accumulation of dozens of hours of oral histories and interviews with studio “survivors.” He is currently working on a documentary based on their shared backlot reminiscences. His other film projects include (as director-producer) “Robert Kinoshita: Dreams, Designs and Robots,” “Richard Anderson: An Actor’s Journey,” and “Gurdon W. Wattles: The Man and the Mansion.”


From Lyons Press about the book:

"Fans from around the world continue to be fascinated by classic-era Hollywood (1925-1960) and its larger-than-life stars. Nostalgia for this simpler, more glamorous time offers a safe and temporary escape from our complex lives. The authors capture this era with in Hollywood at Play, featuring unique and rarely seen images of such legendary stars as Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable, Judy Garland, W.C. Fields, and Tyrone Power enjoying fun and relaxation outside of their studios.

Hollywood at Play presents iconic images of the classic stars taking time out from the demands of celebrity to enjoy dancing, bike-riding, roller skating, bowling, and playing tennis; diversions offering a chance to relax and be themselves. This delightful and unique book will appeal to classic movie fans, and enthusiasts of celebrity, fashion, and Hollywood history.

The photos contained in Hollywood at Play come from the collection of Eddie Brandt’s Saturday Matinee, Hollywood’s first and oldest family-owned photo archive. From the 800,000 images available in their collection the authors have chosen over 200 fascinating and rare photos to include in this book. Among the photos are eight rare photos of a young Marilyn Monroe at play; Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland frolicking at a pool party; Steve McQueen and James Garner astride McQueen’s iconic motorcycle between takes of The Great Escape;Bobby Darin and Sandra Dee out on the town; Sammy Davis Jr. hamming it up with Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra; and many others."

Welcome, Mary and Stephen! We are so happy you've taken time out of your busy schedules to visit us here at The Silver Screen Oasis..
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Re: HOLLYWOOD AT PLAY Authors Mary Mallory and Stephen X. Sylvester Visit June 17 & 18!

Postby Sue Sue Applegate » June 16th, 2017, 9:56 pm

Mary, I am curious about how the concept for Hollywood At Play evolved. How did you all decided to collaborate on this new book of images? I love the cover, by the way.
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Re: HOLLYWOOD AT PLAY Authors Mary Mallory and Stephen X. Sylvester Visit June 17 & 18!

Postby MaryoftheMovies » June 16th, 2017, 10:50 pm

Thank you Sue Sue. The cover is really eye-catching, isn't it? It suggests fun and is someone that most classic film fans should know (Annette Funicello). Steve was actually the one to ask me to take part in the book, so he can chime in with more details. He had spoken with Donovan Brandt about the photos from Eddie Brandt's Saturday Matinee, LA's longest running classic film store, which rents out films and sells movie stills. It's still in operation in North Hollywood.We couldn't have done the book without Donovan's gracious use of the stills.

There have been several photo books about classic stars, such as my "Hollywood Celebrates the Holidays," along with one of stars poolside, another playing golf, one about stars riding bikes, stars drinking coffee, and ones about Hollywood dogs and cats, but not one showing images of stars enjoying life offscreen.

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Re: HOLLYWOOD AT PLAY Authors Mary Mallory and Stephen X. Sylvester Visit June 17 & 18!

Postby MaryoftheMovies » June 16th, 2017, 11:42 pm

Another reason for the book is that people love to see photos of their favorite classic film stars, especially ones that are rare or have never been seen before. The Hollywood studios took hundreds if not thousands of stills of stars, from on set stills, off-camera ones, portraits, and candids, all to cover whichever publicity angle they needed to help push the star or the movie they were in. The majority of stills from the various sessions the stars sat for were either never released or released to specific outlets, meaning they had a limited audience. It's great that finally many photo books are coming out with long forgotten images of classic stars, revealing the hard work involved in shaping a career and persona.

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Re: HOLLYWOOD AT PLAY Authors Mary Mallory and Stephen X. Sylvester Visit June 17 & 18!

Postby Sue Sue Applegate » June 17th, 2017, 10:19 am

Thanks for your in-depth responses. I was wondering how the Hollywood publicity teams would work with newspaper outlets and magazines to promote their films and their stars.

Was it always initiated by the studios seeking to promote a star or a product? Or was their always a need to create content on the part of the news outlets? Did payola affect the give and take bewteeen the two systems?

Please share any insights on the inner machinations of these relationships. Thanks!
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Re: HOLLYWOOD AT PLAY Authors Mary Mallory and Stephen X. Sylvester Visit June 17 & 18!

Postby Lzcutter » June 17th, 2017, 11:23 am

Good morning, Mary and Steve!

Thanks so much for dropping by the SSO to spend some time with us.

How do you go about deciding which stills to include in the book? I would think the paring down of images must be a difficult task.
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Re: HOLLYWOOD AT PLAY Authors Mary Mallory and Stephen X. Sylvester Visit June 17 & 18!

Postby Stephen X. Sylvester » June 17th, 2017, 12:19 pm

The book evolved as a way to promote the Eddie Brandt Archive.

I had spent several years searching the archive looking for photos for the upcoming Fox book.

While doing so, I came across a tremendous selection of celebrity photos I had never seen before.

We paired down the photos from 300 to 150, evaluating the photo and how it related to the theme of Hollywood at Play.

Ultimately, the publisher makes the final call on what makes it into the book.

As for the relationship between the studios, the stars and the media, there was an informal mutually beneficial arrangement.

The studio and publicists would grant access to the stars and the media would agree to publish stories that had a positive promotion angle.

A win-win. However, that would change with the publication of Confidential magazine in the 1950s.

I have never heard of the use of payola when it comes to publicity (which does not mean it never happened), but I do know the stars and the studios gave elaborate gifts to the powerful Hollywood columnists of the time!

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Re: HOLLYWOOD AT PLAY Authors Mary Mallory and Stephen X. Sylvester Visit June 17 & 18!

Postby Lzcutter » June 17th, 2017, 1:06 pm

Steve,

Thanks so much for answering!

How did you guys discover the Eddie Brandt Archive?
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Re: HOLLYWOOD AT PLAY Authors Mary Mallory and Stephen X. Sylvester Visit June 17 & 18!

Postby Stephen X. Sylvester » June 17th, 2017, 3:22 pm

Donovan Brandt has been a long time friend.

It was through him that I discovered how extensive the family archive is.

I originally thought the archive was mostly movie stills and posters.

I was wrong.

They purchased a newspaper archive back in the 1970s so they have a huge selection of photos on every subject including true crime, sports, celebrities, beauty queens, politicians, pop culture, landmarks, etc,,,,

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Re: HOLLYWOOD AT PLAY Authors Mary Mallory and Stephen X. Sylvester Visit June 17 & 18!

Postby Lzcutter » June 17th, 2017, 3:28 pm

Wow, I had no idea they also had an archive like that. I was mainly familiar with them through their reputation of being a great place to rent movies back in the day.

This is a question for both you and Mary:

What is your favorite image in the book and why?
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Re: HOLLYWOOD AT PLAY Authors Mary Mallory and Stephen X. Sylvester Visit June 17 & 18!

Postby moira finnie » June 17th, 2017, 3:53 pm

Thank you for visiting, Mary & Steve!

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Above: William Powell, Richard Barthelmess, & Ronald Colman having fun on Catalina in the '20s.

During the early years of Hollywood I understand that there was a portion of the existing community that looked askance at Hollywood players who were fast becoming their neighbors. Did a censorious attitude sometimes affect the movie people trying to find a way to blow off steam or just spend some of their income from the burgeoning industry?
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Above: John Wayne visiting Catalina Island in the late '50s or early '60s.

While I get a kick out of publicity shots in the studio era, I am quite interested in the places that studio personnel chose to visit to avoid publicity when off-camera, particularly Catalina, the slightly notorious Agua Caliente, Mexico and the relatively small Palm Springs, California tennis clubs in the '30s.
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Above: A very young Joan Bennett with director Raoul Walsh at Aqua Caliente celebrating the New Year in '33.

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Above: Ernest Truex, Carole Lombard, Mrs. Truex, & William (he got around) Powell at Agua Caliente in the early '30s.

Could you explain how and why these playgrounds developed? Did studios use the settings to present their stars in glamorous off-screen settings or were the contract players really there to get away, playing tennis, golf or just getting a good tan?
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Above: Actor Charlie Farrell (L) with tennis great Alice Marble & Errol Flynn (R) at The Palm Springs Racquet Club in the '30s.

Also, did the imagery captured by brilliant still photographers, publicity agents and the Hollywood press corps during the studio era reflect the true nature of the actor captured while pursuing an off-screen hobby or pursuit? I am thinking particularly of Clark Gable in this regard, having come across references that suggested that his on-screen persona as a gruff, roguish, "man's man" who loved hunting and fishing molded his life more than reflected his own interests or the hardscrabble background he had experienced prior to his stardom.
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Above: Clark Gable trap shooting with John Barrymore. I think the world of Barrymore's talent, but having him around any gun must have been worrisome.

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Above: Clark Gable photographed with a gun.

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Above: Clark Gable in costume for Red Dust, pictured with an Irish Setter.

Thanks for any answers you may give.
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Re: HOLLYWOOD AT PLAY Authors Mary Mallory and Stephen X. Sylvester Visit June 17 & 18!

Postby Sue Sue Applegate » June 17th, 2017, 4:37 pm

Wonderful questions, Moira and Lynn.

And thanks so much for your response, Steve! We're glad you are here! :lol:
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Re: HOLLYWOOD AT PLAY Authors Mary Mallory and Stephen X. Sylvester Visit June 17 & 18!

Postby Stephen X. Sylvester » June 17th, 2017, 4:56 pm

It's hard for me to pick one favorite.

I had never seen 95% of the photos in the book before.

They are all interesting in their own way.

That's what made this a fun project to work on.

However, some of my favorites include:

page 86 Hattie McDaniel attending the Oscar ceremony
page 99 Groucho Marx dancing with Audrey Hepburn
page 118 Robby the Robot dancing with Phyllis Kirk
page 120 Matthew Stymie Beard Jr. in his custom roadster.
page 137 Lon Chaney Jr. as Wolf Man with his dog Moose
page 155 Charlie McCarthy hanging a W.C. Fields doll
page 212 W.C. Fields "working out

Do you have a favorite or favorites?

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Re: HOLLYWOOD AT PLAY Authors Mary Mallory and Stephen X. Sylvester Visit June 17 & 18!

Postby Stephen X. Sylvester » June 17th, 2017, 5:16 pm

Hi Moira-

I think to stars liked those locations outside of Hollywood because it was less likely that they would encounter the press or obsessed fans.

They could relax a little more.

As for your question on Clarke Gable, M-G-M did play a big hand in shaping his on and off screen image.

He was a new type of leading man, a rougher and tougher romantic lead as compared to a star like John Gilbert or Robert Montgomery.

Hunting, fishing, skiing, car racing, and camping were part of the persona created.

He also like fast cars and working on them.

The image fit him like a glove.

And Clark Gable certainly felt comfortable in that image because he was an avid outdoors-man till the end of his life.

Unfortunately for him, heavy smoking and drinking was also part of that image and was a major contributor to his early death.

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Re: HOLLYWOOD AT PLAY Authors Mary Mallory and Stephen X. Sylvester Visit June 17 & 18!

Postby Stephen X. Sylvester » June 17th, 2017, 5:17 pm

PS-

You posted some great photos.

They could have been in the book!


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