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Welcome to Margaret Talbot, Our Guest on 11/4 & 11/5

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Re: Welcome to Margaret Talbot, Our Guest on 11/4 & 11/5

Postby Western Guy » November 4th, 2013, 5:54 pm

Miss Talbot, I worked with the late Dolores Fuller on her autobiography about a decade ago and she spoke very glowingly about your dad (whom I also admire greatly), who she got to know very well during the Ed Wood period. She told me a particularly lovely, touching story about your dad and mom reconciling after a troubled period and the happy ending for both.

Professionally speaking, even though the Ed Wood pictures your dad performed in were a far cry in style and substance from his earlier movies, you can see his dedication to the craft as he never slummed his performance. I particularly enjoyed his role in THREE ON A MATCH where he ends up against the formidable trio of Bogie, Allen Jenkins and Jack LaRue.

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Re: Welcome to Margaret Talbot, Our Guest on 11/4 & 11/5

Postby moira finnie » November 4th, 2013, 8:14 pm

Margaret, since Stone Wallace (Western Guy here on the SSO) has mentioned your mother above, could you please talk a bit about this vivid figure, who I believe was also named Margaret? In your book, despite the many influential ladies in your father's life, she comes across as full of fun, common sense, and joy. I'd love to hear more about her as a person, her effect on your father, and her influence on you and your siblings. Thanks!
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Re: Welcome to Margaret Talbot, Our Guest on 11/4 & 11/5

Postby Dewey1960 » November 4th, 2013, 9:04 pm

Hi Margaret - It's Elliot from the Roxie Theater in San Francisco stopping by to say hi! For those who may not recall, Margaret was to be our special in-theater guest at the Roxie this past March on the closing night of our annual Pre-Code festival -- a special tribute to Lyle Talbot! All the arrangements had been made, but on the morning of the show Margaret learned that all flights from the East Coast had been cancelled due to inclement weather. Ever the trooper, Margaret arranged for her brother Stephen, an independent filmmaker and producer here in San Francisco, to step in and take over. A sold-out crowd was treated to a sensational double feature (FOG OVER FRISCO, always a big favorite at the Roxie, and HEAT LIGHTNING, a pretty rare picture which was totally loved by the audience) AND had the pleasure of listening to Stephen talk about their dad. The only disappointment was that the audience (and I) lost out on the opportunity to meet Margaret in person. But it was a great night, one that beautifully displayed the wide ranging wonderfulness and generosity of the Talbot family. Margaret, I love your book and number it among my most favorite film memoirs. Thanks for taking the time to stop by the Oasis!

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Re: Welcome to Margaret Talbot, Our Guest on 11/4 & 11/5

Postby Sue Sue Applegate » November 4th, 2013, 10:01 pm

Miss Talbot, I want to thank you for joining us here at the Silver Screen Oasis, and let you know how much we appreciate your visit!

Did your father ever reminisce about Ladies They Talk About with Barbara Stanwyck and Lillian Roth?

And I found that he appeared on The Ann Southern Show, and was wondering if he had made any comments about one of my favorites, Ann Sothern.

I can't wait to order your book!

Thank you!
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Re: Welcome to Margaret Talbot, Our Guest on 11/4 & 11/5

Postby Vienna » November 5th, 2013, 3:31 am

Welcome,Miss Talbot.
I think I first became aware of your father in the film "One Night Of Love". Did he ever mention Grace Moore?

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Re: Welcome to Margaret Talbot, Our Guest on 11/4 & 11/5

Postby moira finnie » November 5th, 2013, 8:28 am

To our members and visitors:

Spinning your wheels while waiting for an answer to your cogent questions? Margaret Talbot is offline for a bit today, but will be wending her way back to answer queries asap. Thanks for your patience!

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Re: Welcome to Margaret Talbot, Our Guest on 11/4 & 11/5

Postby Professional Tourist » November 5th, 2013, 10:31 am

Ms. Talbot, did you father work much in radio during its golden age, primarily the 1930s through the 1950s? I've been able to locate only one program, from 1948, called The Unexpected, where Mr. Talbot appeared in two fifteen-minute episodes, "Cargo Unknown" and "Silver Fox."

https://archive.org/details/TheUnexpected

Do you know of any other programs?

Thank you.

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Re: Welcome to Margaret Talbot, Our Guest on 11/4 & 11/5

Postby MargaretTalbot » November 5th, 2013, 12:35 pm

Hi Everybody,
So glad to be back, and thank you for the great questions. This is such an awesome group.
Just arrived in Providence, on a blessedly unbumpy flight ( I hate to fly.)
Anyway, WesternGuy, I am so happy to hear from you, and about the story you heard from the delightful Dolores Fuller, of the Ed Wood company.
My parents did have a reconciliation in the 50s, and thanks to it--I'm here. Moira asked about my Mom. She was indeed a remarkable person. For those of you who have seen "Three on a Match," she reminds me of the Joan Blondell character in the movie--a fun-loving, curvy little blonde who came from show business, had a great singing voice and a raunchy sense of humor--but was also, and fundamentally, as you point out, Moira, a good, good person. She was 26 years younger than my Dad, and when they married, nobody predicted it would last. Not least because my Dad had been married four times before, and was, when he took up with my mother, a pretty serious alcoholic. That's what they separated over--she was in her early 20s, with three small children, but she gave him an ultimatum: stop drinking or I'm out of here permanently. It could well not have worked--but thanks to her strength of character, my Dad's deep drive to make a family life work, and their love for each other, it did. They were married for forty-one years, till she died--first, surprisingly, since she was so much younger--in 1989. She was a very funny person and a great life force--in the book I call her my father's (and her children's) "personal jar of sunshine."

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Re: Welcome to Margaret Talbot, Our Guest on 11/4 & 11/5

Postby MargaretTalbot » November 5th, 2013, 12:44 pm

Hi Elliot,
So great to hear from you! I was SO sad to miss that night at the Roxie, one of my favorite theaters in the world. But yes--my brother Steve stood in for me, in good-old-fashioned- backstage- musical fashion. My 20-something nephew Joe Talbot was also there--he looks a lot like the young Lyle, so that's always fun; Joe is a big Noir fan, and always haunts Eddie Muller's Noir City festival, and "Heat Lightning" was a particular revelation for him. He liked it in part because it was a Noir with strong but not evil female protagonists! Good for him! It was a rainy night, too, right?--very atmospheric. Thanks so much for checking in, Elliot.

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Re: Welcome to Margaret Talbot, Our Guest on 11/4 & 11/5

Postby MargaretTalbot » November 5th, 2013, 12:56 pm

Hello there, sue sue applegate--

I love Barbara Stanwyck and Lillian Roth as prison pals in "Ladies They Talk About" and I love the scene where Lillian Roth sings. There's an interesting backstory to the movie. It was based in part on a play by the actress Dorothy Mackaye, who had done time in San Quentin for her involvement in the murder of her husband. (Her young lover, also an actor, was also convicted; when they got out, they got married.) It's also interesting for its obvious references to lesbian relationships in prison. By the way, I've always wanted to read Roth's biography, I'll Cry Tomorrow, which was the basis for the Susan Hayward movie, and was one of the first frank memoirs of alcoholism. Has anybody here read it?
Alas, I don't remember my Dad speaking about Lillian Roth (or Ann Sothern.) He did talk about Barbara Stanwyck, and often said she was one of his very favorite actresses to work with, because she was always a pro, not a prima donna, and always treated people up and down the pecking order kindly and respectfully.

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Re: Welcome to Margaret Talbot, Our Guest on 11/4 & 11/5

Postby MargaretTalbot » November 5th, 2013, 1:10 pm

Hi there,
Vienna asked about "One Night of Love" and Grace Moore. Yes, that was a movie he was proud of, and we had a GIANT poster from it on our house. It did well at the box office internationally (it apparently played for a full year in one theater in Australia) and was nominated for several Oscars--which created a short-lived fad for importing opera singers to Hollywood. Moore, a blonde Tennessee native who sang with the Metropolitan Opera, had a beautiful voice and was lovely, but my father didn't like working with her. "She wasn't much of an actress," he said. "She was so used to projecting outward. Victor Schertzinger, the director, would say, 'You're supposed to love this man! How about looking at him?'" My Dad did like the singer Tullio Carminati, her co-star in the film, and Carminati apparently got exasperated with her, too.

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Re: Welcome to Margaret Talbot, Our Guest on 11/4 & 11/5

Postby MargaretTalbot » November 5th, 2013, 1:30 pm

Professional Tourist--Thank you for your question about whether my Dad was active during the golden age of radio, and for sending the link to "The Unexpected." To tell you the truth, I didn't look very deeply into the radio stuff, but I am fairly sure he did radio guest spots in the late 40s, especially.
I know that in the early 40s, when he was appearing on Broadway in a long-running show called "Separate Rooms," with Glenda Farrell, his old pal from Warner Brothers, and Alan Dinehart (he was also living at the Royalton Hotel on West 44th Street, with his two dogs and his collection of jazz and swing records, and making an energetic go at New York nightlife, lucky him), he had his own radio show, "Hollywood Footlights," where he played Judy Garland and Cab Calloway, among others, dished Hollywood gossip and interviewed movie people who were visiting New York. We had a pile of 45s of those shows in our garage at one point, and sadly, I have no idea what happened to them.

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Re: Welcome to Margaret Talbot, Our Guest on 11/4 & 11/5

Postby moira finnie » November 5th, 2013, 1:55 pm

Here's three questions for you, Margaret:

1.) One of the movies that I only saw recently starring your father was a bit of a revelation: No More Orchids (1932), which is finally available on DVD, paired him with a stunning and romantic Carole Lombard at her pre-code best. Could you please share some of what you wrote about in your book concerning this lovely movie, directed by Walter Lang, who could be very good sometimes) or any memories your father shared about Lombard and this role?

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Above: Lyle Talbot with Carole Lombard in No More Orchids (1932).

2.) Also, did your father enjoy playing guys who were a bit of a skunk as opposed to out and out villains or straight arrow heroes? I have always found him to be enormous fun in films such as College Coach (as a conceited football player), and especially good as snarling fellows who were trying to be rascals even though they really don't have the style or the needed hardcore streak of meanness for it (The Purchase Price, Three on a Match, Love Is a Racket).

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Above: Lyle Talbot and Ann Dvorak with an obscure player in Three on a Match (1932).

3.) I have sometimes come across programs on the dangerously addictive Me-TV network since reading your book in which I was dumbstruck by the sight of your father suddenly appearing in scenes in such programs as The Lone Ranger (he was a one-man repertory company in that one!). I was dumbstruck to catch him in "The Starlet" a 1968 episode of Dragnet as a risque filmmaker who had led a young girl astray! Did he enjoy working on either of these programs? Did he ever have anything to say about the strange but fascinating Jack Webb?

My thanks in advance for your answers!
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Re: Welcome to Margaret Talbot, Our Guest on 11/4 & 11/5

Postby MargaretTalbot » November 5th, 2013, 3:47 pm

Hi Moira,
Thank you for these excellent questions.
On Carole Lombard and "No More Orchids" : This was a movie he made while on loan to Columbia from Warner Brothers. It was a romantic comedy (though it actually has a rather dark, Depression-era plot turn) and he thought it was the kind of part--the light romantic lead--that he would have done better with than the gangsters (albeit suave ones) and small-time crooks he often played at Warners. In later years, he often said he thought Warner Brothers had been the wrong studio for him. But when I went back and watched the movies he'd made at Warners, I liked quite a few of them a lot--and I liked him in them better than in "No More Orchids," where I think he's a bit faux-upper-crust flutey in his enunciation and a bit stiff in his performance overall. Maybe he was intimidated by Lombard, who he had a big crush on--she flirted with him but they never got together as far as I know--and to whom he was first introduced as she was unleashing a gleeful torrent of profanity about a studio executive. Four years after "No More Orchids" was made, Lombard and Gable inaugurated their romance one night at the Mayfair Ball. That same night, the papers reported, Lyle and Gable nearly came to blows. Gable and Lombard had left the party to go for a drive, and when Gable invited Lombard back to her apartment, she blew him off with the line, "Who do you think you are, Clark Gable?" When Gable came back to the party he was in a lousy mood, and headed straight for the bar where a jealous Lyle made a wisecrack about his swift return. Lombard intervened to stop the two men from fighting.

I agree: I think my Dad did particularly well with the roles where he was weak, vain, hedonistic--but not really bad and not really tough. In The Purchase Price, which you mention, he's a kind of gallant, genial gangster, calling his restless girlfriend (Barbara Stanwyck) a "daffy tomato" but granting her freedom. Perhaps he did better at these roles than the really brutal types or the Clark Gable he-men, because he was, in reality, such a pussycat, a sweetheart. I know, of course, that a great actor can access and display brutality without being a brutal person at all, but my father couldn't, I don't think.

You have introduced me to the ME Network, which I heretofore knew nothing about, and will now surely succumb to the "dangerous addiction" of! Thanks a lot, Moira! :) Alas, I have no recollection of my Dad talking about Jack Webb. Fun fact, though: Jack Webb's IMDb page says that he makes an uncredited appearance in "Three on a Match" as one of the boys in the schoolyard in the opening scene. (He would have been about 12 .)

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Re: Welcome to Margaret Talbot, Our Guest on 11/4 & 11/5

Postby moira finnie » November 5th, 2013, 5:51 pm

I am not surprised that he may have forgotten working in that show with Jack Webb. Now I will have to look more carefully at Three on the Match to see Webb as an urchin. Thanks for that tidbit. Don't look for Me-TV. It's terrible once that nostalgia monkey gets on your back and I don't need you on my conscience. :wink:

1.) Is it just a fluke that neither you nor your siblings have pursued acting as a profession as adults (though your brother Stephen was a child actor)? Was there something that your parents said or consciously did to deter you from pursuing acting, despite having both parents in show business and to become so accomplished in other fields such as journalism, documentary filmmaking, entrepeneurial creativity online (Salon.com & The Ifiles) and medicine?

2.) You have described the cooling of the Warner Brothers' enthusiasm for your father's viability after he became involved in SAG, but did your father experience or express an opinion about the impact of the Hollywood blacklist during the McCarthy era on his profession?

3.) Many of us may have seen a film short of your father, Bette Davis, Leo Carillo and a bunch of politicians launching a train on its cross-country journey on TCM as an interstitial. Could you please discuss your father's adventure in an early (and odd) form of "synergy," captured in The 42nd Street Special (1933), which is available as part of the DVD box set The Busby Berkeley Collection? Did he go along on this 42nd Street Special celebrating the FDR Inaugural, the wonders of GE inventions, Chrysler cars and other corporate tie-ins as a master of ceremonies? Was he asked to participate in these rather contrived but interesting events often during his time at the studio? Did it seem odd to him that a big corporation underpinned by Wall Street financiers was also a cheerleader for The New Deal or did it seem to reflect a canny sympathy for the struggles of their audience and the contradictory if genuine sentiments of the brothers Warner?

Please forgive me if that last question may be too complicated for this forum, but any insights you can give are appreciated. :roll:
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