Time to dip into our e-mail bag, which, as we discovered this time, contains comments pithy and otherwise to our blogs that are as many as three years old.

But who cares?  We love hearing from you whenever the spirit moves. It’s a pleasure this time to highlight highly favorable reader comments about two established stars.

This from James S. Harris, prompted by our WAS VAN JOHNSON GAY blog published on Feb. 3, 2012.

I MET VAN IN HIS LATER YEARS, INTRODUCED TO HIM BY A DELIGHTFUL LADY LIVING IN NEW YORK.

VAN KNEW THIS LADY AND HER MOTHER.  AFTER OUR INTRODUCTION HE AND I HAD A NICE TALK, AND HE HAD A SPARKLING PERSONALITY AND A GOOD LOOKING FACE. THIS WAS WHEN HE WAS IN HIS LATE 60’S.

I WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER HOW NICE HE WAS TO ME. I WAS A BIG FAN ALL HIS MOVIE LIFE AND WAS THRILLED TO MEET HIM. ACTUALLY IT MY SECOND MEETING WITH VAN AND THE FIRST MEETING WAS AS DELIGHTFUL.

HE WAS WORKING FOR JOHN KENLEY AT THE TIME WITH GLORIA DeHAVEN – THEY SEEMED TO BE GREAT FRIENDS AND LIKED EACH OTHER SO WELL.

Thanks, James. Not entirely sure about the ‘John Kenley’ reference, but Johnson and DeHaven were certainly friends for many years, predating their 1944 MGM musical Two Girls and a Sailor (the other girl was June Allyson). Both were graduates of the MGM “academy.”

At the time you met Van, he was most likely involved in various tv projects. He appeared on three episodes of the 1976 ABC series, Rich Man, Poor Man, and had a role in the 1974 NBC tv movie, The Girl on the Late, Late Show. In any case, Johnson by all accounts was a gracious man, a nice guy.

Speaking of well-regarded stars, reader Eamon Gaffney weighs in with this response to HOW TALL WAS ALAN LADD? blog of May 3, 2011:

The film ‘Shane’ has always been one of my favorite movies and I often let younger family members see it.

Alan Ladd (pictured at the top of today’s blog) had a great speaking voice – deep and rich and carves out a really believable character in Shane. At the end of the film you are wondering what will become of him as he reaches the top of the hill. A sequel may have worked with the right story line.

Like a lot of people I was deeply touched when he finally says goodbye to young Joey – such good acting. ‘Pale Rider’ came close with Clint Eastwood.

Agree on all counts, Eamon.

At 5-foot, 6-1/4-inches, Ladd was one of the shortest leading male figures in Hollywood history.  He is, of course, best known today for his eponymous role in George Stevens classic 1953 western, Shane.  Watch carefully how Stevens filmed the climatic gunfight scene showing Ladd squaring off against 6-foot, 4-inch Jack Palance as the cold-blooded villain.

And, yes, the ending of Shane remains an unforgettable screen moment.

 

 

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