Nothing tickles our fancy more than to hear back from you, faithful readers. Otherwise, we tend to feel like that tree in the forest that no one hears falling. Fortunately, our readers are vocal, inquisitive — and very smart.
Hello, everybody. Joe Morella and Frank Segers, your classic movie guys, to reveal today some of our recent e-mail responses, inquiries and perhaps a suggestion or two (we could use ’em).
Our faithful correspondent, Mike, inquires about our mention of the rumor about John Wayne’s insertion while at Republic Pictures a clause in his contract assuring him that he would never have to work ever again with Vera Hruba Ralston, the Czech-born ice skater-turned-actress, who was the protege and eventual wife of Republic studio boss Herbert J. Yates. (That’s Wayne with Vera above.)
“Fellas, The Duke starred with Vera Ralston in The Fighting Kentuckian, a Republic comedy (costarring Oliver Hardy) in 1949… was ‘the clause’ after this and what happened?”
Well, Mike, at the time he signed with Republic in 1945, Wayne was quoted as saying this about Ralston; “As a human being, she was okay. But she was no actress.” This was at the time he portrayed the professional gambler who courted Vera in Dakota.
If indeed a no-Vera clause was included in Wayne’s contract, it HAD to be after this picture since, as Mike notes, the two combined again four years later in The Fighting Kentuckian. As far as we can determine, that was their last picture together.
Lewis Barton e-mails this question, “Is Diane Ladd related to Alan?” The fast answer, no.
Diane, the former wife of Bruce Dern and the mother of actress Laura Dern, was born in 1932 in Mississippi. Her name then was Rose Diane Ladnier. Alan, on the other hand, was born in Arkansas in 1913 as Alan Walbridge Ladd. Ladd was his real surname. Rest easy, Lewis. The two are not related.
Our Oct. 18 blog on Sonja Henie, ‘The World’s Most Famous Ice Skater Is…Who?’ (Oct. 18), drew this from a regular correspondent, Patricia Nolan-Hall (aka Caftan Woman): ‘Hey guys, check out Donald Duck in the first minute of 1939’s The Hockey Champ.” Will do, Patricia.
In response to our Oct. 29 blog, ‘Jean Seberg — Breathless,’ Lara writes: “I studied in Paris for five months this year, and one of my professors there was obsessed with Jean Seberg. He thought she really exemplified French cinema of that period (the ‘New Wave’ Early Sixties), and I think her personal life makes her even more fascinating. Her last apartment was not far from my own apartment in Paris. Thanks for the post!” Thanks for the e-mail, Lara.
iarla, a longtime fan of classic Hollywood movies whose tastes now run “towards the more obscure films and forgotten performers,” e-mailed this delightful missive on Oct. 8:
“In recent times, I’ve been tracking down interviews with the likes of Sandy Deschler, child actress of the Fifties, who remembers incidents like Lana (Turner) slapping Edmund Purdom on the set of (director Richard Thorp’s 1955 Biblical epic) ‘The Prodigal’ while he (Purdom) later kicks her dressing room door in!…
“Or, a wonderful site on you tube (sic) set up by documentary filmmaker Carol Langer featuring fun interviews with two of my favourites, Lizabeth Scott and Ann Miller, and rare home movie footage donated by the late Roddy McDowall. Check it out.
“I’m hoping Carole will download her entire interview with Van Johnson’s ex-wife, Evie Wynn, tho ’till then her extensive chat with Lillian Burns will suffice.
“Love what you contributed about Deanna Durbin. I live in Ireland, and I can assure you Deanna has never been forgotten in Europe, and STILL gets airplay on the radio!…Keep up the good work, and, as we say here, may the road rise with you.”
Thanks, iarla. Doesn’t get any better than that.