Hello, everybody. Joe Morella and Frank Segers, your classic movie guys, here today to once again do what we love to do — answer your emails. We have a fresh batch of them, and they are as usual informative, feisty, fun, and most welcome.
Our April 18 blog Hedda Hopper and Louella Parsons (Hedda and Louella — a ‘Don’t Invite ‘Em’ if there ever was one), struck a nostalgic nerve since we received interesting responses about the furiously competing Hollywood newspaper columnists, taking opposing positions.
Regular contributor Patricia Nolan-Hall (Caftan Woman) asks this question:
Do you recall the TV movie in the 80s, ‘Malice in Wonderland’ with Liz Taylor as Louella and Jane Alexander as Hedda? I recall it was fun to watch primarily for the hats and the name dropping, but your look at the gals makes me think a more in-depth look at their life and times would make for an interesting film.
Although we are not immediately familiar with the TV movie you cite (sounds great!) we agree that it’s time Hedda and Louella were fully re-assessed if only because they proved to be immensely powerful women working at a time when professional glass ceilings were made of iron.
Our pal Mike agrees that another look at the pair is in order:
I was lucky enough to have read several books on these two gals, and they were exactly what everybody said about them. But, that’s not bad. They were definately self serving while at the same time, moneymakers for their bosses. They absolutely ‘made’ careers for many many actors — from the beautiful Marion Davies all the way through to the end of the Hollywood era when the studios got weak and tv took over. I would highly recommend going to Amazon.com and buying their books.
Good suggestion, Mike. As a matter of fact, we are currently taking another look at one of Hedda’s books, preparing for future blogs.
Another regular correspondent, Kim Wilson, is less kindly disposed to the pair. Referring to our mention of actor Joseph Cotten once planting a gentle but well-placed kick on Hedda’s derriere in retaliation for an indiscreet item about the actor in her column, Kim writes: I would have liked to seen Cotton giving that snipe a little kick in the ass.
New correspondent, Wyatt Kingseed, responds to our Rita Hayworth blog (There Was Only One Rita, April 20) with the following observation:
My favorite Rita Hayworth role is from ‘The Lady from Shanghai.’ I’ll never understand the grumbling over her being a blond. Still looks fabulous.
We too are perplexed out that. (Check out the blondish Rita above.) Columbia Pictures boss Harry Cohn was furious when Rita and her director and then husband, Orson Welles, made her a blond for this excellent 1948 movie. Not only does Hayworth look great, but she acts Welles (who insisted on assuming an Irish brogue for his role) right off the screen. Soon after this picture was made, Rita and the director went — as Hedda and Louella would have put it — maritally “splitsville.”
Kim Wilson asks this question about Hayworth’s reputed shyness in private: Now how can you be shy in public and have five husbands?
Hmm. Good point, Kim. I guess it’s possible to be shy AND much married. Rita really did seem to be both.
Finally, in response to our blog way back on Feb. 3 — asking the question Was Van Johnson Gay? — Velvet contributes this: Either way you gotta love the guy’s shoes.
The photo we ran — taken from our exclusive Donald Gordon Collection — shows just ONE of Johnson’s handsome shoes. Still impressive, and worth another look.
Thanks to contributors one and all. Please keep reading us.