Hello, everybody. Joe Morella and Frank Segers, your classic movie guys, here today arms-up-to-elbows into our email bag, and fielding comments from readers.

We love doing it because we love hearing from — YOU! (If you haven’t messaged us lately, feel free to do so at your earliest opportunity.)

In response to our April 3 blog, Vivien Leigh — What A (Split) PersonalityKim Wilson writes:  Leigh had the really bad misfortune of being in love with one of the biggest asses ever.  When the going got tough he left. How does a rich and connected person die of TB in 1967?  Where were her handlers?

We should clarify that “one of the biggest asses ever” was Sir Laurence Olivier.  Your basic point is certainly worth making, Kim.  Leigh suffered from tuberculosis from a very early age. But still, as you point out, 1967 is a bit late to die from this disease. To cut him some slack, Olivier had to live for many years with his wife’s increasingly debilitating mental condition — no easy thing.

We had some fun with our March 28 blog, Belita & Suspense — What’s A Nice Figure Skater Like You doing In A Movie Like This? Reader Page joined in:

I enjoyed your article on Belita, how you’ve pointed out the comparisons to Vera (Ralton) and Sonja (Henie).  I’ve only seen Belita in a couple of films but I do agree with your assessments, that she was a better actress.  Perhaps the studio didn’t promote her in the right way.  While the Sonja films are eye catching and fun to look at they weren’t the most engrossing scripts out there. It’s like watching Esther Williams in her spectacular stunts in the pool. Her performances weren’t Oscar worthy but they certainly where entertaining. A fun read!

Our April 5 discussion of  Tinseltown soirees — Bette Davis & George Sanders: Two Views of Classic Hollywood Parties — drew this from Kim WilsonThey (partying stars) spent so much time together at the studio that (they) most probably were weary of spending their downtime with their co-workers as well. Plus, think of all those egos in the room!

Agreed, Kim.  They should have posted signs urging party guests to check their egos at the door.

Our April 11 Casablanca quiz (followed by our April 17 quiz answers blog) drew an appreciative response from Page:  Now whenever someone brings up Casablanca I’ll have some interesting trivia to throw out there. Thanks guys!  Thanks to you, Page. Happy to be of service.

In our March 27 blog — CLAUDE RAINS of ‘Casablanca’ — democrat with a small d! — we remarked about director Michael Curtiz’ annoying habit of berating extras, crew members and others (but never powerful studio execs or stars).  It was Rains who called the director on it.  

Kim Wilson posted this thought:  Curtiz was a fine director, but generally an S.O.B.  Glad Claude and company stood up for their fellow players. We are, too. We should add that fellow Casablanca stars Humphrey Bogart and Paul Henreid joined Rains in his protest.

Our April 12 blog — The Marrying Judge of Yuma County — drew this from Kim Wilson: California obviously was onto something about the marriage waiting period.  How many divorces could have been saved if more states followed their line.

Not sure about the role waiting periods, Kim. It was Tony Curtis, who wrote this in reference to his failed marriage to Janet Leigh: “When I look back at all the challenges we faced, what amazes me is not that Hollywood marriages fail at such an overwhelming rate; it’s that any survive at all.” 

Finally, heartfelt thanks to Kim Wilson, Vincent and Dino Martin Peters for their first birthday greetings to the Classic Movie Chat guys. Much appreciated. Please keep reading us.


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