Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Summer Theatre Souvenirs


This being the height of summer (here in the northern hemisphere, anyway), here's a token reminder that Ann Blyth had a several-decades long career in summer theatre. The above program is for Showboat, in which she starred opposite Terence Monk, and Andy Devine played her father, Cap'n Andy.

You may recall that she and Mr. Devine went way back -- to her third film, Babes on Swing Street and also her next movie, Bowery to Broadway, both released in 1944.  She played Ohio in Showboat for the Kenley Players Productions in 1970.

Those of you who follow the Facebook page for this blog, ANN BLYTH: ACTRESS. SINGER. STAR. will note that recently the son of actor Pernell Roberts contacted me to direct me to his Facebook page honoring his father's career and the several photos he posted of Ann Blyth and Pernell Roberts when they performed together in a summer theatre production of The King and I, which took place at the MUNY in St. Louis in 1967.  See this link for those photos.  My sincere thanks to Mr. Roberts, Jr., for sharing those terrific pictures.

For more on Ann's summer theatre shows, have a look at this previous post at my Another Old Movie Blog, as well as my book, Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star., which has further info.

Did you ever see Ann Blyth on stage?  Let us know.

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The audio book for Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star. is now for sale on Audible.com, and on Amazon and iTunes.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Makeup by the Westmores


Here's a magazine photo clipping of Wally Westmore touching up Ann Blyth's makeup on Top O' the Morning (1949).

Mr. Westmore, of course, was one of the famous band of six Westmore brothers who all had important careers in the field of motion picture makeup. They all worked in different studios. Wally was at Paramount, which produced Top O' the Morning.

Bud Westmore, of Universal, was responsible for Ann's resplendent fish tail in Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid (1948), and in most of her films, as the bulk of her career took place at Universal.  (See Chapter 13 of Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star. for photos of the mermaid-creation process.)

Twin brothers Perc and Ern were at Warner Bros. Perc, who rose to head the makeup department there, worked on Mildred Pierce (1945).

Introduced to the business by their father, the entire Westmore makeup clan has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

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The audio book for Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star. is now for sale on Audible.com, and on Amazon and iTunes.




Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Katie Did It (1951) - on YouTube



Katie Did It (1951) is a charming movie in which Ann Blyth, who was known for not doing cheesecake photos, plays a prim New England librarian who poses in a swimsuit for a New York commercial artist because she needs to pay her uncle’s gambling debts to keep gangsters from visiting him.


Cecil Kellaway plays her roguish uncle, and we don’t want him to get his legs broken, either.


Mark Stevens plays her prince charming, here with Ann and Cecil Kellaway in the above lobby card for the movie.


This film was the last movie I was able to obtain when researching my book on Ann Blyth’s career, and for a long, nail-biting, while, I thought I’d never find it.  As with many of Ann Blyth’s films, this one is not on DVD, or VHS, and is not shown on Turner Classic Movies.  Press time was fast approaching, and my year-and-a-half-long hunt came up empty.


Then, with dumb luck, a friend saw a copy for sale on eBay—someone’s home-recorded version—and nabbed it for me.  It’s not a great print, but at last I could fill in the blank in my book.


Wouldn’t you know it? NOW it’s on YouTube.


Someone recently posted this sweet movie, here at this link.  Now you can enjoy Katie Did It, but things have a way of disappearing off YouTube, so catch it while you can.  Below, a still shot that was published in Movie Life magazine of the model and the artist getting to know each other.



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The audio book for Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star. is now for sale on Audible.com, and on Amazon and iTunes.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Publicity Portrait - 1957


A publicity portrait from 1957, from Paramount Pictures, perhaps about the time Ann Blyth appeared in The Buster Keaton Story for that studio. 

The movie is currently up on YouTube here, though unfortunately, it's not a very good print. We discussed the film here at my Another Old Movie Blog.  

One is struck, of course, by Ann's striking beauty in these typical studio publicity head shots, but we must also marvel at the composition and quality of the professional photography of that era. This goes not only for the big studio publicity departments, but of professional portrait photography in general. Many of us can merely take old family wedding photos, senior photos, and those portraits that GI had taken in their dress uniforms to send back home during World War II just before heading out overseas for an example of ordinary people looking almost like movie stars. The slow black and white film stock, the sculpted lighting effect are only two ingredients of the alchemy that turned  simple human beings into glamorous perfection of the human face.

No "selfie" can top it. 


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The audio book for Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star. is now for sale on Audible.com, and on Amazon and iTunes.