Wednesday, December 13, 2017

On the slopes, or in the studio?


Ann Blyth poses with skis in this wintry photo, though those of us in the northern climes don't need reminding that snow is piling on the back steps.  This photo shoot was likely another publicity chore, as the studio publicity departments kept a constant agenda of supplying newspapers and magazines with pictures and news tidbits to keep a star's name in front of the public eye in between movies.  This photo was released in 1946, a year of great tribulation for Ann when, after the triumph of her Oscar-nominated performance in Mildred Pierce (1945), she suffered a serious back injury, and then the death of her mother, as she tried to pick up the pieces and continue with her career.  She was 17, and would turn 18 this year.

I wonder if any of the "snow" melted under the hot lights?  Still, it's a lovely illusion.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Paperback Book Sale!


SALE!!! - For the month of December only, the paperback version of my book Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star. will be reduced from its regular price of $25 to $15!  Hurry to pick up your copy at this low price, as there are only five copies available at this sale price.  When the supply is gone, the sale is over, and future restocked items will be sold at the regular price of $25.  All my books in paperback are on sale at my Etsy shop this month - both fiction and non-fiction. 

Go to LynchTwinsPublishing here.  Payment can be made through credit card, PayPal, or by check or money order.  Your book can be signed if you wish, or any special message enclosed either written in the book or on a card.

Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star. is a big book - 8 1/2 x 11 "coffee table" size, 398 pages with over 250 photographs.  It's a fine holiday gift for the loved one on your list who loves classic films -- especially for one who admires this splendid actress.


Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Brute Force - Ann Blyth and Burt Lancaster


Ann Blyth and Burt Lancaster in a publicity photo for Brute Force (1947).  They were cast together for the only time, but producer Mark Hellinger apparently voiced plans to create a new movie romantic team.  From my book, Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star.:


Producer Mark Hellinger may have had yet another reason for putting Ann Blyth and Burt Lancaster together.  He had hired her for Swell Guy (1947), and him for The Killers (1946).  They were two of Universal’s most talented up and coming stars, and he may have wanted to turn them into a team.  According to syndicated gossip columnist Dorothy Manners who wrote this in May 1946:

Mark Hellinger, always good for a bright idea, said to me, “Where are those swell romantic teams that used to make the fans goggle-eyed over their love scenes…It’s time the love team is revived on screen,” and Mark is the boy who is going to do it with his two young stars, Ann Blyth and Burt Lancaster…he wants to make three or four with Ann and Burt....

Their romantic team never did materialize.  Both went on to other films, and Mark Hellinger, who might have made a pet project of bringing them together again on screen, tragically died about six months after Brute Force was released.   


Brute Force will be shown on Turner Classic Movies this coming Monday, December 4th, at 6:15 p.m. ET.



Monday, November 27, 2017

LAST DAY OF SALE of eBook!


LAST DAY SALE- Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star. eBook at half price! Available at Amazon including new "X-Ray" function with descriptions of names, places, & events. In case you didn't know what the Copacabana was.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving...and a sale!


Here's Ann Blyth with the fall harvest --  and I wish American readers a Happy Thanksgiving. It's a festive studio publicity photo, notable for its lack of cheesecake posing and cornball posturing with such props as a turkey on a leash, a musket, or an ax with which to kill the unsuspecting turkey. There was nothing like holidays to bring out the zaniness of studio photographers.

I'll take this opportunity to mention as well that for the next several days, through Monday, November 27th, the eBook version of Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star. will be available at Amazon for half price.  Amazon has also included my book in its new "X-Ray" function for eBooks which will allow for descriptions and explanations of names, places, and events by holding down on a highlighted word, to enhance your reading experience.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Ann Blyth at premiere of Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid


Here's a shot of Ann Blyth at the premiere of Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid (1948).  Among the attendees here are Susan Hayward and her husband Jess Barker.  Note the formal dress in more glamorous days, though we might wonder at the fur stole in what was likely the summer of 1948.

We discuss Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid at my Another Old Movie Blog here, and in my book Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star.  Ann is considerably more covered up at the premiere than she was in the water.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Ann Blyth on Most Beautiful Women in Hollywood List



Ann Blyth was featured on a list of "The 12 Most Beautiful Women in Hollywood" by Photoplay magazine in December 1951.  It's an interesting list, and she appears in the number 2 slot after Ava Gardner.  The rest, in order behind her are Elizabeth Taylor, Arlene Dahl, Linda Darnell, Joan Crawford, Mona Freeman, Loretta Young, Marlene Dietrich, Susan Hayward, Rita Hayworth, and Deborah Kerr.

Though articles involving "experts" panels, even among photographers, more likely reflect popularity contests among the fans or effective barracking by the studios, we do see a reflection of what made for popular appeal in 1951 (though classic film fans today would regard glamour as timeless, surely).

From the article by Vicky Riley:

"Ann Blyth has flawless facial attributes," said one photographer, "but it is something beyond her bone structure and her exquisite, dusky coloring that makes her a great beauty -- an inner spiritual beauty which illumines her face."

Another said, "Ann symbolizes the dream of all of us.  Sher personifies everything that girls of her age want to be.  She is the girl boys desire for a wife.  And she is the girl parents want for a daughter."

She was also a photographer's dream.



Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Babes on Swing Street poster



This noisy and eye-catching poster for Babes on Swing Street (1944) captures the diverting nature of both the somewhat chaotic plot of the merry tale and the stream of bouncy teen talent that makes up our cast.  From my book Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star.:

Though MGM grabbed the “lion’s” share of attention when it came to so-called “backyard musicals,” it was really Universal that produced more teenage talent.  When Deanna Durbin abandoned Hollywood, the void was filled not by a single replacement, but by a cadre of young adults.  The ritzy sopranos listed above were joined by Grace MacDonald, Donald O’Connor, and Peggy Ryan, and The Jivin’ Jacks and Jills. 


Babes on Swing Street (a cheeky coincidence but no relation to MGM’s Babes in Arms, Babes on Broadway, etc.), starred Peggy Ryan and Ann... Except for the old one-reeler comedies with Zasu Pitts and Thelma Todd, it was uncommon for a female buddy team to carry a movie and be given top billing together.  To be sure, this was low budget rather than A list, and the predominantly youthful cast and focus on ambitious teens “making good”...



Directed by Edward C. Lilley, the movie lasts just over an hour, and though brief, is stuffed with songs, gags, and a plot somewhere in there if one looks hard enough.  Peggy Ryan is the president of kids’ club at the local settlement house where teens meet to play ping pong and get off the streets.  They are also all very talented singers, musicians, and tap dancers, and want to “make good.”  A music academy (headed by Ian Wolfe) will give ten of them partial scholarships if they can come up with the rest of the tuition.



Ann hangs out at the settlement house, too, but she’s a rich girl who lives with a domineering aunt, played by Alma Kruger, and befuddled uncle, played by Leon Erroll.  Her attempts to help the kids are constantly rebuffed by the resident heartthrob played by Billy Dunn, who resents her for her wealth.  Why she’s stuck on this unpleasant boy, and why he suddenly turns around and falls for her at the end is never really clear.  He just does, probably because she’s the soprano...


Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Ann Blyth Halloween Photo Shoot


Ann Blyth in a rather surreal Halloween-themed publicity pose from the fertile mind of, probably, Ray Jones at the Universal publicity stills department.  Ann's just a teen in this photo, so it may have been one of her earliest during her seven-year contract.

Keeping their stable of talent in the public eye was the main job of the publicity stills department, and in an era of a hundreds of print magazines and newspapers, Hollywood was only too happy to keep them supplied with filler.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Ann Blyth - print ad for Whitman's chocolates


Here Ann Blyth is promoting Whitman's Sampler as well as her current film All the Brothers Were Valiant, and it is 1953.  The image of Ann is an illustration rather than a photograph; hand-drawn illustrations were commonly used in print ads of the day, which is part of why advertising from this period seems so stylish and glamourized.  Despite the very glamorous studio photography of the era, it seems there was something even more effective in the use of what was then termed commercial art: It focused the image towards message of the product.  And the product is the star; the Hollywood star is the supporting player.

We can find images of Hollywood stars advertising an array of products from those decades, from cigarettes to soup.  Were they effective?  Did sales soar?  Perhaps.  These kinds of print ads are like looking through a scrapbook of American pop culture.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Ann Blyth - portrait in profile


Another stunning example of the light-sculpted glamorous portrait photos for which Hollywood publicity departments were famous.  Ann Blyth, like other stars, spent hours in front of the still cameras as well as the movie cameras.  This was taken in 1948 during her Universal studio period, quite likely by the master, Ray Jones.

From my book, Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star.:


Black and white photography perhaps reached its zenith as creative art form in the Hollywood studios—but especially still photography that sculpted the stars images with light and shadow and glamorized them as persons of almost supernatural beauty.  One of the very best of the artists was photographer Ray Jones, head of the Stills Photo unit of the Publicity Department at Ann’s home studio of Universal...

There were three dressing rooms in his studio where the stars were prepared for their photo shoots: for body makeup, for face and hair, and for clothes.  Grips worked under Jones’ direction to set the lights and enormous 8 x 10 view camera....

Ann Blyth recalled for the author that photo sessions usually lasted all day, and along with other stars, complimented Ray Jones on his ability to put his subjects at ease, to inspire their confidence.  They were placing their image, and whatever insecurity or doubtfulness they brought with them to the photo shoot, in his capable hands.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Sewing pattern - gown from Katie Did It (1951)


This is a dress pattern copying a design for a gown Ann Blyth wore in Katie Did It (1951).  The gown was designed by Rosemary Odell for Ann to wear in the movie, and was reproduced as a sewing pattern for the Advance company.  It's an interesting promotional tool for both the movie, produced by Universal-International, and the Advance Pattern Company, which sold the sewing pattern through the J.C. Penney stores.

It was an era, after all, where people, we may assume principally women, sewed their own clothing more than they do now.  Sewing at home now for many is likely mainly a craft hobby, but when the Advance brand patterns were sold from 1933 to 1966, (afterward the company was sold to Puritan Fashions), sewing was considered to be a common domestic art, as much as a money-saving tactic to add to our wardrobes.

Today, afficianados of retro and vintage clothing can still find these patterns, either originals or reproductions.


back of the pattern envelope





As part of the promotion for both the movie, Katie Did It, and the sewing pattern, Photoplay magazine carried this feature in December 1950 as its "Pattern of the Month."




In the movie, Ann plays a New England librarian who helps her rascal uncle, played by Cecil Kellaway, to get out of debt by agreeing to pose for a New York commercial artist, played by Mark Stevens.  The gown promoted by the Advance sewing pattern is seen really only very briefly in the movie.  We see it first on a mannequin in a shop window, admired by Ann, who is window shopping with Mark Stevens.




Next he surprises her by buying the dress for her, and they go out to dinner in a swank restaurant.  That's all we see of the dress.



In most of the film, Ann wears very prim and proper suits and dresses, and in its more famous moments, she wears a bathing suit as a model for Stevens.  Her cheesecake image will be reproduced on billboards, causing her character, Katie Standish, no end of embarrassment.  Since Ann Blyth, unlike many young starlets, refused to do cheesecake shots to promote her career, the bathing suit scenes and the promotion that got on lobby cards and posters probably is what people remember most about Katie Did It -- unfortunately, many probably do not remember the movie at all, as it has been out of circulation a long time.  Except for the odd black market copy, it's not available on DVD, nor has it been shown on Turner Classic Movies.  At least for the time being, you can see it here on YouTube.

From my book Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star.:

Katie Did It (1951) is the first of four films to be released in 1951.  In the timeline of Ann’s movie career, Katie Did It is sandwiched between two big hits: the drama Our Very Own (1950), and the musical, The Great Caruso (1951).  It seems to have been obscured by them both.  It’s a shame, because Katie is a pleasant comedy, that, while not a demanding challenge for its talented cast, nevertheless is quite enjoyable, provides Ann with another shot at demonstrating her comedic skills, and most rare—allows her to sing a bit.  Also, it allows us to see the star, famed for refusing to do cheesecake photos, posing for a painting in a bathing suit.  Thus, intentionally or unintentionally, the film pokes fun at Ann’s own real-life modesty as much as it does her prim New England librarian character.

We also discussed Katie Did It here at my Another Old Movie Blog.








Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Sheet Music from The World in His Arms


This is the cover of the sheet music for the "The World in His Arms" by Frank Skinner and Frederick Herbert, from the film The World in His Arms (1952).  Mr. Skinner, of course, composed original music for film scores at Universal Studios for the better part of three decades.  Mr. Herbert also composed for film and TV.  We are indebted to an Ann Blyth fan named Elizabeth, who is also a fan of film scores, for sharing this really nice piece of film memorabilia with us.

The music is particularly lovely, and as I noted in my book, Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star.:

Most especially lending a mood of almost unbearable longing is the theme song, composed by longtime Universal Studio score composer Frank Skinner that sounds like an old Russian folk tune, sweeping and mournful and heartbreakingly beautiful.  It serves as the leitmotif of the film that resurrects the lovers’ passion in pivotal moments and conjures the pain of hoping against all hope...
...It’s a shame that glorious tune was not released as a single, with lyrics.



This piece of sheet music proves me wrong: It was evidently published in conjunction with the film's release, as movie themes often were at that time, but we may note a slight discrepancy in lyrics.

Ann says in the film, when Gregory Peck asks her to translate the Russian verse she hums:

"'Wind of the north that comes from the sea, speak to my loved one and tell him for me...'
The words say that, 'I will always be waiting for him to take me into his arms, to kiss me.'"

The lyrics by Frederick Herbert as presented here are less atmospheric to the moment in the film, but it's nice to know that sheet music was made available.  I still wish a record had been released, but maybe someday someone will step forward and surprise me with a treasure from their attic?

In the meantime, thank you so much to Elizabeth for sharing this with us.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Audiobook comments...


My book on Ann Blyth's career -- Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star., is also an audiobook, narrated by actress Toni Lewis.  Here are a few reader comments:


I read Toni's biography and she is as beautiful as she sounds. I love the way she slightly changes her voice when quoting others. It isn't as though she's trying to imitate, the slight, but effective effort, is just letting us know she is reading a quotation. To say I'm impressed with you both would be a massive understatement. The book is wonderfully researched with critiques of Ms. Blyth's movies, talents, career and fascinating side stories about the supporting characters …

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I am fascinated by your attention to detail, even the most minute detail has little chance of escaping your commitment to accuracy.

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Thank you and Ms. Lewis for creating this luxurious and enticing experience.

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Your narrator has a cool intensity in her delivery. She has my attention, engaging, and I suppose I'll have a crush on her before the book's end.


The audiobook is available for download from Audible, from iTunes, and from Amazon.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Modern Screen cover April 1955


Ann Blyth graces the cover of Modern Screen this April 1955 edition.  Still a top star in Hollywood, there were two more films to be released in that year: The King's Thief in August, and the lavish musical Kismet in December.  Her second child, her daughter Maureen, was born in December as well, so we can assume that the year 1955 was a fairly busy one for Ann.

The cover does, however, intimate that the climate was changing in Hollywood, as we note the references to two other up-and-coming -- and major -- stars, Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn.  Monroe's career ended with her tragic death, but her stardom -- which we may argue is something different than a career -- continues to this day.  Audrey Hepburn's career slowed in the early 1960s due to her preference to remain at home and raise her children, but she did continue to work in films sporadically through the rest of her life and devoted her last years to UNICEF.

Ann quietly managed to be active in raising her children, participating in charitable causes, and dabbling in her career, which took a sharp turn from films to television and most notably, theatre.  How funny not to achieve the icon status those other two talented ladies did through their screen magnetism, and yet we may smile at her magnificent success in accomplishing so much and without fanfare.


Was her forgotten status due, perhaps, to a combination of circumstances unique to Hollywood—that because the quiet stability of her private life did not make headlines she therefore couldn’t be exploited for profit; because the bulk of her films are hardly, if ever, shown today or available on DVD; and because, unlike those tragic stars who died young, or younger, she outlived all her co-stars?

Had she done more television, she might have regained recognition among younger audiences.  (For instance, like Angela Lansbury, who without Murder She Wrote might be known only to classic film buffs and theatre fans, but not have household name recognition in the U.S. and around the world.)  Still, though her staunch fans might mourn her lack of icon status, probably Ann would not.  Truly, she got the best of the bargain in a rich and rewarding private life—long and happy marriage, five children, ten grandchildren, life-long friends in and out of the entertainment industry, charitable work—and a satisfying career in proportions she could deal with...

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Strolling around the Studio Lot: Katie Did It - 1951


Ann Blyth, Mark Stevens, and Jesse White of Katie Did It (1951) take the customary "linking arms and strolling around the studio lot" picture that was a common part of the publicity photo campaign.

Note Ann's rolled bangs, an early 1950s hairstyle that she wore only in this film.  From my book on Ann's career, Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star.:

Katie Did It (1951) is the first of four films to be released in 1951.  In the timeline of Ann’s movie career, Katie Did It is sandwiched between two big hits: the drama Our Very Own (1950), and the musical, The Great Caruso (1951).  It seems to have been obscured by them both.  It’s a shame, because Katie is a pleasant comedy, that, while not a demanding challenge for its talented cast, nevertheless is quite enjoyable, provides Ann with another shot at demonstrating her comedic skills, and most rare—allows her to sing a bit.  Also, it allows us to see the star, famed for refusing to do cheesecake photos, posing for a painting in a bathing suit.  Thus, intentionally or unintentionally, the film pokes fun at Ann’s own real-life modesty as much as it does her prim New England librarian character...

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Chip Off the Old Block


Ann Blyth is about 15 years old here in her first movie, Chip Off the Old Block, which was released in February 1944.  Ernest Truex is on the left, and Helen Hinson, center, played her mother.  In this Universal musical, Ann is the third generation of actresses in her family.  Donald O'Connor is her persistent beau and first co-star.  From my book on Ann's career: Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star.:


Our introduction to Ann Blyth is on a train.  Donald sits apart from her, doing eye exercises for his lousy vision, and she misinterprets it as somewhat grotesque flirting.  After a spat and reconciliation, they are cozily ensconced on the rear train observation platform (a much-used movie setting for tête-à-têtes) and sing a duet “It’s Mighty Nice.”  Her voice is a pleasing soprano, but nowhere near the range, control and richness she developed with more training by the next decade... 

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Sally and Saint Anne


Ann Blyth ages from 12 years old to eighteen in Sally and Saint Anne (1952), but she was really 23 at the time.  A charming and funny coming of age story where a spunky young Catholic school student first picks a fight with a statue of St. Anne, and then develops a warm and chummy relationship with her saintly patroness, the movie is filled with daffy characters and nutty shenanigans.  One particularly absurd scene I like: when their house is being moved across town to a new location, the family innocently stays inside it as it's rolling along.  Ann, coming home from a late-night date, has to run to catch up with it.

Pictured along with Ann in the photo above are Kathleen Hughes as the senior class snob, and Gregg Palmer (aka Palmer Lee) as the local heartthrob.  Edmund Gwenn plays her irascible grandpa, patriarch of her crazy family.  From my book Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star.:



Especially endearing is the exchange between Ann and Mr. Shapiro, the local grocer, played by Joe Mell.  His wife’s expecting and he desperately wants a boy this time because he’s already got three daughters.  Ann writes down his wish in her notebook.  “One boy.  Mr. Shapiro.”  He’s officially on her list of petitions to St. Anne.


He’s a jovial guy who shakes his head at her innocence.  “Why would an Irish saint go out of her way for a guy like me?” 

“Mr. Shapiro, Saint Anne was the grandmother of Jesus.”

He shrugs, “So?”


“So she isn’t Irish at all.  She’s Jewish.”

Mr. Shapiro gives her fond grins and free pickles.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Happy 89th Birthday to Ann Blyth!


Today we wish Ann Blyth a very happy 89th birthday!  The cake in the above photo says, in part, "To OUR ANN, from Universal-International..."  Charles Boyer stands beside her, as the cast and crew take a break from filming A Woman's Vengeance (1948).

Here's another shot with Boyer and costar Jessica Tandy:



Happy Birthday and continued good health and happiness to our Ann Blyth!



Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Ann Blyth in MURDER, SHE WROTE - today on COZI-TV


Ann Blyth appeared in an episode of Murder, She Wrote called "Reflections of the Mind" in 1985. It was her last television acting role. It will be rerun today on the COZI-TV cable channel at 4 p.m. Eastern.  Check your cable provider listings.

The above photo shows Angela Lansbury, who stars as the mystery writer and sleuth, Jessica Fletcher, comforting her old pal, because Ann is going crazy, and tried to stab her husband, and maybe killed people. I'm not telling you here, but you can get more info on the episode - warning, with a spoiler -- at my post at Another Old Movie Blog here.  

This is from my book, Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star.:

Most especially enjoyable to fans was the matchup of Ann and Angela, who four decades earlier were both nominated in the same Best Supporting Actress category for the 1945 Oscars.  Ann, seventeen years old, had been nominated for Mildred Pierce.  Miss Lansbury, twenty years old, had been nominated for The Picture of Dorian Gray.  Both lost out to veteran actress Anne Revere.

A fond and teasing reference to their earlier careers must be the framed photograph we see at the very beginning of the episode of a young Ann and Angela standing together before what appears to be a microphone, possibly in the early 1950s.  


Martin Milner and Ben Murphy also appear in this episode.  Remember to tune in, or set your recorder!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Ann Blyth - Winner of Star of the Year - 1954


Ann Blyth was chosen as the Most Popular Actress of the Year by the readers of Modern Screen magazine for 1954, as Claire Trevor noted in a chat on the Lux Radio Theater episode we covered last week.  Above is a photo at the party handing out the awards, published in the February 1955 edition of Modern Screen.  Rock Hudson was chosen as Most Popular Actor that year.  Syndicated columnist Louella Parsons joins Ann and Rock in the above photo.

In her column for the magazine that month, Louella described the festivities at the Crown Room of Romanoff's restaurant.  She wrote:

Ann Blyth, looking like a big, beautiful doll in a blue taffeta cocktail dress with a slight bustle effect, and good-looking Rock Hudson in the proverbial black suit, were the center of attention, naturally.

Other guests at the party included Howard Keel, Tony Curtis, Tab Hunter, Shirley Jones, June Allyson and Dick Powel, Ann Sothern, and many others.  Barbara Stanwcyk was awarded  special "Star of Stars" award.

Have a look at this page from Modern Screen that lists the famous runners-up whom Ann beat out for the top honors of 1954:


Not too shabby company.  This issue of Modern Screen, and many others, are available online for viewing at the wonderful Internet Archive website.  Have a look at this link and enjoy browsing around a year's worth of issues from December 1954 to December 1955.

(Thanks to my pal, Ellen, for digging up this story for me.)


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Ann Blyth on radio in All About Eve


Ann Blyth played the notorious Eve Harrington in "All About Eve," an episode of Lux Radio Theater.  It's a fine performance, with the wonderful Claire Trevor as Margo Channing.  William Conrad, whom many Old Time Radio fans will recall did a lot of radio work and was splendid as radio's Matt Dillon in the original Gunsmoke plays Margo's lover Bill.  He's great in the part, battling and butting heads and throwing wisecracks.  Eve attempts to seduce him (only one of her many conquests, attempted or successful).   Here's the blurb from my book Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star.:

Lux Radio Theater.  November 23, 1954.  “All About Eve.”  Adaptation of the hit film about a conniving woman with ambitions for an acting career, no matter who she has to stab in the back.  Ann Blyth as Eve, with Claire Trevor, Don Randolph, William Conrad, Betty Lou Gerson, Carleton Young, Ruth Perrott, Eileen Robin, Herb Butterfield, and Edward Marr.

Conrad, Trevor, and Ann are terrific in this tightly-written adaptation for radio.  At the very end of the show, host Irving Cummings brings Ann and Claire Trevor out to the mic for a closing chat, and when Mr. Cummings marvels at Ann's work as an evil character, Claire remarks, "I'll never forget Ann's performance as the daughter in Mildred Pierce."  They joke a bit, and then Claire adds her congratulations to Ann for being chosen as the Most Popular Actress of the Year by Modern Screen magazine.

Now you can listen to the episode here on YouTube: Lux Radio Theater - All About Eve.


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid - a summertime sail


A leisurely summertime sail with Ann Blyth as the mermaid and William Powell as Mr. Peabody in Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid (1948).  Powell plays a man facing a mid-life crisis who catches the lovely mermaid while fishing, and so begins his ethereal, and hilarious, adventure.


William Powell is so entertaining and so sweet in his role, which is basically comic, but lends it such skillful depth and poignancy.  Ann Blyth’s work here is luminous and captivating.  It is a non-speaking role, but there is remarkable and touching eloquence in the way her eyes roam over his face, as if trying to read him, trying to understand his words and his facial expression.  Middle-aged Mr. Peabody is wondrous and fascinating to her, and her unlikely crush for him alone adds another level to the comedy, and the poignancy.  We can see why he might take a fancy to her, but her radiant and achingly silent adoration of him is charming.

Fortunately, the movie is apparently now available on DVD from Olive Films, but you can see it here on YouTube at the moment.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

All the Brothers Were Valiant - on TCM Saturday


Ann Blyth in a publicity photo with her co-stars Robert Taylor and Stewart Granger in All the Brothers Were Valiant (1953).  A tale of adventure on the high seas, and a love triangle, where Ann is caught between love for her new husband, played by Taylor, and her attraction for his ne-er do well brother, played by Granger.  The movie will be shown on Turner Classic Movies this coming Saturday, July 15th, at 6:30 a.m. Eastern.

From my book, Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star. -

A striking scene is when Granger takes her in his arms, and she forgets all about Robert Taylor, until she glances over Granger’s shoulder and sees her husband watching her.  She is shocked at how the scene must look to him, and she when she returns to their cabin, she cannot even adequately apologize, overwhelmed by shame.

The title is a phrase and family motto in the ship’s log, “All the brothers were valiant…and all the sisters were virtuous.”  She will have to earn back her husband’s trust, as he will have to earn back her respect.

For more on the story, have a look here at my post at Another Old Movie Blog.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Ann Blyth as Lady Liberty


Ann Blyth posed as the Statue of Liberty certainly fits the theme of America's Independence Day celebrations this week.  

We've recently looked at candid publicity photos taken by her home studio, Universal, showing Ann at home, but this photo above represents another part of the publicity chore: innumerable photo sessions in the studio with the actor or actress posed in any number of whimsical scenarios.  One of the most popular, or notorious, were the holiday-themed shots.

Teresa Wright, as we mentioned at my Another Old Movie Blog, famously put in her contract that she refused to do any silly photos with Easter bunnies, Thanksgiving Turkeys, or 4th of July rockets.  While Ann Blyth was cooperative with her studio, she, for her part, declined to do "cheesecake" photos, which seemed to be enormously popular with the studio photographers.  Ray Jones was head of the stills department at Universal.  From my book Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star.:

There were three dressing rooms in his studio where the stars were prepared for their photo shoots: for body makeup, for face and hair, and for clothes.  Grips worked under Jones’ direction to set the lights and enormous 8 x 10 view camera.

Ann Blyth recalled for the author that photo sessions usually lasted all day, and along with other stars, complimented Ray Jones on his ability to put his subjects at ease, to inspire their confidence.  They were placing their image, and whatever insecurity or doubtfulness they brought with them to the photo shoot, in his capable hands.

Jones remarked in a 1952 interview about photographing starlets:

“Of the current crop, Ann Blyth has the most perfect face to photograph.  She also has one of the best figures, but she won’t let me do cheesecake of her.”

Indeed, we might note of the photo above that Ann's picture as Lady Liberty is certainly not cheesecake, but more interestingly, beyond holding the famous position of the statue, she appears to be deeply focused in the moment of the representation.  She's not just posing; she's acting.

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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.


Also in paperback and eBook from Amazon.


Also in paperback from CreateSpace, and from my Etsy shop: LynchTwinsPublishing.