Dedicated to musical classic film stars of the 30s-50s, ReelJewels.com has been around since October 2000. Please look around and enjoy while the site is being rebuilt.
WHEN you hear that Don Ameche attended four universities, you immediately think, “Whew! What an educated gent!” And just before you visualize pictures of him completely surrounded by cap and gown, sheepskin, et al, he’ll up and tell you that he didn’t graduate from one of them. Don had the desire for book larnin’, but he jest nat’urally weren’t a scholar.
by Hedda Hopper
Chicago Sunday Tribune
September 14, 1952
When he isn’t making a picture he’s out meeting the public and winning friends for Hollywood and himselfBy Hedda HopperAmerican movie goers have found John Payne. With the exception of Gene Autry, I doubt whether any other star has topped him in visiting cities, meeting more people, and selling himself and his pictures. Long before Movietime U. S. A. came into being, John, usually with a troupe of entertainers, was on the road creating goodwill and understanding between Hollywood and it’s public. He’s played as many as 23 cities in 17 days, making from five to ten appearances in each town, besides giving innumerable interviews to press and radio. His shows are usually tied in with some local organization such as the chamber of commerce for a children’s hospital. On one tour of our southern states, John helped raise 670,000 for the Community Chest.
by Ida Zeitlin Modern Screen December 1942 John Payne's mother has just spent a month with him in Hollywood—her first visit. It's hard to uproot her from her Virginia home. But when John phoned and said, "Mom, I've got this beach house now, so why don't you come out...
THEY were saying goodbye to him, and the words weren’t phony. The lump in the throat was really there. Hollywood knew Uncle Sam was getting a man. Not that we’d win the war just because Payne was in it; not that the services weren’t full of as good and better guys—he’d be the first to say that. Just that he had some convictions and a hell of a good right arm … A lot of things must have crowded his mind, as he packed, as he put away one life, prepared for another.
by Jack Haley
Fox Publicity Department
Do I hear a dissenting voice, my friends?
Do you folks mean to tell me that you don’t believe a gent (pardon the expression, but the old Haley dander is up) can really go about his ways and lead a sweet, normal average man’s existence in glamorous Hollywood, city of make-believe, the cardboard cut-up of the country, the state of the cine-coma which you have been misled to believe is the place where people make up even to go to sleep?
Well, kiddies, you’re badly mistaken. So stop rattling your toys while Pop Haley tells you a bedtime story about the true Hollywood and once and or all banish those nightmares.
by Maggie Savoy
Los Angeles Times
August 16, 1970
Jack Haley Sr. the Tin Woodman who skipped along with Judy Garland to find his heart and the Wizard of Oz, is now 70, rich, famous, happy, and loving.
And wise: He knows the worth of a penny.
He sits at the Brown Derby, caressing a cup of coffee (lunch is a no-no), caressing his memories (he writes a chapter every now and then) and signing autographs for kids whose parents were kids when he and Judy and the Cowardly Lion and the Scarecrow skipped “off to see the Wizard, the wonderful Wizard of Oz.”
by Katharine Hartley
SEE THAT man over there?” said Dick, nodding across the room. “He has a new baby, too. At the hospital he had the room across from ours.”
The room across from ours! Well, in a way, that foolish-sounding statement was true, for when one Joan Blondell Powell gave birth to one Ellen Powell, weighing eight pounds six ounces, on June 30th, Papa Powell just about moved into the hospital, too.
by Keith Monroe
Up, up, up goes Dick Powell’s stock, followed closely by Dick Powell’s plane—followed by loud wails from Junie Allyson
Harry Cohn, the all-powerful boss of Columbia pictures, turned maroon. “What?” he roared. “You mean you’re flying planes on Sundays?”
Dick Powell’s face hardened into the blank, tough-guy expression his movie audiences know so well. “Right,” he said in a flat voice. “I am flying on Sundays.”
“You gotta quit! I won’t have you taking chances while you’re working in a Columbia picture!”
“Then you’ll have to get yourself another boy,” murmured Powell nonchalantly. “Because I am going to keep on flying.”
by Johnny Green
A famous orchestra leader turns author and sheds a new light on an old friend— Fred Astaire—gagster, ribber, screwball
TO a comparative few of us has been given the fun of knowing well the Astaire who makes the Astaire you know tick. Not a smart international citizen, a cosmopolite in top hat, white tie and tails, equally at home in London as in New York, in Hollywood as on the Continent, but a great big kid with a simple, boyish and totally delightful sense of humor —that’s the Fred I know!
ANYONE who knows him will tell you that Fred’s the “worryingest” man in town. Although he is the acknowledged best male dancer in or out of captivity, Astaire always wonders whether or not he’s good. Even after seeing his picture, he isn’t quite convinced, nor does the critic’s unstinted praise reassure him too much. Probably the reason he’s so good is because he is so conscientious.
by Hedda Hopper
The Chicago Tribune
April 2, 1950
George Murphy not only believes something in Hollywood. He does something about it.
Few men in motion pictures have done more for the industry than George. And his job is just beginning.
“I’d like to make a movie pretty soon, so I could get a rest,” he says. Asked whether he still practices his dancing, George replies, “How can you practice dancing in an airplane? There’s a law against it.”
George usually is either embarking from or arriving at Hollywood. In the last year he has traveled thousands of mile, from Seattle to Dublin, Ireland, in behalf of the town and the industry he loves. His renumeration? Nothing. He does it from the heart.
ELEANOR POWELL has a way of winning every tap dancing contest she puts her toe into. In fact, she’s been female champ for four years now. And it is surely an honest-to-goodness fair contest, for the judges sit under the stage and listen to the tap routines. In this way, beauty, personality or both don’t count—just fine and accurate stepping.
by Dorothy Deere
SO YOU think your weekend with the Hopes is going to be a howling affair with your comic host springing trap doors and slipping rubber olives into the Martinis? Then you have a surprise in store. For the howls will be tempered to smiles in this home run on graciousness, even though it was built on gags.
First of all, there’s the informal sort of street in the Toluca Lake district which runs to both snug cottages and to large walled-in dwellings. Bob’s home is one of the larger ones. But its stucco wall has a friendly look with its soft tangle of ivy. Inside the gate young Tony Hope, in levis, is pursuing a bounding puppy across the lawn.
I USED to wonder,” cracks Crosby, “whether Hope was born or his mother knitted him.” Statistics prove he was born. Happened in England in 1904, but a Cleveland, O., up-bringing is responsible for that remunerative sense of humor. It earns him about $400,000 annually—about $150,000 from radio, the rest from Paramount, where he makes all those “Road” movies.
by Joseph Henry Steele
HIS favorite Scotch joke is the one about, the Scotchman who sat up all night and watched his wife’s vanishing cream.
He considers the most foolish act of his life the time he rejected his first radio offer because “radio would never amount to anything.” He recalls, wistfully, that he lost five years before he began to get his share of the ether bonanza.