Quotes from the Stars of Old Hollywood
I almost always have my nose stuck in an Old Hollywood biography or autobiography and one of my favorite things is quotes from the stars, themselves. Truth be told, I fairly obsess over them. I have multiple notebooks I use for filmography study, movie quotes/rankings, etc, as well as research and study on individual stars. Rounding up and enjoying their quotes is one of my favorite things
The quote, below, from the incomparable Rita Moreno is one of my favorites. I love the attitude, I love the sass, and (most of all), I love the TRUTH!
Carole Lombard, Twentieth Century (1934)
After filming of Twentieth Century (Amazon dvd link) ended, John Barrymore gave Carole Lombard an autographed photo he’d autographed with a tribute she must’ve treasured: “To the finest actress I have worked with, bar none.”
What an absolutely beautiful compliment – and a testament to the professionalism and talent of Carole Lombard.
“There are five stages in the life of an actor: Who’s Mary Astor? Get me Mary Astor. Get me a Mary Astor Type. Get me a young Mary Astor. Who’s Mary Astor?” ~ Mary Astor
With all due respect to this outstanding actress, it’s impossible to imagine anyone EVER asking, “Who’s Mary Astor?”
This lovely and powerfully talented actress has a filmography that includes The Maltese Falcon, Meet Me in St. Louis, Little Women, and Across the Pacific.
If you aren’t familiar with this wonderful actress, I hope you’ll make a point to see more of her films as soon as possible. She will leave quite an impression on you.
This, I promise.
Bob Hope: My Life in Jokes
One of my favorite entertainers of all time is synonymous with the word, itself: Bob Hope. The man was simply brilliant in everything he did – every word, every joke, every film… brilliant.
Not only was Bob Hope a wonderful actor and entertainer, like some of my other favorites, he was also all class – with some to spare. James Stewart, Bob Hope, Lucille Ball, Hattie McDaniel, Maureen O’Hara, Olivia de Havilland… some stars were such high quality people that it makes being a fan as easy as an autumn breeze.
The book above, Bob Hope: My Life in Jokes by Bob Hope with Linda Hope is one of my all-time favorite books in my collection. It’s like sitting down in your favorite chair with a hot cup of tea (or tall glass of iced raspberry tea, depending on the season) and having Bob Hope, himself, stand in the middle of your room making you laugh until your sides ache.
“I was destined to be an actor. The day I was born, I stood up and took a bow. Really. When the doctor slapped me, I thought it was applause “
The stories, jokes, and vintage Bob Hope self-deprecating humor are such a joy, I’m really at a loss for words. If you, or anyone in your life loves to laugh, this book is a must have…. if you love to laugh and are a fan of the wonderful Bob Hope, Bob Hope: My Life in Jokes is an absolute MUST HAVE.
To comedians, ‘material’–their jokes–has always been precious, worthy of protecting and preserving. On stage, a good vaudeville routine could last years as it was performed on tour across the country. On radio, a year’s vaudeville material might be fodder for one week’s broadcast. Bob Hope used new material not only for his weekly radio series, but also for the several live charity appearances he made each week.
Organized by the stages of his life, accompanied by black-and-white photographs, this book gives readers a chance to enjoy the very best of Hope’s jokes, from his early years in vaudeville, his top-rated radio show in the ’30s and ’40s, his legendary television appearances, and much more.
Bob Hope’s wonderful, one-of-a-kind personality comes shining through on every page of this delightful and fun book.
“I knew the troops would be glad to see me. I said, ‘Look at me, fellas, these are the kind of clothes you’ll be wearing when you get home!’ Fifty guys re-enlisted.”
About the Authors
Bob Hope was in the forefront of the entertainment industry for virtually his entire life. Primarily a comedian, he also acted, sang, and even danced, hosted his own radio and television shows, and starred in sixty movies. Bob Hope’s dedication to and love for the American GI is legendary. He traveled around the world to entertain the men and women in uniform during World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and Desert Storm. No individual in the history of show business journeyed so far–and so often–to entertain so many. He received more than two thousand awards and citations for his humanitarian and professional efforts, and was honored and befriended by every U.S. president since Franklin Roosevelt.
Linda Hope, Bob and Dolores Hope’s daughter, is chief operating officer of Hope Enterprises, Inc., and producer of her father’s television specials for the last twenty-five years.
“Jobs didn’t come easy. For months at a time, I forgot what kind of work I was out of.”
Bob Hope: My Life in Jokes is absolutely hilarious and would make a perfect gift idea for anyone. They broke the mold when Bob Hope came along and this collection is a perfect reminder of this very fact.
I’ll be writing more about Georgia Hale’s Biography/Autobiography, “Charlie Chaplin: Intimate Close-Ups” in future posts. I cherish this particular book a great deal. Not only are Georgia Hale and Charlie Chaplin two of my personal favorites, it’s very difficult to get my hands on Georgia Hale information, photographs, or collectibles. Her career (while dazzling) was very, very brief and there simply isn’t a lot out there.
Needless to say, this book is a very prized possession. It’s a wonder I don’t keep it under lock and key!
For those who may not know, Georgia Hale loved Charlie Chaplin a great deal. She spent most of her adult life loving him. They never married and the extent of his affections for Georgia can only be guessed at. He seemed to have a great deal of affection for her, on one hand, but on the other hand? Wedding rings… to other women.
As I often say on this Old Hollywood blog, I am not here to judge, nor would I ever attempt to. There had to be something strong and very real in their relationship or Georgia simply wouldn’t have loved him as strongly as she did. This much I’m certain of.
You know, unlike Georgia, a lot is written about Charlie Chaplin. Sadly, it isn’t all favorable. However, within one quote in her book, Georgia has (in my opinion) tied all the pieces of his complex and beguiling personality together…. as, really, only she could.
I can’t possibly even BEGIN to tell you how much I love this quote about Charlie Chaplin by Georgia Hale: “If Charles Chaplin carried within him many contradictions, was tender-hearted, cruel, sensitive, child-like, a poseur, all of these qualities were part of his creative spirit.”
When I first read this quote, it struck me that this type of approach could be taken with many of our favorite Old Hollywood actors and actresses. So many of these wonderful stars behaved and even thought along some pretty original and inexplicable lines. Yet… the qualities we can’t often get our heads around are, as Georgia so eloquently said, part of their creative spirit.
(In 2004, referring to King Kong) “He (Merian C. Cooper) called me into his office and showed me sketches of jungle scenes and told me, ‘You’re going to have the tallest, darkest leading man in Hollywood.’ Naturally, I thought Clark Gable. But then he showed me this sketch of a giant ape up the side of the Empire State Building, and he said, ‘There’s your leading man.'”
“Right after The Wedding March (1928), everything happened at once. Sound was coming in, and color was being used for the first time. It was very exciting to be a part of it.”
(About The Wedding March) “That movie meant a lot to me; my heart was right up in my throat.”
(About King Kong) “When my youngest daughter first saw the film, she said, ‘Kong wasn’t trying to hurt you, he was just trying to protect you,’ which was right.”
(About The Wedding March) “I still love that film, Erich von Stroheim was a wonderful human being, and he took a chance on me. I was only 19 when I did the screen test, but he saw something in me. After 75 years, it’s still one of the happiest experiences of my life. And it was a nice part, wasn’t it?”
“I was known as the queen of the Bs. If only I’d been a little more selective.”
“King Kong is my friend. He’s been my public relations man for years. It was an extraordinarily good role, but the richness of the role that I had in The Wedding March appealed to me more and that’s very understandable, I think, since there weren’t many nuances in the King Kong role. That was a fantasy, and there was a broadness to it that seemed unreal.”
This great-looking James Dean Tin Sign features one of his greatest (and tragically ironic) quotes: “If a man can bridge the gap between life and death, and if he can live on after he’s dead, then maybe he was a great man.”
The 16″ x 12″ sign pictures one of my favorite pictures of James Dean.
When I read this quote again today (for probably the millionth time), it occurred to me how eerily similar he and Marilyn Monroe were and are. Both are huge legends – so huge, in fact, that huge doesn’t even seem to cover it. I searched my mental reserves for a larger, more appropriate adjective but none would serve any better than huge, so I did the next best thing.
I made it bold. STILL not enough for these two!
They’re household names and faces, even among people who have never seen a single scene from one of their movies.
Another thing they, obviously, have in common is the tragic ending to each legend’s life. Both died needlessly and far too soon. James Dean was only 24 when the car wreck took his life. 24! It boggles the mind to think of the things this actor would have gone on to accomplish. He was unspeakably talented and, let’s face it, had more spark on screen than most actors.
Whatever “it” is, both he and Marilyn were dripping in it.
The final thing they had in common is their insight and wisdom. It comes through in their quotes. Each was far brighter than probably even they realized and spending time with them leaves me feeling so cheated. What movies, pictures, and quotes could these huge personalities have gone on to bless us with.
The world is a brighter and better place because James Dean and Marilyn Monroe once walked among us.
Take a closer look at the James Dean Tin Sign pictured here.