Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween!

I've been waiting for months to do this! Crepe beard is not easy to work with, and it has been a long time since I smeared spirit gum on my face! The color photo is the first of the day, while the next of me is after I had fixed the mustache part so I could eat and so it looked a trifle more natural. I've been in this get up since 10am and I am going to a night class in theology dressed as Rasputin. Yup. Isn't that ironic?

For your other pleasure, please find Lionel Barrymore's "Halloween" suite!  

My button and ribbon to clarify I'm not Hagrid :)

The Man himself in 1932.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

A baby Barrymore. That is all.

Lionel Barrymore, c. 1880-1881. Age 2 or 3.

That is all.

Muchísimas gracias a Jorge Finkielman for the photo repair!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The funnier articles on LB: Reputation? Pah!

I'm reminded that Mr. B (and John) were not the most protective of their reputations and careers in terms of publicity, so I decided after reading a funny note on Lionel Barrymore's Pants in Key Largo that I'd link a few of the funnier (sometimes irresponsible) articles I've found on Mr B here. Trust me, some are quite amusing! Some are just dense, few actually mean. And the few that mention Lionel Barrymore was only a ham--well, suh, my card! :)

Lionel Barrymore's Pants (Uncredited)
I liked this piece from Calliope Crashes (found it after a few google search clicks past page one, sorry guy!). In part, I like it because it reminded me how Key Largo sent me spinning off into Lionel-Land on research and so forth. It's also pretty amusing, and yeah, in that film in particular LB has some serious pants going on!

Eleanor Roosevelt gets LB Fired 
When Eleanor Roosevelt Got MGM to Fire Lionel Barrymore From a Pro-Bomb Epic
This article from The Nation in May of 2013 tells a semi-well known story of Mrs. Roosevelt asking that Lionel Barrymore be replaced in the part of FDR for an upciming film, because of her perception he was anti-Roosevelt. While he was more conservative politically than (conceivably) John was, LB notes himself in We Barrymores that even if he did stump for Al Smith in a speech rather grandiosely, the response would have been as good as he gave. Indeed, during that period (1944ish), some newspapers excoriated democratic party wonks for commenting negatively on Barrymore's disability. It was a weird time, folks!

Hot Cross Bunny (Warners, Bugs Bunny)
DailyMotion video of cartoon
In this cartoon, the inimitable Bugs imitates several tropes and types after he is threatened with having a chicken brain transplanted into him. He imitates LB as Mayor of the Town and Dr Gillespie :), complete with glasses, snuffles, snorts, and wheelchair. (It helps if you have heard LB's extensive radio work. The scene is at about the 3 minute mark.

More to come as I dig them out. Some are tedious, though...perhaps it's best to leave with Bugs and Lionel, wheeling away!


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

"An unbelievable number of pictures."

I came across an interesting 1937 telegram about all 3 Barrymores :

In terms of film production, as Mr B the elder's film career began in 1911, it would be difficult nowadays to attain the 200+ films he completed during his 42 year filmic career. It would be nigh on impossible to make 40+ in one year with any quality at all as Biograph did in the teens, and as Lionel did in 1913.

But even after his feature film roles began, Mr B was far more prolific than his siblings, and not only for Metro Goldwyn Mayer, the studio with whom he signed in 1926 (and with whom he remained until his death in 1954). He would be loaned out at great expense for the borrowing studio when MGM felt willing to let him work for others. Another note post 1938 disablement mentions that MGM kept their valuable and loyal character star busy about 50 weeks a year.

Now, it's true Ethel was not as well known to the film-only viewer, but it is not necessarily true she was not very famous.  Hard to believe,  but it was not John or Lionel's health reported on huge lighted  signs, but their sister's.  Lionel's divorce did make front page news in 1922 in at least one paper, but Ethel Barrymore was very famous from her teens. Then, on her second attempt in films, she would go on to win an Oscar for The Corn is Green (much after the 1932 romp with her brothers), making her and Lionel the only brother and sister winners in Oscar history.

The note does show the sense Ethel was perhaps a little past her best, but she would prove all doubters wrong. John would indeed get the above rate for a while longer, but Lionel, MGM's longest-term ever signing, would continue to draw at least a guaranteed  $3000 a week until his death, with the occasional bonus from other studios, carefully parceled out to him to avoid tax liens. Both brothers died owing taxes,  however,  thanks to bad financial planning and a laissez-faire attitude about both taxea and money.

I've learned more than I wanted to about film producing and performer financials, especially in the studio contract years. Also interesting,  the agent Mr. B mentions in We Barrymores, Morris (Maury) Small, represented Ethel in the 30s as well.  La Barrymore went through a great number of agents,  however, always in search of the best deal.

Here's to you all, Lionel, Ethel, and John-- Mike, Ee-thel, and Jake!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

BOOM. "Mike" drop! Mr Cantonwine, signed.

Delivered today. Let there be Lionel-joy. (Mike was LB's nickname, at least with brother John.) First (and only) edition,  signed. Thank you,  Mr B! 

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Throwback Thursday: Blythe/Barrymore bone structure!

It's been a hectic October for this intrepid blogger,  not least due to some vision problems!  So to treat myself,  I threw together a triptych of the Barrymore boys. I'm intrigued by the fact I can't see a real resemblance between Lionel and John unless they're both smiling,  but I can see some of Maurice in both:

Now,  you can see some of dad in all three, if you look closely:

 But observe mom Georgiana, as well:

Lionel's eyes are obviously blue, whereas his siblings' are dark. His eyes are also slightly cat-like, where Ethel's seem wide and John's a little dreamy or suspicious. All three inherited Maurice's dimples, and in smiling the brothers look very similar indeed.  In the quite famous family photos of 1932, each sibling is caught smiling and the smiles are quite similar and beguiling. I'll have to dig those out, but in the meantime,  check these out,  smiles and all:

The Mysterious Island 

C. 1924

C. 1932

I think they look quite similar here.  Same look and small smile, same couture!
That's it for now,  although I've posted on FB a lovely side by side comparison of the brothers grinning rather wickedly,  looking very alike in two separate films.

Well,  darnit, someone had to do it!  :)

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Donald Duck / Lionel Barrymore & more!: 1939's The Autograph Hound

So I had seen the sketches for what I then did not know was 1939's The Autograph Hound, a Disney cartoon about Donal Duck seeking various stars' autographs--Lionel Barrymore makes a very brief 1.5 second appearance, and that is what the sketches were for!  Here's the best I could pull and I'll link the cartoon as well:

His eyes are probably close to his true-blue own ones, and his hair is typically mussed--he had just started the Kildare series of films. He has one word: "Donald". It's filled with lots of people, and Mickey Rooney in particular has a largish scene with Donald.

The sketches I originally saw are the two above.

All part of the service!

Archival newspaper labors: 1893, The Rivals & 1914 film discovery

LA Herald Sept 9, 1893. Lionel was 15.
So while asking for online help for a 1914 newly re-unearthed LB film, I was told about the California newspaper online archive, and a quick search gave me THIS above: a Los Angeles Herald review of Mrs. John Drew's staging of The Rivals in September of 1893--the very one Mr B speaks of being miserable performing in at age 15 as "Mrs. Drew's grandson" and after which the role of Thomas was cut from the play and he was kindly fired by his grandmother, to stay on with the troupe "making drinks" for his uncle Sidney Drew. Note the presence of Lionel's future father in law, McKee Rankin, and sister in law, Phyllis Rankin.

I'm probably beyond obsessed, but it is SO awesome to find validation and in some cases even information that had been lost. For example, the film I was seeking information on is not in Mr B's official AFI (crappy AFI, I should say) filmography, nor in Wiki (I can fix that), BUT it was in IMDb: The Bartered Crown, released January 10, 1914, starring LB and Betty Gray in a melodrama. I only found it because I was surfing for 1914 information and it popped up in a trade magazine, then I found the Biograph ad:

I love my avocation. I love my job, too, and I love I have a nice cozy place to curl up when I need to nod off after hours at work because I stayed put researching and making notes.

Say goodnight, Lionel:
Edit of Romance of Elaine ad