Jun 28, 2011

The Time I Saw Peter Falk in Person

When the news broke of Peter Falk’s passing, I remembered that I’d seen him in person many years ago.

I was thirteen years old and I was with my family in Hollywood. We were on a big California vacation. I was about a year into my classic Hollywood obsession and was very impressed by the footprints in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theater.

We somehow came upon the premiere of the Dan Akroyd-starring version of Dragnet one night. There was a huge crowd gathered around the red carpet, and the stars were starting to leave the building. I remember very little about who I saw, except for some of the cast of the sitcom Head of the Class. (I couldn’t believe how big their heads were. Now I think that might be a TV star thing.)

The only other star I remember seeing is Peter Falk. Everyone else had glided out of that theater with heads held up straight and big gleaming grins. Falk didn’t glide, he ambled. He had a sort of left-to-right gait that fit nicely with his friendly grin.

My mom said something about how rumpled he looked, and I remember being annoyed by that. He struck me as so likeable that I wanted to defend him. I thought “comfortable” was a better term. Falk looked at ease in his own skin. I didn’t know at the time that he had a glass eye, but I noticed the droop on that side. It made him look like he was constantly winking, which added to his appeal.

Of all the things from that night that I can no longer remember, I haven't forgotten one moment of his walk down the red carpet. His warm, friendly demeanor made me love him instantly, and while I couldn’t put it into words at the time, I began to understand the sort of charisma that made an actor a star.

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Jun 27, 2011

Commenting Problems

I haven't been able to respond to comments on Classic Movies for the past few days. Everytime I try, I get sent back to the Blogger sign-in page. If I don't respond to you, it isn't for lack of trying! If anyone else has had this problem here or on another blog, I'd be curious to know, especially if you have found a way to fix it. I'm horrible at tech issues!

Jun 26, 2011

Quote of the Week

Attempt the impossible in order to improve your work.

-Bette Davis

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Jun 19, 2011

What Would Audrey Have Thought About that $4 Million Bid?

Thanks to a link from Clara of Via Margutta 51, I managed to catch part of the Debbie Reynolds movie memorabilia auction last night. It was a fascinating, if sad event and it was interesting to see what collectors where willing to pay for random things like Charlton Heston’s rags from the prison scene in Planet of the Apes (thousands of dollars for what looks like a torn burlap bag?).

I missed most of the really big items, like Marilyn Monroe’s white dress from The Seven Year Itch, but I did see the auction of Audrey Hepburn’s white lace dress from the race scene in My Fair Lady. I expected the gown to make a lot of money, but I was stunned to see the figure rise to nearly four million dollars. At first, I found that high bid exciting. I thought it was nice to see a piece of movie history valued that much. I also felt happy that Debbie Reynolds would be making some much needed money off the piece to pay off her debt. Then I thought of Audrey Hepburn.

What would Audrey have thought about that multi-million dollar bid? She saw so much poverty and suffering in her work as a UNICEF ambassador. Part of the reason the plight of these people touched her so deeply, was that she had suffered herself during World War II, and it was that kind of aid that helped to save her life.

Four million dollars could save a lot of lives. Would it have bothered Audrey that it went towards a bit of fabric and ribbon made valuable simply because she wore it so charmingly?

Here’s more information about the auction:

NBC Philadelphia(via @viam51 on Twitter)
LA Times

I hope it was a relief for Debbie Reynolds to get some of that weight off her shoulders. I’m grateful to her for going to so much effort to preserve these important pieces of movie history. Despite what I have written about Audrey and her dress, I do appreciate that there are so many who value these pieces, for whatever reason, and who will continue to preserve them.

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Quote of the Week

Success is a two-bladed golden sword; it knights one and stabs one at the same time.

-Mae West

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Jun 12, 2011

Quote of the Week

D.W. Griffith. . .didn’t have time to see pictures. He was too busy making them.

-Lillian Gish

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Jun 5, 2011

Quote of the Week

Hollywood is a place where they place you under contract instead of observation.

-Walter Winchell

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