Two months after James Dean's fatal car crash, photographer Sanford Roth (1906 - 1962) penned this reminiscence of his unique friendship with this actor so many years his junior:
"Dean was what Hollywood loosely labels a nonconformist, an individualist in the Brando stripe. He wasn't easy to know."
"Our movies are becoming more blatantly obsessed with sex. Ten years ago it was unthinkable for a Hollywood picture to show a couple in bed together - even a husband and wife, since this violated an unwritten taboo of the industry's self-regulating Productions Code. Today it is not surprising to see two people embracing, in varying stages of dishabille... As motion picture critic of The New York Times and as one who has watched American movies from the 'silent' days, I can truthfully say I have never seen them so unnecessarily loaded with stuff that is plainly meant to shock."
Click here to read more about the destruction of taboos in American pop-culture...
Schwab's Pharmacy was like many other well-heeled American pharmacies of the Forties - it filled prescriptions, sold cigars, served three squares a day at their counter and cracked-wise with the clientele. What made it different was that many of the customers were among the most glam movie stars of the time. Located on Sunset Boulevard, west of Hollywood, in an area known as Sherman:
"It's the one place in Hollywood where screen biggies like Robert Taylor, Gene Tierney and Marlene Dietrich drop in and out all day and make themselves at home."
Here is a 1937 article that reminds us that there wasn't anything left to chance or improvisation under the old studio system:
"One of the oldest newspaper publicity devices is the 'leg display'. Resorted to chiefly by actresses whose press agents want them to break into print, it consists of nothing more than arriving in New York aboard an ocean liner and letting news photographers do the rest."
The adoration of the Feminine Leg began some twenty yeras earlier with the flappers; click here to read more on this topic...
In this early Sixties article, celebrity epistolarianne Cyndi Adams recalled her first two encounters with the man who would be "Felix Unger":
"'I am definitely neurotic and psychotic,' cheerily announced Tony Randall (1920 - 2004) the first time we met - 'he's an actor-comedian of remarkable skills...he unconsciously reflects, in the way he plays his rolls, so much of the neurotic age we live in...'".
The New York Times would pursue this point to a further degree in their 2004 obituary of the actor:
"That's the force Tony Randall embodied: he represented, in his neurotic grandeur, our national will to unhappiness. Or if not our will, at least our right, which in the 50's we were only beginning to realize we could exercise."