THE JIMMY STEWART MUSEUM

The Jimmy Stewart Museum is situated in James Stewart’s home town of Indiana, Pennsylvania. It’s on the third floor of the Indiana Public Library on Philadelphia Street.

Memorabilia from Jimmy’s childhood, military career and his films are on display, including a Winchester rifle and a propeller blade signed by the cast and crew of The Flight of the Phoenix.

The museum opened in 1995, with  his daughters, Kelly and Judy in attendance.

There is a 1930s style vintage movie theatre in the museum, with a sound and projection system donated by Universal Studios.

Near to the museum is Jimmy’s birthplace, childhood home and his family’s former hardware store. And a bronze statue of Jimmy.

In 1996 the Harvey Award was inaugurated by the James M. Stewart Museum Foundation, and June Allyson was the first recipient of the award. The award is presented on Jimmy’s birthday in May. Previous recipients have included Janet Leigh, Shirley Jones and  Ernest Borgnine.

The museum has an online store at http://jimmy.org

Indiana is a small town in rural Pennsylvania, but visitors come from far and wide to see where James Stewart grew up and to visit the museum on the third floor.

James and Gloria Stewart

 

 

 

PHOTO OF THE DAY: THE KILLERS

Love this on-the-set shot from THE KILLERS, with director Robert Siodmak and producer Mark Hellinger conversing at the back, while that dynamic duo, Charles McGraw and William Conrad  look as if they are still in character and thinking, “Wish these two boneheads  would stop jawing and we could get on with the scene!”

Charles McGraw on Television


Being a fan of CHARLES MCGRAW, I was curious to see something of his two forays into television in the  mid 1950s.

Warner Brothers got into television production in 1955, starting with an anthology series called “Warner Brothers Presents”.

The first of 20 series which Warner Brothers Televsion produced between 1955 and 1963 included THE ADVENTURES OF THE FALCON, KINGS ROW and CHEYENNE.

Jack  Warner’s son-in-law, William T. Orr was the executive producer of all the shows.

Of the first three,only “Cheyenne” succeeded.

“Kings Row” had only 7 episodes made, with Jack  Kelly in the Robert Cummings role and Robert Horton in the part played in the original film by Ronald Reagan.

(I was interested to read that actor Paul Stewart directed three episodes of Kings Row.)

Charles McGraw was cast in “The Adventures of the Falcon” which managed 39 episodes before disappearing from the schedules.

Around 25 of the half hour episodes are available on You Tube, which is where I viewed a few.

The character of The Falcon has a long history dating back to 1936 , including books , a ten year radio series and various films starring George Sanders and his  brother,Tom Conway.

From what I’ve been able to find out, an author called Drexel Drake created  a crime fighter called The Falcon in 1936, with three books. Then in 1940, writer Michael Arlen wrote another story about the Falcon.

Over the years, the Falcon had several names – Gay Stanhope Falcon, Gay Laurence, Tom Laurence . Charles McGraw introduced himself as ,”I’m  Mike Waring, alias The Falcon.”

What’s funny is that no explanation is ever given for the Falcon alias, other than that first name.

Described as radio’s most debonair detective. I doubt anybody would describe Charles McGraw as debonair! (George Sanders fitted the bill on the big screen.) But the character written for Television had lost all his charm and wit and become McGraw-serious .

Topically, set in the 50s Cold War era,McGraw is an espionage agent who travels the   World ( and various parts of America) as a trouble shooter for Army Intelligence. ( On the radio and in the Falcon films, the character had been a freelance detective, an insurance investigator and a government operative!)

Of course everything was filmed in Hollywood.

The episodes are heavily action driven, with little chance for more than broad characterisation. There are no sidekicks or any friends for the audience to build up a rapport with. So McGraw has little to do but speak the lines and wind up the story each week.

With better writing, I’m sure McGraw could have put  his stamp on the character.

The show was like a who’s who of Hollywood supporting characters – Douglas Fowley, Paul Fix,Percy Helton, Evelyn Ankers,June Vincent, Ted De Corsia and so many more.

When the show didn’t survive amongst all the shows being made at the time, Warner Brothers didn’t give up on McGraw.

They dusted off their most famous film, CASABLANCA, and cast McGraw in the lead. Perhaps fearing Bogart comparisons, the lead character was called Rick Jason, not Blaine. And his club became ‘Club American’, not ‘Rick’s Cafe Americain.’

 

Charles McGraw,Anita  Ekberg. CASABLANCA.

With a nod to the original classic,Dan Seymour was cast as Senor Ferrari (Sydney Greenstreet in the film), and  Marcel Dalio became Capt. Renault- having played the croupier in the film.)

Clarence Muse, who had auditioned for the part of ‘Sam’ in 1942, finally got to play the pianist in the TV series.

 

Anita Ekberg, Clarence Muse

 

The series alternated with “Kings Row ” and “Cheyenne ” as part of Warner Brothers Presents .

The show only lasted 10 episodes , and I think only the first episode  can be seen as an extra on one of the film’s DVD releases.

I haven’t seen it myself , but reviews are not great.

With an hour long format, Warners promoted their cinema releases in the last 10 minutes.

As far as I know, some  of the original sets and props were used.

 

David Soul

Warner Brothers tried again with  Casablanca in the 1970s, with even less success. David Soul played the Bogart character.

 

Humphrey Bogart

There’s only one Rick Blaine.

SEND FOR ROYAL DANO

ROYAL DANO, as ‘Corey’ in Johnny Guitar.(John Carradine in background.)

ROYAL DANO (1922- 1994).Tall (6′ 2″), usually gaunt, care-worn, with a hang- dog expression and a deep, sonorous voice.

However  small the role, Dano stood out. Some actors have presence and he was one of them. Always solid support to the stars of a film, he inhabited his characters with pathos and believability.

Royal Dano ( his  real name and  isn’t it memorable) played Abraham Lincoln on television in 1952, and in 1964 became the voice of Lincoln at Disneyland.

The vinyl record talks about the “authentic, sincere, almost homespun quality of Dano’s voice….”

 

The above shot is from SADDLE THE WIND, in which he is memorable as the Civil War veteran  who stands up to Robert Taylor’s villainous brother,John Cassavetes.

 

Not much of a role for Royal in BEND OF THE RIVER. He and Harry Morgan back Arthur Kennedy in the confrontation with the settlers.

 

Dano’s films were mainly westerns, so it was a nice surprise to see him in a modern role in CRIME OF PASSION, as a fellow police officer of Sterling  Hayden. ( Above with Hayden and Barbara Stanwyck.)

 

Another shot from Crime Of Passion.

 

 

A soulful, sensitive face. As one of Scott Brady’s gang in JOHNNY  GUITAR, his character, the sickly Corey,  was a sharp contrast to Ernest Borgnine.

He also appeared in TRIBUTE TO A BAD MAN, TROOPER HOOK,MOBY DICK and MAN OF THE WEST.

Moby Dick

Another small but memorable part as the ‘prophet’ Elijah in MOBY DICK who warns Richard Basehart not to join Ahab’s voyage.

Dano was very active, mainly in television up to 1990, appearing in nearly every TV western of the time.

 

Royal’s son pre -deceased him by just 3 months.

A fine actor who probably deserved bigger roles. Another of the great supporting actors Classic  Hollywood was famous for.

Imagine Royal Dano and John Qualen on screen, saying nothing , but looking at us the way only they can, plus Julie London singing ‘Cry Me A River’ in the back ground. No, it’s too much!

Anthony Mann, Royal Dano, Gary Cooper.MAN OF THE WEST

 

 

JACK ELAM: HIGH NOON

 

Jack Elam had two days work on HIGH NOON as Charlie,  the town drunk. I doubt he realised it would become a classic.

What I didn’t know was that Jack’s role was intended to be slightly bigger.  As he tells it,

I got two days work, and there was about half a day with Cooper and me. What a gentleman he was…..there was a full minute of me in the bar doing the drunken clown act – they were going to cut back and forth between me and the gunfight.” 

Jack Elam, Gary Cooper

Jack’s only scene in the film, as Kane releases him from jail.

 

Jack Elam in the cut scene. all alone in the saloon,helping himself.

Apparently, shooting had finished, but after editing and the first print, it was decided to resume filming with new cast member Elam.

Lee Van Cleef

This was Lee Van Cleef’s first film, and although he didn’t have any dialogue, his presence was powerful. The whole gang made you understand the town’s fear – Robert Wilke, Sheb Wooley and Ian MacDonald (as Frank Miller). Some fans thought the part of Miller should have gone to a more well known actor, but Macdonald was fine.

 

Sheb Wooley, Ian MacDonald,Lee Van Cleef, Robert Wilke.

 

The quality of High Noon proves that a big budget isnt always necessary to produce a first class film. Gary Cooper must have liked the script and been aware of director Fred Zinnemann’s talent. Cooper didn’t take his usual big salary, instead opting for a share of the profits. No way could he have thought the part would win him a second Oscar.

 

The film was shot in 4 weeks, helped no doubt by Zinnemann’s extensive use of storyboarding.

Tex Ritter, in my opinion, owns that song, ‘Do Not Forsake Me,Oh My Darlin’ ‘. Written by Dimitri Tiomkin and Ned Washington, Tex sang it the night of the Oscars when it won Best Song. The tune, the lyrics, the orchestration – and that Southern drawl of Ritter’s makes it well nigh perfect. As is Tiomkin’s entire score.

Tex Ritter

 

 

By the way, Jack Elam , before he got into acting, was an auditor in Hollywood, but had an eye problem that caused him to look for other work. I saw an interview he did in 1987 with David Letterman. If only it had been someone like Leonard Maltin asking the questions because Jack was ready to talk.  Letterman didn’t have a clue.

 

That fantastic shot near the start of the film.

Kudos to cinematographer Floyd Crosby who lensed High Noon. This seems to have been the most well known film Crosby worked on. He also filmed Shack Out on 101 and The Old Man and the Sea.

 

 

 

ON THE SET 31

James Cagney, Doris Day, Cameron Mitchell. LOVE ME OR LEAVE ME

 

Katharine Hepburn, James Stewart, George Cukor.THE PHILADELPHIA STORY

 

Sterling Hayden, Jean Hagen, John Huston THE ASPHALT JUNGLE.

 

Gloria Grahame, Glenn Ford, Fritz Lang. HUMAN DESIRE.

 

ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD, Olivia de Havilland, Errol Flynn.

I think  that ‘s director William Keighley on the right – he was replaced by Michael Curtiz.

 

Joan Crawford, Michael Curtiz.MILDRED PIERCE

 

Clark Gable, Susan Hayward.SOLDIER OF FORTUNE

Looks like a publicity still being photographed.

 

David Niven, Garson Kanin, Ginger Rogers BACHELOR MOTHER.

 

Irene Dunne as Magnolia on the Cotton Blossom ( top right) SHOW BOAT

I think that’s director James Whale standing at the pole and pointing .

 

Cary Grant , Leo McCarey?, Deborah Kerr.AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER

I guess the  little side table has to be a certain height, hence the blocks beneath it.