Sunday, September 20, 2020

Silent Film star Harold Lockwood succumbs to 1918 Flu


Since late winter 2020, the world has been dealing with the effects of COVID-19 and everything that's come with it. Our vocabulary now consists of terms like 'social distancing' and quarantine, both things our generation rarely spoke of until now. 

This isn't the first time a virus has ravaged the United States or the world. In 1918 the "Spanish Flu" swept across the globe, killing millions. In the fall of 1918, the "flu" made itsway across America.  

We were not prepared for such a virus to sweep through our population, but the country did the best it could with what we had. 

Nobody was immune to this powerful virus, not even the celebrities of the silent era. 

Harold Lockwood was foreign to me until I started researching notable names hit with this powerful virus. But, it was clear he was one of the biggest Hollywood names to succumb to the ‘flu.’

Lockwood was a popular silent movie star of the time, starring in several films between 1911 and 1918 when his life was tragically cut short due to influenza and pneumonia.

Lockwood was so famous that in May 1918, months before his tragic death, he was set to win a  popularity contest in Sydney, Australia, in a picture magazine. "Its June issue prints an announcement that Lockwood heads the 'handsomeness' class in the Kings and Queens contest. Nearly 50,000 votes separated Lockwood from his nearest competitor in the competition," wrote the Oakland Tribune

Harold Lockwood was born in Brooklyn, New York. He spent his early years in Newark, New Jersey, where he went to school. He worked in exporting houses but found he didn't enjoy the work, so he started working in vaudeville. He scored a spot in one of David Horsley's companies. From there, he made his way to New York Motion Picture Company. 

Some reports stated that Harold Lockwood made his first appearance in pictures in 1910 with Universal Co. (Nestor Company), later under the direction of Thomas Ince. 

During the beginning of his career, he tried his hand at a stage career, but the screen proved more alluring. His most successful films included The King in Khaki, The River Romance, The Haunted Pajamas, The Masked Rider, The Comeback, Mister 44, Broadway Bill, Big Tremaine, Paradise Garden, and Pigeon Island. 

Lockwood never reached the current name recognition of, or was featured as much as Chaplin or Fairbanks, but he was as just as popular in the film world at the time as both men. At one time, he played opposite Mary Pickford in Famous Players productions, Tess of the Storm Country (said by some critics to be her best picture at the time of Lockwood's death). He played in leading roles in pictures made Nestor, Selig, American, Nymp, and last the Metro Company, where he was at the time of his death. 

Lockwood's best-known work was with Metro. He co-starred with Mae Allison in several films in highly successful pictures like Big Tremaine, The River of Romance, Fifty-Four, and The Comeback. In all, the team of Lockwood and Allison made twenty-two films together. 

During the height of his fame, women went wild for him. In an issue of Motion Picture Magazine dated May 1917, Miss Grace Trotter of Dallas, Texas, wrote this about Lockwood: "Symptoms-If the victim is a man, the case is hopeless. 

If the victim is a young girl and she expresses a desire for black hair. Attempts to make eyes larger and darker. Is she sometimes discovered practicing vampirish actions before a mirror? 

Treatment-Take her instantly to see a Lockwood film. 

Harold Lockjaw. 

Cause-Harold Lockwood."


At the time of his death, he was was the first motion picture star to succumb to the influenza epidemic that was sweeping the country. 

On Saturday, October 19, 1918, he passed away in his apartment at the Hotel Woodward in New York City. 

His mother, Jennie Lockwood, and several specialists were with him at the time, including Dr. Eugene A. Austin, personal physician of R. Rowland, the President of Metro at that time. 

Accounts of Lockwood's death are varied. 

Reports stated that Lockwood had only been sick for ten days before his passing, appearing on October 8, 1918, at the Motion Picture Exposition, where he complained of feeling ill. Still, he had been scheduled to appear on behalf of the Fourth Liberty Loan, he refused to listen to his friends, and with Mabel Normand, he made the week's record bond sales. 

"Harold contracted his illness while selling Liberty Bonds," said Edwin Carewe, Lockwood's director. "He and Mabel Normand were in charge of a booth in Madison Square Garden on Wednesday evening, October 9, (1918). The garden was crowded, and Harold became overheated by his strenuous exertions. And there was a fearful draft through the big amphitheater."

Later Lockwood went out for supper, and on leaving for home, he seemed to be in good health. The next morning Carewe had set aside some exterior shots in Lockwood's latest picture, The Yellow Dove. 

"About nine a.m., Lockwood called the studios and said he felt ill," Carewe said. "He asked me to change the schedule, and, accordingly, I dismissed the extra people."

Carewe went on to say around two p.m., Lockwood telephoned that he was seriously ill. Richard A. Rowland, president at Metro and Harold's personal manager, then learned of his condition. Pneumonia was staved off until that Monday when it developed in Lockwood's right lung. On Tuesday, his left lung became affected. On Wednesday, doctors said he only had a bare fighting chance. 

"Saturday morning Mr. Rowland and I went to the sick room. Poor Harold was wan and could scarcely talk above a whisper. 'Hello, governor; do you think I've got a chance?' he asked of Mr. Rowland. The latter could scarcely restrain his tears. 

"'Sure, Harold,' he comforted, 'Fight on till noon. If you can last that long you'll change for the better.'

"It was a grain of comfort. Harold, whose hands had been resting above his head, drew them down, and, clenching them, said, with a smile: 'All right, governor lets go!' recalled Carewe.

Lockwood fought his fight in silence, asking the time, and wanting to know why he wasn't getting better. He lived through the noon hour, and at 1:03 p.m., he lapsed into unconsciousness, passing away at 1:10 p.m. 

There are several conflicting reports of his age at the time of his death. Internet reports state his age at 31, but newspaper reports consistently give his age to be 29 at the time of his death. 

Lockwood and his wife were divorced a year before the star's death, but it was said that they had corresponded days before his passing. The marriage produced one son, Billy, who was ten at the time of his father's death. He was attending school at a local military academy. 

In Pal's First, Lockwood's last film, released after his death, Lockwood plays the part of one returned from the dead. His role is that of a nonchalant happy-go-lucky crook with manners. 

"As Danny Rowland, the hero, Lockwood does the best work of his brilliant career. Only an actor of the most finished abilities could have essayed this light, spirited romantic role of a rogue and a gentleman and kept his audience in sympathy with the character. His sense of comedy is equal to the finest in the history of the screen. A talent, which, coupled with his romantic gifts, places him far above the run of most stars," said a review in the Napa Daily Journal. 

Lockwood was filming The Yellow Dove and was half complete when he was stricken with Influenza. The film was recast. 

"He was one of the finest young men in the industry," said Fred Balshofer, prominent film magnate, and former manager of Lockwood. "He was an American, and he believed in the outdoor life. He never forgot a friend, and he numbered his enemies on one hand. The film world has lost one of its brightest stars in the death of Harold Lockwood."

Lockwood's New York funeral was reported to have been attended by ten thousand people and was held at the Campbell Funeral Church, Sixty-sixth Street, and Broadway. Members of the Metro-Company attended the funeral, and offices were closed for the day. 

Mrs. Alma Lockwood, the former wife of Harold Lockwood, claimed to be excluded from any share of the estate left behind from her former husband. She said she couldn't understand the action's made in not leaving some provisions for her in his will. "Two days previous to his death, I received the most friendly letter from him," she said. "He told me to take good care of myself and little Harold. Up until the time of his death, Mr. Lockwood provided for me most generously. He did this of his own free will, as there was no court order to that effect." 

Lockwood's son was left $10,000 by his father's will. Mrs. Lockwood stated that her late ex-husband expressed opposition to his son ever working in motion pictures. "I am planning Harold's future in accordance with his wishes and 'my own judgment.'" She stated that she had been advised to contest her husband's will, but had not made any decision. "I hold no resentment. Mr. Lockwood and I were the best of friends. I cannot understand why he made no reference to me in his will. I do not believe he fully realized the situation or the consequences when he made his will. He was ill, very, very ill, at the time. We were divorced to benefit his career. I was given complete custody of our child." Lockwood left an estate of $45,000. If that sum, $20,000 was divided between his mother and his son. The remaining was split between his mother, son, the city, and a friend. The Lockwood’s were divorced in 1917. 

Lockwood's widow married 'Spike' Robinson, former prize ring celebrity and "one of the film colony," in July 1919.


You can watch Harold in Tess of Storm Country HERE: 


Lockwood also had a column in Motion Picture Magazine that you can find and read for free. It’s called Funny Happenings in the Studio and on Location. Its really sweet and endearing and I beg of you to find it and read it in your spare time. 



(Los Angeles Evening Express, Friday November 1, 1918)

(Los Angeles Sunday Express, October 20, 1918)

(Los Angeles Evening Express, Wednesday, June 9, 1919)

(Oakland Tribune, Sunday, May 26, 1918)

(Visalia Morning Delta, Friday May 9, 1919)

(The Montclair Times, Saturday October 26, 1918)

(Fall River Daily Evening News, Monday, October 21, 1918)

(Motion Picture Magazine, May 1917)

(Los Angeles Herald, December 12, 1918)

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

The Death of Lon Chaney - Ninety years ago today

The self-trained actor, one of the greatest actors of all time, a man who took his work seriously and worked long and hard to perfect himself in all ways, died ninety years ago today.

Like Cary Grant, Charlie Chaplin, Jack Lemon, and Laurence Olivier, Lon Chaney, possessed something special as an actor, something that went above and beyond what we see today. Something most of us don't have, something with which they were born. 

This long-gone actor's gift of the horrible was such that it endowed. It seems by most accounts that Chaney was a likable human. He was quiet and unassuming and took his fame with a grain of salt. Lon Chaney gave his all to his work then returned home where he lived his life as an ordinary man. 

This ordinary and extraordinary life ended too soon on August 26, 1930.

Lon Chaney, genius of the grotesque, man of a "thousand faces,' died in his wife, the former Hazel Hastings, arms at 12:55 a.m. in St. Vincent's hospital in Los Angeles.  His son, by a previous marriage, Creighton Chaney (Lon Chaney Jr.) was also at his side. 

A throat hemorrhage that came on so suddenly that Dr. John C. Wester was called, but Chaney was beyond medical aid when he arrived. Chaney had been fighting for ten days against anemia and congestion of the bronchial tubes, the aftermath of an attack of pneumonia he suffered earlier in the year in New York. In the hours before his death, he had been unable to take any nourishment; however, he seemed to be improving, and doctors were hopeful he would recover. 

In the week before his passing, Chaney had received three blood transfusions following an earlier hemorrhage. The day of his passing, the 47-year old actor was reported to have "turned a corner" and was "resting easily." Three days before his death, it was widely reported that he was near death and critically ill. Chaney's health had been poor for several months before entering the hospital for what would be his final time. 

Newspapers reported in month following Chaney's death that the immediate cause of Chaney's death was a hemorrhage of the lungs. But could be traced to a series of debilitating illness caused by his work for the screen. The operation for a throat ailment resulted from the excessively strenuous work Chaney did in his first and last talkie, The Unholy Three, that followed anemia that followed pneumonia. In his last picture, in which he took a ventriloquist's part, he spoke in five different voices. 

According to a nameless, 'Special Correspondent for the St. Louis Dispatch,' "He would work five times as hard as anyone else, spurning the deception of the 'ghost' voice. Chaney paid a heavy price for being able to twist his body to entertain the hoi polloi. He has a spinal ailment due to a role in which he was harnessed. In The Unknown, his arms were bound to his body with heavy leather. It stopped blood circulation. Some veins burst. But, still willing to pay the price of circus art, he resumed work quickly. In The Hunchback of Notre Dame, it was necessary to have his legs strapped back from the knee to give a semblance of deformity, so that he could appear to be walking on cushioned pads. He could endure this for only 10-12 minutes at a time, as it was excruciating. Circulation of the blood was stopped and, as in the instance, when his arms were trussed back in a harness. It is believed certain blood vessels were ruptured. This would be a contributory cause of anemia. For several years before Chaney's death, there were rumors that he would not live long because of the contortions to which he had subjected his body. But medical evidence shows that the twistings and contortions he went through in various roles would not severely have impaired his health. 

The star of such films as The Unknown, Hunchback of Notre Dame, and He Who Gets Slapped had few close friends. He shunned public appearances of any kind, never making personal appearances, giving any interviews, or attending any first nights. Even though Chaney lived a life of practical retirement when outside the studio, he left a deep mark on his fellow co-workers. Few figures of the screen enjoyed such varying popularity of the time. A special operator had to be installed on his studio lot when word that he was taking blood transfusions spread throughout Hollywood. Thousands of calls each day kept the special line busy. Offers of blood from donors innumerable in the event he needed more with made with prayerful sincerity. 

There was something seriously wrong with his throat. He went from doctor to doctor and back and forth between New York and Los Angeles. At last, he had an operation that appeared to be successful. He came back to Hollywood, and everyone felt he was out of danger. 

It was said that it was with the strength of a stoic that he went through the last two years of his life, having been told by scientists that his days were surely numbered. He made the talkie, The Unholy Three, assured that nothing more remained for him to do. He did it in his forty-seventh year and bade the studio farewell. 

Lon Chaney was born in Colorado Springs, CO, on April 1, 1883. His father, a kindly, well-liked man, was one of the town's popular barbers, and his mother was the youngest child of Emma Kennedy, a famous Colorado woman who, after her three children had been born deaf, founded the Deaf and Blind Institute of Colorado and devoted her life to it. 

Chaney grew up with three brothers, all normal in sight and speech. At the age of nine, he left school because his mother had been made an invalid by inflammatory rheumatism, and for three years he was her nurse and helper in the household. 

His first real job was when his brother became the manager of a local theater, and he went to work there as a stagehand. 

Chaney's brother organized an opera company which went on the road playing Gilbert and Sullivan, and Lon went with the troupe as stage manager and occasional character actor. For nearly 20 years, he went barnstorming up and down and west as a manager, actor and stage manager, press agent, or all four. While playing in Los Angeles, he married Frances Creighton, who was his dancing partner in a show. It was a successful marriage for a time that welcomed one son, Creighton, who was at the time of Chaney's death, a practicing lawyer in Los Angeles-another report said he was in another line of work at the time. 

He later went into acting under the name, Lon Chaney Jr.

The marriage ended in divorce when Frances publicly attempted suicide.

In 1915, Chaney married one of his former colleagues, a chorus girl named Hazel Hastings. 

Chaney's entrance into the pictures was due in large part to chance. A show he was connected with broke up at Santa Ana, CA. Chaney heard of more and more character work opportunities, so he went to Hollywood and got a job as an extra with the Universal Film Co. 

The part was minor, but Chaney put so much art into his make-up and characterization that he was hired for other work. He first came to notice as the part of the frog in The Miracle Man in 1919. Soon he made The Hunchback of Notre Dame. 

"I covered my face with a new one, blacked-out an eye with a shell that I painted over, got a mouthful of false teeth, and was strapped in a harness," Chaney once related in explaining how he made up for the part in Hunchback. "I actually had nothing of my own but one eye to play the part with, hurt? Of course, it hurt-but its all part of the game."

Chaney's art didn't lie in his make-up alone, his expressions, his eyes, his interpretation, all of it gave him soul. 

Chaney's success at make-up was not gained at the price of pain alone. For years after he tackled Hollywood as an 'extra,' he spent hours each day in front of a mirror, putting on make-up and taking it off just to see what he could do. After he gained star status, he often spent three hours a day making up; in the filming of Mr. Wu. He would arrive at the studio at 6 a.m. so he could have his make-up completed to begin filming at nine a .m. 

To achieve the looks for his films he would use chemicals;  stuff cotton in his jaws to puff out his face, bits of rubber were worn in his nostrils to make his nose appear flat; hide face clamps to warp is features; wear false teeth that fit over his own; wigs; and artificial eyebrows.

Those in Hollywood said he was a hard worker, as hard as any Hollywood had ever seen.

He was said to go into his roles with an intensity that might lead one to believe he had hypnotized himself into actually living the part of the person he played. All else seemed forgotten. But the instant the cameras stopped rolling, Chaney was himself again. 

Of all the horrible demons in human form that Chaney's fantastic mind conceived and his genius of make-up gave birth, perhaps none were more hideous than that of the creature who haunts the memory of those who saw The Phantom of The Opera. The moment came when the villain was finally cornered and his mask withdrawn, revealing a face like nothing seen before-pure horror. The memory of this and other hideous faces that Chaney gave the world is forever seared in the minds of millions of moviegoers. 

Many have said that Lon Chaney owed his facile pantomime and his unwavering flair for emotional expression to the fact that he was the child of two deaf parents who didn't or couldn't speak. Years of watching his parents' manual speech, many have said, may likely contribute to his sense of expression. 

Chaney was an avid reader and loved especially to pore over tomes on mathematical subjects. The chapter on-screen make-up in the encyclopedia Britannica was a contribution from his pen. He is known to have contributed generously to numerous charities. However, he never made publicity capital of his donations, and not one among his intimates but knew that his sympathies always were with the underdog in the struggle.

He often went out of his way to inquire about a new baby and left a five or ten-dollar bill, remarking as he walked away, "Just to get the kid some little things." A $10 loan, made to Chaney by a black stagehand many years before, was indirectly responsible for his coming to California. The stagehand loaned him sufficient money to pay his room rent and get back to Chicago, where he joined another show that eventually went west. He felt that if he hadn't been given that $10, he might never have been in Hollywood. His good fortune came through kindness, and because of this, he always had a benevolent feeling toward others less fortunate.

Few, even Chaney's closest friends, knew until after he died about one of his notable philanthropy cases. He heard of a World War Veteran injured so severely that he was unable to walk. Chaney took the ex-soldier to his doctor and told him to spare no expense. Within a few months, the man was relieved of his suffering and, at the time of Chaney's death, walking. 

The Stage Hand's Union in which Chaney held a card, the Camera Men's Union, and other delegations of studio Mechanics, the Culver City Police Department, which gave Chaney a Captain's badge, Actors Equity, and the Motion Picture Producers association were all represented at his funeral. 

Chaney was tended to by the same funeral parlor in downtown Los Angeles where Rudolph Valentino was seen by 50,000 admirers a few short years before. Chaney's body was laid to rest beside that of his father, whom he had recently buried. Among the pallbearers were John Jeske, Chaney's companion and chauffeur for years; Clinton Lyle, an actor who was behind the footlights with him for years in the old trouping days; R.L. Hinckley; Phil Epstein, Chaney's business manager; William Dunphy, San Francisco capitalist, and Claude I. Parker. 

Chaney was survived by his wife, son, two grandchildren, his sister, and three brothers. 

"His life will stand as an inspiration to all who aspire to achievement," said Louis B. Mayer. "He was kindly, sympathetic, understanding-a friend of the friendless, bless with a humanness seldom encountered in this modern day."

Irving Thalberg called him, "a great artist whose passing leaves a void none can fill"

Harry Earles, who performed with Lon Chaney in The Unholy Three, WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 14 at 10:15 AM (ET) on TCM watch it if you have a chance) said in a letter to Tom Arthur, "Isn't it too bad about Lon Chaney's death for he was a grand pal to me." Earles continued by saying, Chaney was a remarkable person to work with and aided me in every possible way.

In the months following Chaney's death, The Unholy Three his last picture was shown in every city in the United States out of the memory of Chaney for fans to see Chaney in his first and only talking picture. 

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Is Gossip as Natural to A Woman as Breathing? By Rosalind Russell (September 27, 1939)

As the editor of a newspaper, I often come across interesting old classic film articles while doing research. From time to time I'll share some here. 

 Is Gossip as Natural to A Woman as Breathing?

By Rosalind Russell

There is nothing quite so fragile as feminine friendships. Being fragile, they are allergic to gossip, and gossip is the enemy of friendship between women. gossip is as natural to a woman, however, as breathing. It can be amusing and stimulating until it becomes personal. Then it is malicious and dangerous. 

The surest way to keep women friends is never to ask questions. The minute you give way to temptation of prying into other people's business, trouble inevitably follows. There is only one basis upon which feminine friendships can be successfully preserved, and that is comradeship, plus a detached impersonal attitude. Think back on some of your own experiences. Personally, there is nothing so abhorrent to me as to hear women gossiping about my friends. It makes me distrust them immediately. If they will talk about my friends, they will talk about me. 

Knowing too much about other people's private lives is apt to lead to disaster. This I doubly true in the case of women. The woman who knows the business of all her friends has no friends. She may think she has, but she holds them only through fear. They have heard her talk about others, and they are afraid she will do the same to them. Smart women, who really value the feminine friendships they have cultivated, will always hedge away from finding out any bit of gossip about their intimates. It goes back to the old truism, "familiarity breeding contempt."


These observations come fro the manner in which I try to conduct my own friendships, and from playing Sylvia, the gossip in "The Women," In writing her witty and humorous play, Clare Booth took the attitude that all women are cats, and wouldn't be interesting if they were otherwise. I do not entirely agree with her opinion of women, but many truths are self-evident in the play and the picture which I had the pleasure of making at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer with Norma Shearer and Joan Crawford. All of the characters in the picture are recognizable types, and Sylvia notably so. Sylvia is the kind of woman who can't resist asking personal questions, and then repeating answers at the first opportunity. As a result, she ends up without a friend, and moreover comes close to ruining the life of her closest friend, Mary Haines. If Sylvia were not played with the most delicious good humor, she would be the worst kind of "heavy."


Don't forget that compliments coming from the lips of a woman are decidedly different from those coming from a man. The words may be the same, but the inference is oh, so different. Never tell a woman that she has lost weight. In the face of it, it sounds very pleasing, but nine women out of ten will interpret it as a slam. In short, if you notice has lost weight, then at some times or another, it is evident you thought she was too fat. On the same premise are such chance remarks as, "My dear, you look simply ravishing," or "You look so well, what have you done to yourself," or "I've never seen you looking prettier." all of these point to the fact that the woman in question has outdone herself on a particular occasion, and the rest of the time she had looked like the inside of a rag bag.

If women have another fault, and while we are on the subject, it is the bad habit of gushing. There were 135 women in the company, which gave us an exceptional opportunity for self-analyzation. Director George Cukor, the only man on the set and an expert on dialogue said that men like originality in women. He pointed out that women are very un-original in their constant use of hackneyed phrases. For amusement, we made a list of ten most overworked figures of speech. When you write them down, they do sound phony. Those to be guarded against are "too, too diving," "Such a darling," "Simply devastating," "Frightfully Amusing," "But definitely," "Utterly mad," "Terribly gay," "Completely charming," "Literally starved," and "Terrifically smug." Keep away from them, girls, boyfriends don't like them.

On How to Keep Women Friends; by Rosalind Russell (Sept. 27, 1939)

As the editor of a newspaper, I often come across interesting old classic film articles while doing research. From time to time I'll share some here.  

Oakland Tribune. September 27, 1939

On How to Keep Women Friends

Rosalind Russell Tells Secret; Never Confide Your Own Shortcomings

(By Rosalind Russell)

Appearing with Norma Shearer and Joan Crawford in "The Women"

No woman should ever confide a weakness or a shortcoming to another woman. Deny it, and if it does happen to be a real fault keep her guessing as to whether you're crazy or who she is. So many women think it is smart to boast about a weakness, real or imaginary. This only serves to make the real shortcoming material for gossip or build up the imaginary one until it is more tangible than the other. 

The surest way to keep women friends is never to ask questions. The minute you give way to the temptation of prying into other people's business, trouble inevitably follows. 


There is only one basis upon which feminine friendships can be successfully preserved, and that is comradeship plus a detached impersonal attitude. Think back on some of your own experiences. Personally, there is nothing so abhorrent to me as to hear women gossiping about my friends. It makes me distrust them immediately. If they will talk about my friends, they will talk about me. 

Knowing too much about other people's private lives is apt to lead to disaster. This is doubly true in the case of women. The woman who knows the business of all her friends has no friends. She may think she has but she holds them only through fear. They have heard her talk about others, and they are afraid she will do the same to them. 


Smart women, who really value the feminine friendships they have cultivated, will always hedge away from finding out any bit of gossip about their intimates. It goes back to the truism, "Familiarity breeding contempt."

Of course, it is easy to pick out flaws in women's armor. It would be even simpler to detect weaknesses in men. I think that the woman of today is a big improvement on her sister of even a decade ago. But being human, we all could stand some improvement. If between the laughs, you take the heart some of the lessons to be learned from "The Women," particularly on the subject of gossip, you will find them profitable. I did. 

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Chance Brought Romance Into Life of Norma Shearer - LA Times, Sept. 15, 1936

Chance Brought Romance Into Life of Norma Shearer

LA Times, Sept. 15, 1936

Irving Thalberg’s habit of jotting down ideas in his notebook led to his romance and eventual marriage with Norma Shearer. 

Theirs provided to be one of Hollywood’s happiest unions from which came a son, Irving Jr., 6, to perpetuate his name and a daughter Katherine, 1. 

Chance Joined Them

The story of their romance was vividly recalled yesterday on Thalberg’s sudden death at his home in Santa Monica. 

As a young and advancing executive at Universal, this shy, boyish young man happened to catch a preview of a picture called, “Channing of the Northwest,” It was made at one of the New York Studios. 

The striking personality of the leading lady prompted him to find out her name and he wrote down Norma Shearer in his notebook as a likely prospect for better things. 

Rejected Offers

At the time Miss Shearer was making a comfortable living in the East working in films, posing for advertisements and modeling. So when she received an offer to come to Hollywood she turned it down because it wasn’t attractive enough. Later, when Thalberg was associated with Hal Roach, he sent her an offer. This she also rejected. 

But the third one was more tempting and was made by Thalberg after he joined forces with Louis B. Mayer who was producing independently on Mission Road. She accepted this contract, containing a four-week guarantee, with a beginning salary of $150 per week with increases over a five year period. 

Surprise At Meeting

A total stranger to Los Angeles, Miss Shearer arrived her with her mother. She went immediately to the studio where she entered the main office and asked a young mand to be directed to Mr. Thalberg. 

“I am Mr. Thalberg,” he replied. 

Amazed by his youth and boyishness she completely forgot her rehearsed greeting. In the months that followed Miss Shearer went through the regular studio grind that all new players experience. Their relations up to this time were strictly business. She saw him at social functions with other girls. He saw her escorted by other young men. 

Their First Date

Then came a night for a big premiere. Thalberg wanted Miss Shearer to accompany him. He didn’t have the nerve to ask her himself. He had his secretary, Vivian Newcomb, call her on the telephone. 

She wondered why he didn’t ask for himself but found out when she went out with I’m that he was shy. Then too, she realized that she was in love with him from the first time she met. She recalled she told her mother he was a man she would like to marry, after their first meeting.

Proposed at Grove

It was at the Cocoanut Grove that he proposed. They were sitting at a table. 

“When shall we be married?” he asked her. That was all there was to the proposal. 

The next day she was summoned to his office at the studio. He showed her a tray of diamonds and rings, from which she selected her engagement ring. The wedding was beautiful but simple. It took place in the garden of the home in Beverly Hills where he lived with his parents in 1928. They slipped away for a few days to Del Monte after the ceremony, later taking a honeymoon to Europe. 

Forgot work at Home

Rarely during their marriage did they discuss business at home. Away from the studio she entirely forgot her work and devoted herself to her home and family. 

Monday, June 1, 2020

‘From Under My Hat’ By Hedda Hopper LA Times, Sept. 16, 1952.

As the editor of a newspaper, I often come across interesting old classic film articles while doing research. From time to time I'll reprint them here to share. 

‘From Under My Hat’ By Hedda Hopper LA Times, Sept. 16, 1952. 

The night Norma got under Carole Lombard’s skin.  

(This is the 10th in a series of 14 installments condensed from Hedda Hopper’s autobiography, “From Under My Hat,” copyrighted by Hedda Hopper and published by Doubleday  Co., Inc.)

Norma Shearer and I worked until midnight one night, then started together for our dressing rooms. It was dark and seemed very quiet. 

Sitting in the doorway of my room was a lion. I let out a screech you could have heard in Pomona and – Norma at my heels-ran back toward the set. I found a man there and tried to tell him about it, but my teeth were chattering so I could hardly get out the words. 

Norma met Irving Thalberg at the Selig Zoo. Many stars had no time for Irving. Let it be said that he had little time for girls. He hadn’t yet struck it rich, and some actresses could never see beyond their own noses. But, if you could only see it, Irving was climbing up the golden ladder and Norma had her food on the first rung of success.

Norma married Thalberg and he made her No. 1 star at Metro. Naturally, Norma got first whack at everything – stories, writers, directors, leading men. 

When their first child was born, Irving’s parents still were living with them. His mother ran the household. The birth of Irving Jr. ushered in a new era in Hollywood customs. Having babies was ordinary for mortals, not for stars. 

Norma cracked that tradition. The public had never really allowed it anyway; the producers only imagined it. Anyhow, after her babies came, Norma was more popular than ever. Maternity didn’t shade her love scenes on screen. 

I’ve seen premiers in my time, but that “Marie Antoinette” premiere at the Carthay Circle Theater darn near blinded the citizens. The Trocadero shindig later was no lawn party either. 

When Norma arrived at the Troc. She went straight to the power room, where her maid was waiting. That’s the first and only time I ever saw a hostess change dresses mid-party. She came out of the powder room in a handmade black-sequined sheath so tight she had to watch not only her step but her breathing. 

Norma seemed to have a special knack for getting under the skin of her pals and bustling up their parties. She did a man-sized job on Carole Lombard. Carole was Chairman of our last Mayfair Ball, and you could trust her to think up something original. She surprised us by announcing we would go dignified and have a White Ball. The stars worked at fever pitch ordering their white gowns. I had almost more fun scheming to outshine my rivals than attending the party. 

The ball was held in the old Victor Hugo Restaurant in Beverly Hills; it was the perfect setting for all those beautiful white dresses. At the height of the gaiety, Norma Shearer made her usual late dazzling entrance, it was too dazzling. Norma had on a bright red gown. Carole, who’d played jokes on other all her life couldn’t take this one. She ran for the nearest exit, Clark Gable ran after her. They both saw red at the same moment. This was the only time I ever saw Carole’s perpetual good humor shaken. She saw the funny side of life always and laughed more at herself than the other fellow. 





Sunday, May 10, 2020

Corona food post - Chihuahuas.

I found this graphic on Pinterest. I don't own the rights.
This seems to be what the OG Chihuahuas
looked like. 
This past weekend my Aunt, Uncle, and mom made a Chihuahua kit for our family for lunch. My Aunt and uncle make the best Chihuahua’s. 
I’ve had them for as long as I can remember. Growing up, we had them from time to time, but as an adult, I have made sure we have them for dinner at least once a month. 
This meal is among one of my all-time favorites, and I gorge myself silly each time I make it.
In 1951 this spectacular ‘sandwich’ was invented in a kitchen in Lubbock, Texas.  

The Chihuahua Sandwich was created by the husband-wife team of Ed and Sarah Noret to add to their Drive-In Theater concession stand. The sandwich was such a hit that locals in this West Texas town would flock to the Sky-Vue Drive-In Theater to pick up a few of these ‘sandwiches’ and leave without seeing the movie. 
They say the Chihuahuas worked at the Drive-In because they are unique and couldn’t be reproduced by the local competition. I’ve heard that there’s even a registered patent on them.
My parents both graduated from Lamesa High School in Texas and when I was a kid my Aunt and Uncle Alexander lived in Lamesa; thus, the Chihuahua was a staple for me growing up. I never made it to the theater for an original like I had dreamed as the theater closed after a kitchen fire in 2015. There are two other Sky-Vue Theaters around that area of West Texas, from what I can tell from the research I did, there’s one in Midland one in Lubbock Texas as of 2014. Sure, I could probably visit one of those if they’re still in operation, but I want to visit the birthplace of my beloved meal. I want the original. 
Years ago I searched far and low for the original recipe for the Sky-Vue Chihuahua, but I keep finding different variations of the formula I know and love. 
The recipe I found the most consistency. 

Chihuahua Sandwich

Yields one
Two corn tostada shells
2 Tbsp. chopped onions
1 cup shredded cabbage
1/2 cup chili, no beans
1/2 cup pimiento cheese spread
Warm chili in a saucepan or microwave. Spread chili on one tostada shell. Top with onions and cabbage. Spread pimiento cheese on the other tostada shell. Put shells together and serve.

The recipe I make is very different, so it’s like a Chihuahua but nowhere near a sandwich. Basically, it gives me a reason to eat a lot of pimento cheese and feel alright about it. 

Another Pintrest graphic I found.
My Chihuahuas look more like this. 

Nikki’s take on Chihuahua’s

One chopped onion
One cabbage, shredded
Two/three pounds ground beef
One 16 ounce bottle medium Taco sauce (Ortega)
One package enchilada seasoning
One can bean-less chili (Wolfes Brand - but It seems like Hormel is cheaper and easier to find right now and it works just fine!)
12 ounces pimento cheese (Prices is all I can find around here, it works perfectly.)
12 ounces sour cream
Tabasco sauce
First, I make the Pimento Cheese spread. I take one 12 ounce container of pimento cheese and mix it with one 12 ounce container of sour cream. I add a few dashes of Tobasco sauce and a few tablespoons of taco sauce. Refrigerate.
Then I take two pounds of hamburger and brown it (drain). I add one package of enchilada seasoning; one can of bean-less chili and the remaining 16-ounce bottle of medium taco sauce. Let simmer. 
Take corn tostada shells and fry them in oil for just a few seconds until extra crispy. 
The way I eat Chihuahuas is to drop one shell on my plate, pour the meat mixture over it, some chopped onion, and shredded cabbage. Then I cover it in the pimento mixture and a few more dashes of Tabasco sauce. I love to have about ¾ pimento cheese mixture to ¼ meat, but I am a massive fan of the pimento cheese mix. 
This is a very different recipe than the classic and even more diverse than my Aunt’s recipe. Mine isn’t as good as hers, but I’ll never share her secrets. 
I feel like I need to scream, “HEAR ME OUT, GUYS! THIS IS REALLY GOOD!” So, hear me out guys, this is REALLY good! 
If you dare try this, let me know if you like it. If not, trust me, you’re missing out on something magical. Now I think I’ll go heat up what I have left and gorge myself. 
Stay safe.

Also-currently eating that Chihuahua at the top of this post. YUM!

Monday, April 13, 2020

TCMFF 2020 at Home

 This year will be the first year since 2016 that I won't be headed to Los Angeles this spring. I knew the cancellation was coming, but it still hurt after a year of planning and saving. 

Many of us talked and decided that we would dress up, call our local food establishments to order dinner out, and chat and watch some of our favorite TCM Film Festival movies. TCM had the same idea when they announced they would have a "TCM Classic Film Festival Home Edition," April 16-19. The network will show moments from past festivals, interviews, and some of the most popular films they've shown. 

I was excited because now I can go to the festival with all of you. 

They released their schedule along with their announcement. Since we're all stuck at home, now is the best time to discover and fall in love with these classic films. Trust me; I'm going to give you a list of must-see movies that will make you forget all about what's happening outside. 

Thursday, April 16, everything kicks off at 7:00 p.m. with A Star Is Born (1954).

 Listen, I'm going to make a bold statement that I haven't shared with anyone. I have friends who would disown me if they knew this, but I'm not a huge Judy Garland fan. She's alright, I respect her, but this film is pretty good. We all know how the movie ends, so if you're like me and feeling a little low these days, have a small snack or shower during the last half an hour or so. 

The rest of the night's line up is pretty good, but Friday afternoon is when things start to take off.  

1:00 p.m. Friday, April 17, an interview with Eva Marie Saint. 

They'll be showing an interview with Eva Marie Saint live from the 2014 Classic Film Festival. 2:15 p.m. North by Northwest (1959)

Immediately following, they'll be showing North by Northwest, presented from the 2010 TCM Film Festival with Eva Marie Saint and Martin Landau in attendance. 

4:45 p.m. Some Like It Hot (1959) - This is one of the greatest films of all time. If you've never seen a classic movie, please start here and fall in love. Tony Curtis and Jack Lemon are incredible, and I guarantee that you will completely forget about your worries as you join the fellas on this adventure. 

7:00 p.m. Harold and Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story (2015)  - I haven't seen this Documentary, but I've only heard fantastic things about it. Storyboard artist Harold Michelson and his wife, film researcher Lillian Michelson were once considered the heart of Hollywood. They worked on hundreds of iconic films including, The Birds and The Apartment. Their contributions remain mostly uncredited. This has been on my radar for five years now, so I'm excited to see this film. My pal Raquel has been gushing about this film for a while, so I am beyond excited to see this one. 

Saturday, April 16

12:30 a.m. Grey Gardens (1975) - If you want to stay up late, join my beloved Big Edie and Little Edie Beale for Grey Gardens. This movie just makes me want to burst. I wish everyone I knew would watch this so I could say things like, "Little Edie was the first and ultimate Social Distancer," that's funny stuff!  I have been drawn to this Documentary by Albert Maysles (who will be in attendance) since I saw it. There is something so endearing about Little Edie; I just love her, she's wacky, interesting and tragic. Grey Gardens is my favorite Documentary of all time, so please consider recording it or staying up to watch it. 

7:00 a.m. Mad Love (1935) Saturday, April 18 - The day kicks off with Bill Hader and actress Cora Sue Collins introducing Mad Love. Peter Lorre stars in this horror/sci-fi film. A lot for a Saturday morning, but that's how it goes when you're trying to marathon 20 movies in three and a half days. 

8:15 a.m. Double Harness (1933)  Oh, Double Harness. Say this movie title to any TCMFF attendee, and they'll have flashbacks of standing in line for hours to get into this William Powell pre-code. I got up early and stood in line for hours for this film. I didn't get it, so on Sunday, when they scheduled it again, I stood in line for a while and gave up. I finally had a chance to see in months later at home-I was so underwhelmed. I think enough time has passed for me to give it another shot. I've forgotten how angry I was at wasting hours in line to miss it on the big screen. It has William Powell enough said. 

9:30 a.m. Vitaphone Shorts: Baby Rose Marie the Child Wonder (1929); Don't Get Nervous (1929); Lambchops (1929); The late, great, founder of the Vitaphone Project, Ron Hutchinson, presented a program in 2016 called "90th Anniversary of Vitaphone." The work Ron did with Vitaphone was inspiring. He found, restored, and preserved hundreds of films from the early 'talkie' era. The Vitaphone Project brought films to life when sound reels and picture reels had to be cued up separately. Many times the movie would survive while these shellac records containing the sound were missing. Ron tracked down these records and put them together with the films they belonged to. His presentation in 2016 of these Vitaphone shorts is to this day, my favorite presentation I've attended. To sit in the Egyptian Theater so early in the morning and laugh myself silly to The Beau Brummels (1928) is something I'll never forget. It was absolute magic. Ron passed away in 2019.

12:30 p.m. Safety Last (1923) - You better believe I'm going to beg you to watch the local boy, Harold Lloyd, in this fantastic film. If you've never really liked silent films, give this one a shot. Its lovely, crisp, and fun. Just a perfect silent movie by our Nebraska boy!

4:45 p.m. Network (1976) - Network was the last film I saw at my first film festival. I went to see Faye Dunaway speak about her career and followed it up with this film. It was the first viewing for me, and I was blown away. I loved it; it's heavy, I mean heavy. Again, if you're feeling a little down being stuck at home, skip this one.

7:00 p.m. Casablanca (1942) - What can you say about this little slice of perfection? You all know the lines, "Here's looking at you kid;" "We'll always have Paris," and "This is the beginning of a beautiful friendship." It's classic movies personified. 

12:30 a.m. Norman Lloyd: Live from the TCM Film Festival (2016)- Mr. Lloyd was 100 at the time of this taping. Some friends and I bumped into this magical man last year when he was attending the festival as a guest. He is just happiness, orneriness, and love in one beautiful package. Stay up for this interview if you can.

Sunday, April 19

1:00 p.m. Red-Headed Woman (1932) - Let me count the ways I love this pre-code treasure. This film stars Jean Harlow and Chester Morris. My newest dog's name is Chester after Chester Morris. I love him and this insane movie. 

5:00 p.m. Singin' In the Rain (1952) - I'm not a fan of musicals, but give me this one, and I'm here for it. The film and music is beautiful, and it's just a fun movie.

7:00 p.m. Floyd Norman: An Animated Life (2020) - This was scheduled for this year's festival, and I would have been front and center. I have goosebumps typing this and thinking that I missed getting to see Normal speak this year. He was at the festival last year to discuss his animation on Sleeping Beauty (1959). He showed us the moments he animated in the film and what it was like in the animation studios back then. Sleeping Beauty is my favorite animated Disney film, so seeing an animator talk about it left me in tears. I cried all the way through the presentation and the movie. It was such a moment and probably my favorite from last year. 

8:45 p.m. The Hustler (1961) - Paul Newman, that's all I need to say. 

I hope you get a chance to lose yourself for a while in a great classic film during this 'At Home Festival." I'll be here in my living room dressed in a few of the outfits I bought for the fest enjoying what I love best, beautiful storytelling. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

TCMFF 2020 new titles announced

Turner Classic Movies has announced a few of the films they will be showing during this year’s Film Festival. The TCMFF held in the heart of Hollywood is in its 11th year. The 2020 dates are April 16-19th and passes are available for purchase here.
By this time each year, my excitement is at a fever pitch. We are only weeks out from the event and after a few films are announced I start planning. It’s really impossible to plan for the event as a slew of films will still be announced, but usually, there are a few that make you giddy.
This year the films that have me ready to get in line now are:
The World The Flesh and The Devil (1959)
The premise of the film is that Ralph (Belefonte) is a trapped miner who digs himself out and finds that all of mankind has been destroyed in a Nuclear holocaust. He goes to New York City and finds he is alone until he comes across Sarah (Inger Stevens) Together they grow close and survive until Benson Thacker (Mel Ferrer) shows up and puts a kink in their friendship.
I remember the first time I saw this movie. I was in absolute awe of Harry Belefonte and Inger Stevens. their chemistry is fantastic and who can resist Belafonte’s voice and charm? I felt like I was the only person who had seen this film and wanted to scream about it from the rooftops. It left such an impact on me that I begged everyone I knew to watch it. This film certainly deserves its own post in the future!
This year the TCM Film Festival will be showing this movie on 35 mm! it will be next to impossible to resist this showing. Go ahead and picture me in line for this film.
Jewel Robbery (1932)
Who doesn’t love a Pre-Code? When I see the pre-codes on the line-up I know that there’s a good chance I’ll be seeing one of these babies on Sunday as a TBD film. The lines and excitement for a good pre-code are insane.
This film would be ‘new to me,’ but I’ll drop everything for a William Powell film. According to TCM’s Film Festival website the film is about a woman, bored with her husband and lover, a baroness of Vienna (Kay Francis) begins to fall for the charms of a debonair jewel thief (William Powell) in this pre-Code comedy. (Girl Same-how do you not fall for William Powell?)
The larger schedule of films still hasn’t dropped and probably won’t for another month, but the wait and dreaming of what films could make this list are just as fun as getting the whole list.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

TCM Film Festival where to eat

Guys, we have roughly eight weeks to go until the Turner Classic Film Festival, can you believe it?
(UPDATED Feb. 2020 in time for my 5th Festival!)
To some, the festival has become second nature or something you just do, a right. For some of us, it's still this surreal, magical experience that we have to save every extra nickel we earn so we can attend. The moment I get home from the festival, I'm counting the days down until the next one. It's what I look forward to most all year long.
This year will be my third trip to Hollywood for the TCM Film Festival, and it still feels like my first time. Eight weeks out and I still have butterflies in my stomach. I’m excited, and as I write this my heart beats faster and harder as I think about what films they have yet to announce, Wuthering Heights perhaps? Possibly, Gone With the Wind? Probably not, they ran that a few years back, before I could afford to attend, dang.
Before my first trip in 2016 I researched so many blogs and found so many helpful tips but what I also found was that I was not in the same category as everyone else. My pal Will gave some wonderful suggestions on ways to eat without missing a movie. I took those tips to heart and memorized nearly every line of his blog post word for word. I even saved it to my phone in case I needed it when I got to LA.
What I found out when I got there was that I couldn’t function on concession foods and snacks. My body needed a meal. My food was important enough for me to cut into my movie time. They don't call him #OldFoodWeirdo they call him #OldMOVIEWeirdo. I was in the minority, and that was alright. My blood sugar just couldn’t handle the lack of food; I didn’t feel great without the piles of crap in my gut. I hadn’t prepared for it. 
If you're going to cut back on your food and try to eat mostly concession foods and Special K Bars, Candy Bars, Etc., prepare yourself for it. Don’t be the guy who passes out in line. 
That did happen to someone last year on the first day. A poor soul passed out and got sick. I didn’t see it happen my first year but last year as we stood in line, indoors for Barefoot in the Park someone got ill and dropped. Prepare yourself for standing, walking, and stretches of little to no food if that is the route you go. Stick a candy bar in your purse if you need to. It may be a lifesaver! Even with a proper meal my sugar still dropped from time to time, and I needed a candy bar quick. Pack a couple to keep on hand. Don't rely on grabbing an expensive on from the concession stand. Put some in your luggage or grab one from the CVS down the street from the Roosevelt (more on that later.)
I’ll be honest with you; I like my food a lot. I’m a chubby girl, and I  plan most of my vacations around where I get to eat. Let me lay it out for you in some pricing terms of the middle class also to help out.
The heart of the Festival is the TCL Theater and the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. 
Here are some of the places I recommend that are decently priced and delicious for those who want to be able to eat either fast food or sit down and eat a meal for under $20 per person. 
In-N-Out: Three Blocks South of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel 
You can get a Double-Double Burger Combo-$6.70, that’s pretty much the most expensive thing. So if you’re quick, you can eat cheaply there. 
Baja Fresh – Across the street from Grauman’s, Decent fast food (Mexican) I was there in 2016 and I remember it was pretty good. Prices for burritos under $9.  Menu HERE
Jinya Ramen Express is right outside the door of a few of the TCL Theaters, and it is a GREAT place to grab a quick meal that is easy on your stomach if you have a sensitive stomach like me. I had 15 minutes between a few movies last year and grabbed something from this place and fell in love. I went back at least three more times before the end of the trip. I have talked about this place so much over the past year and looked forward to it the most. It was delicious! A bowl fed both my husband and me, and it was under $15. Menu HERE UPDATE: Still a fave, no THE FAV. Plan on going there at least five times in the five days I'm here-if not more.
Johnny Rockets - right around the corner from the TCL theaters you’ll find this little diner. This place is a favorite of my sisters and came so highly praised by a reader/friend of mine that I gave it another shot hoping for a small miracle. I ran into Ben Mankiewicz eating with his family there too. I had high hopes, unfortunately, this was the first time I had eaten here sober and found it to be just alright. It will get you by in a jam. Menu HERE.
Inside the Hollywood Roosevelt-25 Degrees, you get a TCMFF Discount for attending the Festival with your pass, and they play TCM. They have an excellent breakfast and are open 24 hours. I hit this place up a few times alone in my first year. (This is a note for any women going alone. I was 33 and a woman alone during my first year. I felt 100% safe going to 25 Degrees at midnight and early in the morning for meals alone. There was always someone to talk to, or not talk to if I chose.) Here are some of the items I have ordered and enjoyed.
Grilled Three Cheese-$8.00; Sonoran Hot Dog*MY FAV* (bacon-wrapped, caramelized onion, tomato, pinto beans, hatch green chili, queso fresco onion, mustard, garlic aioli) $10.50; Classic Waffle-$11; They also have lots of Burgers here too, but I had that Sonoran Hot Dog, and it was so good I never looked back.  Menu HERE
Mel’s Drive-In – Between TCL theatre and the Egyptian Theatre A Must! You will find fellow TCM friends dining at Mel’s all hours of the night during the festival. You may also find a Chaplin impersonator dining as well. Mel’s is an institution you can’t miss. The mac and cheese is to die for, and I swear by their BLT +Avacado sandwiches. That’s all I’ve ever had there so I can’t recommend anything else.  I know its probably about $20 for me to eat there but I usually splurge and get a coke while I’m there and maybe a coffee or dessert. That’s my fault. You could probably eat there pretty reasonable, but there is just something about being there that makes me scream ‘Bring me ALL THE FOOD.’ It’s my fault.  Plus they have lavender candy, and I love it and only find it there, so I always buy them out when I’m there too.  Menu HERE
Pig ‘N’ Whistle – Right next to the Egyptian Theatre- I have been here once, and it was a fun night, my first in Hollywood with great friends. I had a meal that wasn’t the best, but I was in a hurry and didn’t order what I was comfortable with eating. I need to get them a shot again, so I am going to recommend them for a fun atmosphere and from what I have heard is a fun place with good food. It couldn’t be pricey, but you could get out under $15 if you wanted to. Menu HERE UPDATE: I managed to get into ‘Pig’ a few more times in recent years and the food was pretty great and after eating around, I realized that it was also reasonable. I had the California nachos and they were pretty damn good.
Micelis – A few blocks east of the Egyptian Theatre- The Italian food was so delicious. The Atmosphere was so fun, and every time we wandered our way down there we had a blast. Each time we sat down and filled ourselves to the brim with pasta we were surrounded by fellow TCM fans. The first time I had Alfredo and it was incredible, the second night I had cheese ravioli, and it was incredible, then any other time I was there, I rotated between those two things. Those two dishes were about $14. There was just enough to fill me up and nothing left over which was a bummer because there was nothing to take back to eat later, but still great.  It was a beautiful little getaway from the hustle and bustle of Hollywood BLVD.  Menu HERE UPDATE: The food quality had gone way downhill in the past few years. I think this year will be a no go for us on this little place. Sadly.
Cho Oishi - Fine Japanese. It’s in the Highland/Hollywood Mall area. I haven’t been here, but I am told on good authority (thanks @jaxbra) that its good and has a huge menu. The service was good too. I think I will defiantly be checking this place out in 2019! It looks reasonably priced too. Menu HERE
Cheap eats to survive and not exactly my recommendations but in the area: McDonald's is between the TCL Theaters and the Egyptian. California Pizza Kitchen is in the Highland Shopping Center. The sitting area is gorgeous as you have a great spot to see the Hollywood sign and people watch but the pizza is not great and overpriced.  There is a Subway Sandwich shop in the shopping area to the west of LA LA Land next to the CVS across from the Hollywood Roosevelt. Also - you can probably Postmates something too!
There is a CVS right past on N. Sycamore Ave. and Hollywood BLVD. Its just west of LA LA Land across from The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. You can find alcohol there as well as water and all kinds of other snacks. GET WATER! Keep a bottle of water on you for the lines. You will be glad you did. Jeremy (@movie155) just alerted me to the fact that they recently opened a Walgreens next to the theater and someone else said there is a Trader Joe’s at 1600 and Vine south of Hollywood Boulevard for a healthier option. (Thank you @MaxineFaulk1). I was also told that you may even use Instacart to have groceries delivered. That may be something to consider as well. Thank you again Jax, that is actually brilliant and something I would have loved when I was sick my first year! (Please tip your driver though guys, they don’t get the full tip you designate when you place the order)
I give Jameson's Irish Pub a thumbs down for a flat beer, bad service, and food that was spoiled, overpriced and made me sick. 
A few places outside of the area that we explored last year that are totally worth a shot are:
Jones: This place was amazing. The atmosphere was great and I can’t stop thinking about the Famous Apple Pie for Two. It was super low key and a quick, cheap Lyft away from Hollywood Boulevard. Menu HERE
Want to find go where the real celebrities ate? Follow this guide from someone who knows L.A. This is a GREAT guide HERE.
Little Dom’s: This place was such a fun place. Our pal Lauren took us to this place and couldn’t have chosen a better place for us to sit out on the sidewalk and spend the afternoon. The Nutella panini paired with the potatoes was heaven. Menu, HERE.
Cantors Deli: Get in a Lyft and find your way here. Get a slab of cheesecake and some black and white cookies ASAP as well as a meal. Do it. DO IT! Menu, HERE.

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