Photo of the Day posts
Tuesday April 19, 2022
Sam McDaniel Breaks the Fourth Wall
The above screenshot is from Warner Bros.' 1934 actioner “Here Comes the Navy,” the first pairing of James Cagney and Pat O'Brien, and it seems to show bathroom attendant Sam McDaniel, brother of future Oscar-winner Hattie, presenting a man (Cagney, playing Chesty O'Connor) leaving the restroom. But that's not what he's doing. McDaniel is actually breaking the fourth wall.
Cagney's character is a riveter in, I would guess, Bremerton, Wash., who gets into it with Pat O'Brien's Navy man. And at a dance, which Chesty expects to win, they fight in the alley to a standstill—until Chesty's girl calls him, he turns his head, and O'Brien clocks him. Then O'Brien wins the dance and steals the girl. Chesty, meanwhile, winds up in this restroom, where he's awakened via Black Narcissus, a perfume, then consoled, cleaned up as well as possible, and, as he's sent on his way, the man doing all this, McDaniel, holds out an open palm for a tip. Which is completely ignored. It's not even seen. It's not even a concept. So he turns helplessly toward the camera as if to say, “You see this shit?”
Anyway, it made me laugh.
I don't know if much has been written about Sam McDaniel, other than being Hattie's brother, but according to IMDb he appeared in 223 movies and TV shows, 179 of which are uncredited. Five of the uncrediteds were Cagney pics:
- Public Enemy (1931): Headwaiter
- Footlight Parade (1933): Porter in ‘Honeymoon Hotel’
- Lady Killer (1933): Porter
- Here Comes the Navy (1934): Washroom Attendant
- A Lion Is In the Streets (1953): Moses, Bolduc’s Butler
At least by the time of “Lion,” he got a name.
Sunday August 02, 2020
Screenshot of the Day
From “A Lion Is in the Streets” (1953), Cagney's sloppy seconds on the Huey Long story:
No, but he used to be. He used to be a big shot.
Friday July 31, 2020
Oh, to Be a Cat Now that the Pandemic Is Here
Jellybean in repose the other night as we went through a mild heat wave by Seattle standards: highs in the high 80s/low 90s.
Monday June 29, 2020
Screenshot of the Day: Ann Sheridan
Here's a shot of Ann Sheridan in “They Drive By Night,” starring George Raft and Humphrey Bogart. 1940.
Sheridan plays the tough waitress that can deal with any loudmouth trucker who stops by the cafe. Raft is the man who woos and wins her. I think the subtitled quote is from Raft. Not sure if it would work today.
Monday February 24, 2020
Saturday February 15, 2020
Screenshot: You Only Live Once (1937)
From Fritz Lang's “You Only Live Once,” starring Sylvia Sidney and Henry Fonda. And yes, that's not Henry Fonda.
“...the electric eye which detects metal”: love that. How long before they shortened it? Or was this an overlong name for moviegoers unfamiliar with the tech? And hey, when did metal detectors become a thing anyway?
For the modern version, apparently, the 1920s.
In this scene, Joan (Sidney), the secretary to a perpetually scowling public defender (Barton MacLane), is trying to smuggle a gun to her boyfriend, Eddie Taylor (Fonda), who's been convicted of a crime he didn't commit—a favorite Lang theme. Father Dolan (William Gargan) covers for her here but then demands the gun. Is this her first attempt at breaking the law? In the last half hour, Eddie and Joan become a kind of Bonnie and Clyde, but nicer. Fonda's character is similar to his Tom Joad two years later; he begins both movies getting out of jail and is pretty touchy about anyone asking questions. Fonda's persona would smooth out over the years but I like this version, too.
Does anyone know if this is where we get the James Bond title “You Only Live Twice”? Was it playing off of this movie? Or just off the general adage?
Friday December 18, 2015
Minnesota winter, 1970
Saturday September 26, 2015
Screenshot of the Day
Any guesses who this is? Which movie character? Hint: He was in three of this series' movies:
Tuesday January 06, 2015
How great is this photo?
It's from the Sunday New York Times interview with Alejandro G. Iñárritu, the man who needs to lose some accents in his last name for the sake of movie critics everywhere. (Thank God for cut and paste.)
The Q&A is interesting, even if Iñárritu neglects to credit F. Scott Fitzgerald here:
I think [being] intelligent creatures is to have two ideas at the same time — you can have happiness and depression simultaneously. I think that’s what really this guy is battling; it’s the duality we all have. Sometimes you can feel the king of world and 30 minutes later, you are a dead piece of [expletive].
Or maybe he got it from someone else. Or from his own deep thoughts.
Among the other revelations? The stark drum soundtrack owes a lot to Gene Krupa, Mike Nichols unsuccessfully warned him away from the “single shot” experiment, and Iñárritu hangs with Michael Mann.
Thursday October 30, 2014
#tbt for Halloween
I think these shots are from 1968 or '69. My older brother Chris is the wolf/bear/whatever creature, and I'm the devil, of course. Years later, I noticed the “Daredevil” logo on the chest and belt, but that's not why I got it. I wasn't into superheroes then. I assume my mom got both costumes for us, although, who knows, maybe we were allowed to pick them out. But one wonders about the weird amalgamation of new Marvel superhero and oldest villain of western civilization. I guess this was BBM: Before Brand Managers. It's like Marvel was Krusty the Clown: lending out images of its superheroes to any crappy merchandise that came along.
Chris and I are with our grandfather, Bedstefar, who was born in Schleswig-Holstein in the late 19th century, went to military school in Denmark, became a ship's architect in Copenhagen, and then moved to the U.S. in the early 1920s. He was one of the more fun, charming men I've known in my life. He was great with adults and even better with kids. Which is good because he had a mountain of grandkids.
Mouse over the photo to see us tamed.
Whenever we showed slides, and the moused-over image came on, with Chris and I, wearing these frightening masks, sitting politely on the steps with our hands folded in our laps, my father would burst out laughing.
Wednesday September 10, 2014
Screenshot of the Day
Just an ordinary shot from “The Immigrant,” which isn't a particularly good movie even if Ms. Cotillard is excellent in it. I post it midweek for anyone with sore eyes.
Saturday July 26, 2014
John Lennon on the 'Happy Days' Set
This photo was posted on Facebook via The REAL Peter Tork:
“Happy Days had just been on the air a short time in 1974 when the cast noticed a familiar looking man hanging around in the studio one day. It was none other than former Beatle John Lennon, along with his then 10-year-old son Julian. ... Lennon stuck around for the entire day of shooting, drawing doodles for the crew and hanging out until they wrapped the shoot after some 12 hours...”
From the looks of it, this was from Lennon's “Rock n' Roll” period. Was he still on the outs with Yoko then? Hanging out with May Pang?
Yes. Just did the Google search. According to BuzzFeed, it was taken in January 1974.
So this was kind of a low point for him (artistically, personally) and a high point for “Happy Days.” The early shows were quite good, and the title almost ironic. Things invariably went badly for Richie, but he had family to fall back on. It was only when the show shifted from Richie-centric to Fonz-centric that it lost its sense of irony and became a huge hit.
But that photo's nuts. Isn't it? It's like some odd amalgamation of my childhood/teen years. It would be like a photo of Evel Knievel hanging out with the Twins at Met Stadium. Or Thor Heyerdahl and Lindsay Wagner visiting “The Planet of the Apes” set. Worlds colliding.
Tuesday April 01, 2014
Photo of the Day: Ortiz and Obama
Two of my favorite guys in the world:
It was David Ortiz's selfie from earlier in the day, when POTUS honored the Boston Red Sox, winners of the 2013 World Series, at the White House.
Saturday March 22, 2014
Captain America's Message to Fox News
In anticipation of the new Captain America movie, I recently watched the 1944 serial starring Dick Purcell as Grant Gardner, district attorney, who also happens to be ... Captain America! So where's Steve Rogers? And Bucky? And his mighty shield? And World War II? And the wings on his helmet? Good questions. At least there's this WW II-era poster on the wall of one scene:
NO ROOM FOR RUMORS. How has the left not used this slogan, not to mention the poster itself, against Fox News and all of its rumors? Seriously. Someone needs to plaster this thing over Roger Ailes' mouth. We need to say it every time Bill O., or Karl R., or any of the countless rumormongers on that network get going. Let's face it. If the WWII-era slogan would appeal to any demographic, it would appeal to Fox's demographic.
Thursday February 27, 2014
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Stephen Dedalus, eat your heart out:
We recently digitized some slides, and this was one of them. Age ... 4? Yes, that's a snowman. And, yes, he's dropping a hat. He already has one on his head, see? That's why he's dropping it.
I think I actually remember that logic. I think I made an error and so I made the error into a hat. Which he was dropping. Because he had one on his head.
Such logical stretches are what I have long forged in the smithy of my soul.
All previous entries