Tuesday, 25 September 2012


My letter to Katharine was not done!
Oh, my God! I don't know how this happened, I must've published it by accident or something, but oh, dear, it wasn't supposed to go up!
I'm sorry if I spoiled the surprise to those of you who have seen it, but it had only five pageviews so I guess it wasn't too bad.
I'll be publishing it later, when it's finished!
I'm so sorry again!

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Golden Age Poetry

Hello all!
Since I was very young, I always loved poetry. Reading it, writing it, everything to do with it. I disagree with whoever it was that said a picture is worth a thousand words. To me, not a thousand pictures may be worth one single word. We're all bloggers here, we all know the power a few words can have. Since this is a classic Hollywood blog, I'll engage you in a simple experiment. I'll put down a few groups, each with 3 words or less, and I'll bet they'll evoke a million different memories in all classic film fans out there.

Just whistle.
Always have Paris.
Blame on Mame.
Mother! Blood!
Now, Ricky...
Nobody's perfect!
Moon river

Now, it is the power of words that touched me to write what I'm publishing here today. It's a compilation of poems I have written about/to/from Old Hollywood stars. These were all expressions of my personal feelings and understanding toward them, and although I hope you'll like them, maybe you'll find they don't make you feel the same way they made me.
Anyhoo, check it out!

Scarlet-Colored Sky -> I wrote this poem after seeing a very sad video about Lucy's death. I started imagining her eyes closing, her soul being lifted up and by the time she got to heaven, the entire sky turned scarlet. As red as her hair, as red as her soul that burned non-stop for 77 years. And now, even when she's gone, we still feel her close. Because that was Lucy, that's what she did.

It’s a lovely glow that sparks a twilight
a pretty shine in the bluest eye
a sea of laughter in the Milky Way
it’s in your scarlet-colored sky
it’s a scarlet-colored soul
that floats around us every day
it’s a scarlet-colored dream
rays of sunshine in the Milky Way
because you’re here and I can feel it
wherever it was you chose to go
there was nothing you could do to stop it
you are all we’ll ever know
there’s a silence in the air tonight
because your voice was muffled down
and don’t you think you lost the fight
you’re a queen without a crown
the love we have will never end
if a thousand years go by
and countless hearts you’ll help to mend
from your scarlet-colored sky
you were given from on up high
you were a gift to the world that day
and now you watch what you left behind
from the scarlet Milky Way
and what a dream you made come true
your whole life in red and blue
our hearts that beat as one for you
and the promise to make it through
because you were our brightest star
every minute of every day
and the simple fact of who you are
will shine on and show us the way
I feel you telling me every night
that you will always be by my side
whether it’s beating inside my heart
or from your scarlet-colored sky.

Easy -> Now, this one was written when I was thinking about how much Bogie had to leave behind when he died as prematurely as he did. I started wondering what he would say to the people he left here if he could somehow communicate with them.

Hey, brother, can you spare a dime? 
I have a vital call to make
I have to reach out from the sky
spare a dime for heaven’s sake
I need to tell her about the truth
you see, I have much more to say
or else the thoughts inside my head
will never see the light of day
I left her broken, all alone
I wish I didn’t have to go that way
I can feel it in my every bone
She needs to hear my voice today
And if she was here right now
This is what I would say:
“It would be easy, so they said
Life, or whatever you call it
It’s easy to stay on the surface
The road is straight, the sky is solid
But, the truth, Baby, is that it isn’t
Life is hard, I’ve come to know
But every step in a bumpy road
Is an inch of spirit that you will grow
You know you have my hand to hold
You know you have me inside your heart
You know the ones we truly love?
From those we never drift apart
The truth is, Baby, I’m proud of you
For keeping that smile shining all the time
I wish I could tell you how much I love you
If I only  could spare a dime
They said it’s easy to be left behind
You’re still living, I’m the one who’s died
But it’s not easy, Baby girl
To keep that pain bottled up inside
But don’t you know our time will come
What we did was just begin
I gave you fire to live without me
Keep that fire deep within
I’ve come to know eternity
Believe me, Baby, it is true
Life is hard and so is death
What’s awful easy is loving you.”

To fly -> This one was the one that killed me the most to write. I was watching Mr. and Mrs. Smith (1941) and there's a scene where Carole Lombard's character gets trapped with Robert Montgomery on a Ferris wheel. During the scene, it shows her up in the air, looking down, terrified to fall. And I immediately thought of the plane accident that killed her, and how she must've felt then. That thought alone disturbed me profoundly, but then, to convince myself that the truth wasn't as bad as it sounded, I wrote this poem to remind me that it's only fair for an angel like Ms. Lombard to die flying. 

I have a dream that I won’t let go
I want to fly, I always did
And when I’m feeling my spirit soar
Inside my heart, I’ll be just a kid
I wish I could stay for dinner
But heaven calls and I must reply
I’ll be much more than a saint or sinner
It’s time to jump up into the sky
“A profane angel”, they used to say
And I hope in bed, you’ll dream of me
But I must go, go seize the day
Because my last, it may well be
I really do wish I could stay
But the final time must come for all
And if I can’t avoid this day
I may as well just have a ball
It’s merely a change of what’s outside
Because my soul is already in flight
And if I do have to leave behind
Everything that I’ve yearned to find
If it’s the end, and I cannot fight
At least I have to fly away tonight
And with all my dreams, I soon will die
I go, but I have in mind
That I once knew what it was like
To fly.  

Lucky -> This poem I wrote randomly. I literally had no reason to write it, haha. All I know is that I really love this poem named "The Waltz", by a Brazilian writer named Casimiro de Abreu. He used one to three words in every line, so that when you read it, it has the same beat as a waltz. I feel like this was inspired by him.

You were
The world twirls
when you stir

I hope
You concur
There's no one
No, sir
That can be
What you were
So lucky
To be

Waste -> This one I wrote when I finished watching Whatever Happened to Baby Jane. These two are such superb actresses and such splendid people that I wish they'd gotten along better. Even though I'm fascinated by their feud, if they were friends, they would probably have been my favorite Hollywood friendship. Feud aside, however, I must say I get the feeling that they respect each other as professionals very much.

What a look in your face, Ms. D
What a smile, that was, Ms. C
What a story you've thrown to me
What a way to end this scene
While all the while the world pretends
That all this time, you could've been friends
What a waste

Think of Me -> This one I wrote about Marilyn Monroe. It's a message to all those who misquote and paint an unflattering picture of this truly misunderstood soul who always did her best.

Think of me when you see my look in other eyes
Think of what I was trying to disguise
Think of the life that could’ve been mine
Think of the stars that didn’t shine
Think of me when the world is spinning out of control
And you think you’ll lose your own soul
Trust me when I say I’ll show
A side of you you’d never know
Think of me when the stars are bright
It will be me lighting up your night
Because my fire will never cease
Think of me when you hear those lies
Think of the legacy I left behind
Think of the pain I must feel inside
With every truth that they try to hide
Because, honey, what I’m trying to find
Is a way to say that I’m still alive
And there’s still so much more of me
It is my hope, I’m telling you
It was my hope that made it through
I wish that you will have it too
Because what is life without a light
At the end of the tunnel, so bright
I hope it makes you survive the fight
Because, darling, it’s not over yet
Think of me when the spotlight hits your face
And you feel it had to be this way
I was made
To be yours. 

I hope you all enjoyed this! Let me know what you think and I'll see y'all later! :)

So long,

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Very, very late Classic Survey

Hello there, my pals and gals!

I'm just gonna leave this here for staring purposes

Yours truly reporting for duty, with another one of those rambly posts that are neither here nor there, but don't you worry, my dahlings, because this time I have an explanation: I've been caught up in writing a totality of THREE brand new posts which I'm terribly excited about: One about my favorite off-screen Hollywood romances, one about cinema royalty and who makes it (a post that includes heavy photoshopping - tiaras on Old Hollywood heads, what's not to like?), and of course, (and these are the loudest drumrolls you've ever heard) my letter to The Great, my impossible task of expressing my feelings for Katharine Hepburn in mere words. Yes, I've started my letter. Yes, I will not permit that it comes out as anything short of perfect. So y'all better get your game faces on

In order to fill in the void of meaningful posts while I diligently work on the three above-mentioned giants, I frantically looked for a theme that was easy to discuss but yet interesting enough for you guys to like it. After all, you guys make Best of The Past what it is, and who would I do this for except for me (obviously) and you? :')

So, one of these days I was watching I Love Lucy (something I don't do very much -haha, who am I kidding?) and I, on some sort of impulsive decision I was sure I would regret later, decided to read EVERYTHING my dear friend Rianna had written about The Redhead herself. Now if you guys are unfamiliar with the likes of Rianna, you must know that she is one of the biggest fans Ms. Ball has ever had the fortune to have. And she has written, well, quite a lengthy bit about Lucy. 

Reading those delightful posts became a very dear task, and, as I later found out, I had something to do on my blog! The fact is, she created a Classic Movie survey in February (I KNOW! Dont blame me for the lateness, how was I supposed to know??) that sounded really really interesting, so I decided to give it a shot. Interesting fact that I will have a hard time sharing: this survey was created February 1st, exactly 13 days BEFORE I became a classic movie fan. Don't judge - it's time y'all know the truth: I've been in this delightful world for less than a year. 

Shocking revelations aside, the survey goes like this:

1. Favorite classic Disney? 
Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs
The original story for this by the Grimm Brothers is actually pretty macabre, but, Disney did a great job in making it children-friendly. It was the first Disney movie I really loved.

2. Favorite film from the year 1939?
The Women. It's pure comedic genius. I'm horrified to find out it was remade in 2008.

 3. Favorite Carole Lombard Screwball role? 

Bless My Man Godfrey (1936)

4. Favorite off screen couple? (It’s ok if it ended in divorce.) 
Baby and Baby. Kate and Spence are a very very close second, but ultimately, these two win my heart.

5. Favorite pair of best friends? (i.e: Barbara Stanwyck and Joan Crawford)
The two most talented people who ever graced the silver screen were also very good friends. They met through Spencer Tracy, a person Bogie cared for and admired very deeply since 1930. They had really strong personalities. Kate used to criticize him for drinking too much and not taking care of his health (yes, I'm her reincarnation) and he used to call her a sissy because she wouldn't use the bushes as a bathroom (LOL). However, they liked each other a lot. Kate and Spence were the only ones that never missed one of Bogie's "surprise" birthday parties (that after a few years, were no longer a surprise) on Christmas Eve. An anecdote about their friendship: When Bogart died, Kate and Spence went over to his house. Betty was crying, and so was Spencer, but Kate was so shocked she couldn't shed a tear. As a demonstration of how inadequate she felt without her friend, she attended his funeral wearing a skirt. Things like these restore my faith in humanity. 

 6. Favorite actor with a mustache? 
Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn about any other actors with mustaches

 7. Favorite blonde actress? 
Lauren Bacall
There were other blond actresses more talented than she was, I believe, but she is one of my all-around favorite people

8. Favorite pre-code? 
City Lights

9. Which studio would you have liked to join?

 10. Favorite common on screen pairing that SHOULD have gotten married?
Well, first and foremost,
But I don't see how anyone could be more married than these two. Honestly, I don't care about a piece of paper or a ring, and I don't think it would've changed a thing if they did, so, I'm gonna have to go with

 11. Favorite I Love Lucy episode?
The episode where I truly fell in love with her was "Lucy Fakes Illness", so that one is pretty special to me. But, my favorite scene in the history of the show is the ending of "Pregnant Women Are Unpredictable". It was the single most romantic thing I've ever seen on TV. Just beforehand, they talk on the phone and when he's about to hang up, he says "Goodbye, angel": My heart simply quakes. 

 12. Out of these actresses which one do you like best: Lucille Ball, Ingrid Bergman, Natalie Wood, Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn, Greer Garson, Grace Kelly, or Katharine Hepburn? 
In case anyone had any doubts

13. Shadowy film noir from the 1940’s or splashy colorful musicals from the 1950’s? 

14. Actor or actress with the best autograph (photo preferred)
"Love, Lucy"

In time: I'd like to share one of the sweetest letters I've ever read. I found it online and it's addressed to Gary Morton (I know, Mr. Ball himself. She did love him. The guy was a saint.), in Lucy's handwriting.
"I'm so sorry you are away - you'll miss Florence Henderson in "Brady Bunch" and Durward Kirby is on during the days - We'll make it up to you - somehow - Please try to think of me more often than you miss your golf. That is an order! Have I ever thanked you enough for being such a great father to my children? No, I haven't. Not enough. You're really something! And I have so much to thank you for. Love you."

15. A baby (or childhood, or teenage) photo of either your favorite actress or actor (or both, if you’d like.)
Behold: Humphrey Bogart in 1901. 

My favorite actress was a pretty cute baby in her own right (even then her mouth turned downward :'D), but the pre-Hollywood pictures I like the most are the ones of her in Bryn Mawr College. I love looking at Kate carrying books, living in a dorm, taking part in school plays, field trips, having a good time with her cutesy boyfriend, playing golf with her peers and studying for exams. 
And now, for your viewing pleasure, the greatest actress who ever lived, as a college girl, looking gloriously... normal.

Sophomore year as a History and Philosophy double-major (SKIRT?)

Senior play

with her boyfriend Luddy

Aah, the days where stars were just people, people who went to college, had cute baby pictures and wrote letters to their husbands. 
I guess we all miss those days. Even us who never lived them. 

So long,

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Eighty-Eight Whistles

My dearest Betty,
In my mind, I've baked you a cake. It's vanilla and mint, soft and feisty. Eighty-eight candles are on top of it. We sing happy birthday and you put your lips together and blow. The light is pointed at you and your face is glowing. You are smiling. Before you know it, a spectrum of images begins to appear, ever so dimly, behind you. Frank Sinatra. Judy Garland. Leonard Bernstein. Adlai Stevenson. Slim Hawks. Katharine Hepburn. Spencer Tracy. Natalie Bacal. Humphrey Bogart. They're young. They're alive. They're honored to be there. For a second, you seem young too. Your smile gets brighter, your heart pounds faster. You blink. They disappear. They turn into three adult children and a hyperactive puppy. But, somehow your smile keeps shining on. You look up and thank your lucky stars to be standing here today.

I call you my joie de vivre for a reason. It's the French expression for joy of life, the ability to find sheer happiness in the simple fact that you have flesh, bones and a beating heart. The truth is, anyone your age, with virtually no one else to live for, would sit back and wait for death to come. It's like one minute you are desperate over your first wrinkle - until your superstar husband kisses you in the cheek and says you're beautiful, naturally - and the next you have children who have wrinkles themselves and said husband is long gone from this earth. Yet you live on. You seem to be my constant, that safe port I can refer to every time I need some serious grounding. If I'm down and out, no matter what is going on, I can see you. All I have to do is switch one button on my DVD, or open up one of your books, or simply look at my desk, where a picture of you, strong and tall, stares at me every day and night. And every time I look at you, I see that unbreakable statue of titanium and roses, that beautiful thing we sometimes call integrity. It's you, Baby, and it is real.

I'm not saying you were always beautiful. No one is. I'm not saying you were excellent in every one of your movies. No one is. I'm not saying you never had sadness. Everyone does. You just never let it change you.
You have changed superficially. Your face changed, your body changed, your mind changed, hell, even your voice changed, but the essence is still there. It's been there since September 16th 1924 and it will be there until the day you die. It's that essence that you will never let go.

While with today's stars we often ask ourselves who will they be tomorrow, what mask will they put on and will it vary according to what their audience wants them to be, with you I never had to wonder.

You are Betty Bacall, from New York City. You are five foot eight and you have blond hair and green eyes. You are sultry and mysterious, powerful and striking, funny and joyous, talented and smart. You speak your mind, even if its 1947 and McCarthy is running after everyone who does. You are fearless, even when your home is crashing down in front of you, with children who can't keep up with your schedule and a husband you no longer love. You are happy, even if hell has poured down upon you and everything you knew has faded away. Integrity.

In films, you became whatever you needed to be. But, in real life, you were still the same. Shy and insecure at a first glance, with tired eyelids that kept half your eyes shut nearly all the time. Whenever you were surprised, you'd open them abruptly, revealing a unique and bewitching shade of green. You almost never opened up that smile to those you didn't know so well, you kept a mystery, a seriousness about you no matter how young you were. But, to those who knew you, not only did you smile 24/7, but you also made them smile too, simply by arriving with your colorful presence. You lit up the room. You still do.
And the happy excited teenager became a wisecracking woman, with charmingly witty humor and a laugh that smells like roses.

The stage was your initial dream, one you made come true. Two Tony Awards! Who was surprised with a voice like that? In one of them, you became an actress who was seeing her empire tumble down before her eyes. You didn't relate: She was previously played by your idol Bette Davis and now she was played by you. Your empire stood strong. On your second Tony, you were one of the gals who's one of the guys. She had been played by Katharine Hepburn. You beat her for the Award.

You were the queen of film noir. At the studio, you were so natural you seemed to have been born in those shadows. The sexy lines seemed to roll off your tongue with the ease of an expert. You know how to whistle, don't you?(1) In front of the cameras, it was goodbye virgin teenager and hello alluring adult. With Bogart by the side, you created magic. But that husky laugh in your head was a little too loud and you had to turn to comedy.Next thing I know, he hits me with a chicken! (2) Alongside Marilyn Monroe and Betty Grable, you shined through.  You were hilarious by nature. You brought laughter wherever you went. And in the toughest year of your life, no one could make you laugh but yourself. I eat like a fool when I'm in love! (3) Gregory Peck joined you and you got your mind off the hell your life was turning into. Losing Bogart. Losing your first and only love. Losing the man who gave you your whole life and more. Losing everything.

Bogie left you. Or, in all truthfulness, he was yanked from your loving arms. He didn't have your unconditional willingness to live. Bogart felt his life was worth nothing in plenty of moments, I'm sure. But the moment where he did have his life slip between his fingertips was probably the one time he wanted to live the most. You were his doll, his Baby, his Slim. He thought you were so fragile, he wanted to protect you, he wanted to take care of you, he wanted to give you everything he had. He loved you so. He said he'd die before he let anything bad happen to you.  I'm afraid he was right about that. Your love for him, however, is eternal. Nothing would've stopped it, nothing will stop it, and if there is such a thing as an afterlife, you know with whom you will be spending yours. 

At first, you felt your life was over at thirty-two. You, the happiest person in the world, had lost your will to get out of bed in the morning. Many people were there to offer you solace. Sinatra worshiped you. The Voice, The Blue Eyes, dragged you into his life completely. You needed him and he was yours, but you were never his. Your children were the lights in your eyes, the reason why your heart yearned to keep beating. As time went by, Bogie became a memory. The sea had erased his footprints and you could no longer smell him on your bed sheets. Steve and Leslie no longer knew the man who raised them. How frustrating it must've been to tell them about their own father, striving to maintain a memory that was so faint in their minds, but yet so alive in yours. It didn't take long until they realized the true magnificence of the situation. Play it, Sam. (4) Their father was extraordinary. 

What really saved you was your unsinkable heart and your unmatched talent for love. You loved, Baby. You loved and you loved and you loved. And each time your heart expanded you got happier. And each time you got happier, you were ready to love some more. You could love the whole world. 

And now you're there, turning 88 years old. My heart fills up with warmth and joy that someone like you has received such a gift. I think you found that a long, healthy life is the best weapon one has at hand. Time to make mistakes, time to live with them, time to grow from them. Time to know yourself, time to know others, time to realize your place in the world. Time to love and to be loved. You have done so much gloriously. And I hope you know you left us something that we will never be able to pay you back for: You left a little of yourself in everything you did. There was no way you wouldn't.

And now I have nothing to do but thank you. Thank you for your constancy, your integrity, your solidness. Because when nothing was in its place, you were there. And you were mine

When asked your idea of perfect happiness, you answered "Waking up in the morning." When asked your biggest fear, you answered: "Not waking up in the morning." 

Like you sang your way to your first Tony Award: "I feel groggy and weary and tragic! Punchy and bleary and fresh out of magic, but alive, but alive, but alive!"
There you have it, Baby. You've woken up to 88 years' worth of mornings. And you get a new one every day. Keep doing it justice.

I love you and happy birthday.

So long,

P.S. (1) To Have and Have Not, 1944
(2) How To Marry a Millionaire, 1953
(3) Designing Woman, 1957
(4) Casablanca, 1942

P.P.S. All the photos in this post are a result of my very patient, and much too delightful sifting of 175 pages of pictures on fuckyeahlaurenbacall on tumblr.

Friday, 14 September 2012

I Love Lucy and Interracial Equality

In the summer of 1940, a group of lesser-known thespians of RKO Radio Pictures were filming a low-budget musical described by critics as "harmless fluff". When the red-headed, blue-eyed 29-year-old leading lady walked into the set, she immediately caught the eye of another cast member. "That's a hunk o'woman." He mouthed at the sight of her. Their eyes met and fireworks went off inside both their hearts. He took her out dancing and every time he looked at her, he was more inebriated by her presence. They dated for about six months and ran off to marry. Great all-American love story, if it wasn't for one detail. His name was Desiderio Alberto Arnaz y de Acha, and he hailed all the way from Santiago de Cuba. Oh, Lucy, what did you do!?

In the 1940s and 1950s, racial segregation was still a reality, not only in America, but in most of the world. By marrying a Hispanic man, Lucille Desirée Ball (a rather sophisticated-sounding name) was frowned upon by the traditional society, was considered imprudent by most her media bosses, and was punishable by prison in 4 states. Sometimes I have a hard time believing society has, at one point, sunk as low as outlawing  interracial marriage. It strikes me as absurd that any individual, under any circumstance, has been looked at differently by the law only on account of being a non-white.

Thankfully, however, despite her presence in show business, Lucy's marriage didn't account for too much commotion back in the day. First, because Cuba was under the capitalist dictator Fulgencio Batista, who had the support of the American government and army and secondly, because she wasn't looking to promote, broadcast or endorse her behavior in any way, shape or form. It was only in 1950, when they decided to create a sitcom together and appear as a romantically-involved couple in live television, that the bigoted society of the era (frankly, today is not all that much better) started to show its ugly head. 

The idea was quite simple: To depict a normal, average, middle-class, clean-cut American couple. If you were a middle-class teenager watching I Love Lucy, 9 chances out of 10 you would, in a few years, be living a similar story of your own. The only thing unusual about the sitcom was that the couple and their best friends would go through all sorts of crazy, hysterical situations that 9 chances out of 10 you will never have to go through. I have yet to see such a simple concept result in such genius work. 

The wife, Lucy, was a typical 1950s American housewife: Caring and sweet, with a happy, clumsy nature and heart of gold. Ricky was the typical working husband, providing for the wife and making sure her innocently crazy behavior doesn't result in too much damage. Very little about their lifestyle didn't transcend the years and many American couples can still identify with Lucy and Ricky's life. They felt that since they were so relatable, they would have no trouble selling the idea to CBS. The real story was a little different.

The television company immediately turned down their idea because they felt Desi was "too ethnic". (As far as I knew, each person had their ethnicity to the same degree. How a person can be "too ethnic", we'll never know.) They felt it would be impossible to create a TV show centered around their married life without making it completely about race. As far as CBS was concerned, Lucille Ball was a darling, and brother, was she talented, but Desi Arnaz was not a realistic contribution to the show. They felt it was unimaginable that a white, all-American gal like Lucy could be married to a Cuban fella like Desi. In 1950, they offered to make another TV show, with Lucy and a white guy, so that American families could relate more easily. 

Lucy's response was a soundly "no". Either we're both in this or I walk. 

I must give Lucy my standing ovation for her attitude. 

They proved themselves to CBS by putting on a vaudevillian act, that toured around America in 1950. The crowds adored them. Lucy and Desi were a hit, but the CBS bosses were still skeptical.The network's "yes" felt more like an "alrighty, then" to the couple who had twenty years of discouragement in Hollywood on their backs. Cigarette giant Philip Morris was gonna pay for it, so why not?

Boom! I Love Lucy was a bigger hit than any other sitcom in American history! "Oh, brother! They're hilarious! They're so sweet! Their life is unbelievable! Wait, he's Cuban. Oh, who cares?! We adore this show!" And if it was okay that he was a Cuban on television, why wouldn't it be okay to love a Cuban guy outside of television? Hey, maybe our vision was prejudiced before. Maybe interracial love is not all bad!

Slowly and lingeringly, Lucy and Desi's love illustrated and influenced a change in all-around society. A change in racial roles, a change in what is okay and what isn't in the name of love. Alongside I Love Lucy, the teenagers started their own not-so-quiet revolution: Rock'N'Roll, a new groove that combined blues, an essentially black rhythm, and swing, native of the white community. In cinema, personalities like Sidney Poitier were making their start. Things were changing. The color of your skin was losing importance by the second.

Gif by [x]

Another way I Love Lucy pushed the boundaries was to show Lucille Ball in all her pregnant glory, expecting a child from none other than her Cuban sweetheart. It was the first TV show in history to feature a pregnant woman. The networks were reluctant to feature pregnancies because of their obvious associations with sex. And sex? On TV? God, no. 

So, not only were Lucy and Desi innovative for being interracial, they wen't further and further on the depiction of their love and sex life, to the shock of the 1950s audience. One wonders about many scenes: "How did they ever get away with that?!" As early as Season One, Lucy and Ricky share a kiss where they are both sitting in bed, and by the end of it, she is lying on his lap (Lucy is Jealous of the Girl Singer). At another point, he innocently throws her a question with a million sexual connotations: "You don't like the way I vibrate?" (The Seance). They were forbidden to use the word "pregnant", but they worked around it and the episode where the "expectation" was announced had more viewers than the Eisenhower inauguration   

Another example? Check out this gif by heckyeahlucydesi. Can you imagine anyone doing this on live television in 1950s? Me neither!

They divorced in 1960 due to personal problems related to drinking, womanizing and the overall strong character they both had. But their love for each other remained evident. Desi once said: "I loved her very much and, in my own and perhaps peculiar way, I will always love her. " Lucy is said to have said: "Desi was the great love of my life. I will miss him until the day I die."
She hired him as the director on The Lucy Show because she couldn't stand not having him around during their separation. In 1960, shortly after their divorce, Desi showed up at the press conference of Lucy's movie The Facts of Life and greeted her with, quite simply, a kiss on the lips. Don't believe me? See for yourself.

It was evident that a love like Lucy and Desi's would have to impact the world in one way or another. And teaching the 1950s world that the American dream was a broader and more colorful image than any of them would like to admit was certainly not what they expected. 

Interracial marriage still accounts for only 14.6% of wedded couples in the United States of America, and it is still frowned upon in many circles. The Arnazes had many problems. Not one of them related to Desi's race. She got married again, to comedian Gary Morton (move over, Mr. Ball), a Caucasian, but they had in no way the fire and passion that Lucy and Desi were associated with. The marriage lasted 19 and a half years. The love lasted forever.

So long,

P.S. In the later years of her life, Lucy often wondered "How can I ever top what Vivian, Bill, Desi and I did on I Love Lucy?". Indeed, Lucille. How can anyone ever top what you did? You stepped on society's foot, you told them what was wrong, you showed them how to improve it, you introduced them to a new reality no matter who you'd hurt, and they accepted it blindly.
No one, in a million years, will ever top that. 

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

A Letter To The Stars: Blogathon

Hello, my pals and gals!
Most exciting news I've ever had the pleasure to announce! 
I'm hosting my first blogathon!

Five minutes of sheer excitement later, I must let everyone know that I will not be hosting this alone. I have the best co-hosts anyone could wish for and those are Natalie, from In The Mood and Rianna from Frankly, My Dear! Now, we all know and love these swell gals, and there's no need for me to reassure you yet again that anything these two touch is worth keeping an eye out for. 
Having said that, here are the rules of the game!

This blogathon is very simple. It came from the idea that we in the classic movie community suffer of a problem not many have to encounter: Our favorite stars are dead. There's no use denying it or alienating yourself from the sad reality that most of the people who were a part of or influenced the Golden Era are long deceased. Therefore, we all want to say some things to them and can't, like how much we adore them, how much they've influenced us, how important they still are to the world and how they will never be forgotten. 

However, just because they can't hear us, doesn't mean we can't still say it, does it? 

So, this blogathon will consist of just that. Write a letter to your favorite dead star. What did you always want to tell them? How did they change your life? What's your favorite thing about them? How did they impact the world and what legacies did they leave? Write about anything you like, as long as it's addressed to your favorite dead star. Pretend they can hear you: It's your chance! 

Now, in order to participate in this, the procedure is very simple: Comment below to enter yourself! Just say I'm SO AND SO, my blog is SO AND SO and I will be writing a letter to SO AND SO. You will be automatically entered. 

You have a month and a half to open up your heart to your favorite dead star. By the time you're done writing, publish it in your blog and send the link to alettertothestars@hotmail.com. Be sure to add your blog name and the star you're writing to on the subject line, as to make our lives easier :) On the days mentioned above in October, we will be posting everyone's articles. As the dates approach, we will reveal who will host each day. 

Pretty exciting to me!

Now, last things last, if you'll be so kind as to choose one of our AWESOME banners and put it on your sidebar, to let everyone know that you are swell enough to participate in our blogathon, we'd thank you a million. Here we go: 

And, if you like a lil' Technicolor, my favorite:

Sounds like a plan? Let's all join in and make this Blogathon a beautiful tribute to the stars that can't be forgotten. Let's show the world how much we cherish their memory, how important they still are and will always be. Do it as if they were watching. 

'Cause, I don't know, maybe they are. 

So long,

P.S. 250 films - To Have and Have Not (1944), Morning Glory (1933) and Cinderella (1914)

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

A violet soul: Fashion inspired by Elizabeth Taylor

Hello, my pals and gals! Here's another fashion post comin' right up, after I did one on Katharine Hepburn. I personally adore those, and when I was thinking of who I was gonna talk about this time, I'm surprised Lizzie wasn't the first one to pop up in my head. Her style was unique, fun and completely achievable! By the way, because Liz changed so much her style throughout her life, we'll only be talking about her "younger" period, from her late teens to her early forties. Ready? Set, go!

1. The curvy road ahead
Liz and her perfect proportions
I've seen folks who don't know much about Elizabeth Taylor's career mindlessly say that she got on by looks rather than talent. While it is true that Lizzie has won two Oscars, I can see where that absurd thought could come from. Her figure was one of the most perfect in the history of Hollywood. And she knew it, making sure to accent it in every outfit. Now, if you are one of the 99.9% of the women in the world whose figure is not as perfect as Lizzie's, there are plenty of ways in which you can create the illusion that it is. All you have to do is attract attention to the smaller part of your body. For instance, if your hips are larger than your breasts (bottom heavy), make sure to add frills, patterns and colors to the top of your body. If you have the opposite figure, do the opposite. Get the idea? Read more about it here. Finish off by cinching your outfits at the waist to add yet more shape.

2. What a sweetheart
To flaunt her flawless cleavage area, Taylor's neckline of choice was the "sweetheart". With two downward arches, either pronounced or subtle (the dress above is still considered a sweetheart neckline) forming the top part of a heart, it is the most flattering neckline ever created for every type of woman. It was not, however, Elizabeth's only choice. She was also a particular fan of plunging V's and U's.

Wearing a breezy summer dress in 1959
3. It's always sunny in Taylorland
Elizabeth Taylor's wardrobe must've been full of summer dresses, since they were her signature piece. Whether they would be plain or patterned, they would always bring a relaxed and easy feel to her outfits. Usually with a flowy skirt (but she would occasionally go tight all-around), perfectly fitted at the waist and either sleeveless or strapless. They were widely varied and almost any summer dress would fit the standard, but the one thing you should mind is the colors: Always fun and playful, never a black, brown or anything that would remind you of winter, sadness or darkness. Lizzie was all about the lights.

4. Over the rainbow
As I said before, Lizzie was all about the lights. It wasn't hard to have all the spotlights pointed at you when you had a beauty like hers, so she made sure to bring color wherever she went. Gorgeous greens, bright reds, fun yellows, she wasn't afraid of anything! With her skin tanned to perfection, eyes of a dazzling violet and pitch black hair, the combination was infallible. Also, don't be afraid of patterns, but if you do rock a bold one, keep the rest of it simple: the makeup, the hair, the accessories and, for the love of  God, the shoes.

5. Cat on a hot tin roof
Her signature cat-eye look
Now, with Lizzie's makeup you do not mess. She consistently wore one signature look all time (except for when her character required otherwise, naturally). She had a genetic mutation (and what a desirable mutation!) called distichiasis (cough cough), which meant she was born with an extra set of lashes, to frame her perfect violet eyes. She was even criticized for wearing too much eye make up as a kid, when she wasn't wearing any. To make her "mutation" shine through, she wore loads of black eyeliner. She made sure to line her upper lash line and wing it out, making a cat-eye effect. Because her eyes were so distinctive, she usually went neutral on the lips. 

6. I just threw this on
A key aspect of Liz's outfits, perhaps the most crucial one, was to always look natural. Don't ever look too put-together, too doll-y, like you spent hours in front of the mirror perfecting yourself. Liz surely didn't need it and, trust me, you probably don't either. Look at the picture on the right and see how pretty she is, smiling casually for the camera and raising her signature thick eyebrows. She is so natural, so much herself, and so perfect in her own way. She carried all her looks with confidence, relaxation and the certainty that she was beautiful inside and out. Do the same thing and not only will be embodying Lizzie's style, but you will come off even more beautiful than you already are.

Now, how about some wearable outfits?

Outfit L - Casual day at the park

Outfit I - Off to college

Outfit Z - Partyin' it up

That's it for today's post, folks, I hope you all enjoyed it very much, and I'll see y'all later!

So long,

P.S. 250 Movies Update: Vertigo (1958) and Inherit The Wind (1960)