Seventy-five years ago, today, the adventure film Frenchman’s Creek was released (or New York opening). Directed by Mitchell Leisen, it was based on the 1941 novel of the same name by Daphne Du Maurier. Starring Joan Fontaine (sister of Olivia de Havilland), Arturo de Córdova, Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce and Cecil Kellaway, it was produced by Buddy DeSylva (co-founder of Capitol Records) with Talbot Jennings (The Sons of Katie Elder) crafting the screenplay. The musical score included Claude DeBussy‘s Clair de Lune.
An English lady bored with London society brings her [two] children to their country home. Her servant William is also working for a French pirate who holds up with his ship and crew off the coast. They soon meet and she embarks on an adventure with the pirates!
As a beautiful, learned lady of means, Dona St. Columb had it all…and a loveless marriage. After years of being royally subjected to mistreatment, she retreats with her most prized possessions, her two children, to a secluded manor overlooking Britain’s Atlantic shoreline. [She] is enthralled with the tall tales of a scoundrel of a pirate, who has been plundering nearby coastal villages. Full of adventure and fueled by years of neglect, she sets forth to seek him out and, it is not long before she finds him…
“A Lady of Fire and Ice…A Rogue of Steel and Gallantry”
♦ The only film featuring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce in which they do not play Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson.
♦ To make Arturo de Córdova appear taller than Joan Fontaine, he had to wear lifts in his shoes, causing him to teeter when he walked.
Unfortunately, there aren’t any video clips of this movie. There are clips of the 1998 remake. ~Vic
I’m trying something different. We’ll see how it goes. ~Vic
Sixty-five years ago, today, the sitcom Dear Phoebe debuted on NBC. Created by Alex Gottlieb, it starred Peter Lawford, Marcia Henderson, Charles Lane and Joe Corey. The first episode to air, Bill Gets a Job, included a young Chuck Connors and The Christmas Show episode included Jesse White (Maytag Man). The show’s theme music was composed by George & Ira Gershwin.
Bill Hastings works for a daily newspaper in a large city. His duties include a lonely hearts column, where he advises everyone on their problems, as “Phoebe”, while trying to deal with his own.
Lawford stars as Bill Hastings, a former college professor who becomes the writer of the advice-to-the-lovelorn column at the fictitious Los Angeles Daily Star. Hastings writes under the pseudonym “Miss Phoebe Goodheart”. Marcia Henderson portrayed Mickey Riley, the female sportswriter at the newspaper and Hastings’s own romantic interest. Charles Lane, who later portrayed J. Homer Bedloe in the CBS series Petticoat Junction, played newspaper boss Mr. Fosdick. Joe Corey played Humphrey Humpsteader, a copy boy trying to become a reporter.
♦ Peter Lawford’s wife, Patricia Kennedy Lawford (sister of John F. Kennedy), made a cameo appearance in one episode.
♦ This series was sponsored by Campbell Soup Company in its original prime time run.
The Christmas Show
Forty-seven years ago, today, the second version of The Price Is Right debuted (the first one ran from 1956 to 1965 and was hosted by Bill Cullen). Created by Bob Stewart, Mark Goodson and Bill Todman and, orignally produced by Goodson-Todman Productions (1972-1984), it was hosted by Bob Barker until June 6, 2007. Drew Carey took over October 15, 2007.
The show revolves around contestants competing by identifying accurate pricing of merchandise to win cash and prizes. Contestants are selected from the studio audience when the announcer states the show’s famous catchphrase, “Come on down!” (Contestants’ Row) [F]our contestants are called […] to take a spot in the front row behind bidding podiums […]. [They] compete in a bidding round to determine which contestant will play the next pricing game (known as One Bid). After winning the One Bid, the contestant joins the host onstage for the opportunity to win additional prizes or cash by playing a pricing game. [The Showcase Showdown (spinning The Big Wheel) follows with a final winner selected at the end of the episode (The Showcase)]
Barker was accompanied by a series of announcers, beginning with Johnny Olson, followed by Rod Roddy and, then, Rich Fields. In April 2011, George Gray became the announcer. The show has used several models, most notably Anitra Ford, Janice Pennington, Dian Parkinson, Holly Hallstrom and Kathleen Bradley.
The Price Is Right has aired over 8,000 episodes since its debut and is one of the longest-running network series in United States television history. The show’s [48th] season [will] premiere on September [23, 2019.]
Eighty years ago, today, the crime–mystery Dick Tracy’s G-Men was released. A serial film with fifteen chapters, it was co-directed by John English and William Witney and, is over four and a half hours long in total. Produced by Robert Beche, it starred Ralph Byrd, Irving Pichel, Ted Pearson, Phyllis Isley (also known as Jennifer Jones) and Walter Miller (his last film). Based on Chester Gould‘s Dick Tracy comic strip, this serial had Tracy working for the FBI. As a sequel to the original serial, Gould’s contract barred him from production and payment. It was re-released on September 19, 1955.
A mad doctor named Zanoff uses a drug to bring himself back from the dead after his execution in prison. Dick Tracy sets out to capture Zanoff before he can put his criminal gang back together again.
International spy, Zarnoff, in the employ of “The Three Powers” (presumably a fictionalized reference to the Axis) is captured by Dick Tracy at the start of the serial, [then] tried and sentenced to death. However, through the use of a rare drug embedded by his agents in[to] the evening newspaper, he escapes from the gas chamber. His men pick up his “corpse” by ambushing the hearse and, administering another counter-drug. He continues his espionage plans, while taking the opportunity of revenge on Tracy.
From historian William Cline:
[Dick Tracy serials were] “unexcelled in the action field” [and] “in any listing of serials released after 1930, the four Dick Tracy adventures from Republic must stand out as classics of the suspense detective thrillers and the models for many others to follow.”
Dick Tracy Depot (Watch all 15 chapters)
Eighty-five years ago, today, the crime-drama mystery Fifteen Wives was released. Directed by Frank Strayer and produced by Maury Cohen, it starred Conway Tearle, Natalie Moorhead, Raymond Hatton, Noel Francis, John Wray, Margaret Dumont, Ralf Harolde, Oscar Apfel, Robert Frazer, Harry Bradley and Lew Kelly.
In a New York hotel, the body of Steven Humbolt is discovered and Chief Inspector Decker Dawes is called to investigate. After a brief inspection of Humbolt’s belongings, Dawes and Sergeant Meed determine that Humbolt had fifteen wives, three of whom…Sybilla Crum, a well-known reformer, wealthy Carol Arnold, and Ruby Cotton…live in New York. Dawes first questions the still devoted Sybilla, then quizzes Jason Getty, a florist who had sent Humbolt a funeral wreath hours before his death was discovered. While Meed checks out Getty’s lead that the wreath was ordered in Philadelphia, Dawes interrogates Carol Arnold. Carol tells Dawes that Humbolt had robbed, and deserted her, after three weeks of marriage and, that, a year later, she had received a letter from South America informing her of his demise. Just after Carol had married wealthy Gregory Arnold, Humbolt contacted her with blackmail demands but, according to Carol, she never saw him before his murder. Although Dawes doubts Carol’s story, he leaves her to talk to a chemist about a broken glass globe that was found near Humbolt’s body.
The chemist reveals that the globe, a Helmholtz Resonator, contained a lethal dose of hydrocynanic acid gas that was released when the glass was broken. Once Dawes determines that the globe came from Philadelphia, he demonstrates how a radio performer known as The Electric Voice, whose fiancée is Ruby Cotton, could have broken the globe during a broadcast. Dawes arrests The Voice and Ruby but, returns to question Carol, who he discovers is hiding a child she had by Humbolt. Then, Dawes receives a message from Sybilla about a clue she unearthed at Humbolt’s funeral. While at Sybilla’s home, Dawes discovers that florist Getty is impersonating the reformer and that he is wearing a pair of gloves similar to a pair Humbolt was wearing in his coffin. Suspicious, Dawes orders Humbolt’s coffin exhumed, which causes Getty, who needed the gloves to hide his amputated fingers, to panic. [He] confesses that he killed Sybilla and had used The Electric Voice’s broadcast to kill Humbolt out of revenge for stealing his wife in Australia. After thwarting Getty’s escape attempt, Dawes telephones Carol, who is divorcing [Gregory] Arnold and proposes that they leave for Europe together.
The Internet Movie Database (IMDB) and Wikipedia state that this film was released July 15, 1934. The American Film Institute (AFI) and Turner Classic Movies (TCM) state that it was released June 1, 1934. I have no way of verifying either. I also can’t find any video clips. ~Vic