1940's Hollywood: or Help Me! I'm Lazy

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  • 1940's Hollywood: or Help Me! I'm Lazy

    Hey guys, I'm putting out an APB in case we've got any film historians on this board.

    I'm doing research for a project centered around eight real life actors that were active in Hollywood during 1947. Those actors are:

    Bette Davis
    Katherine Hepburn
    Judy Garland
    Orson Welles
    Jimmy Stewart
    Humphrey Bogart
    John Wayne
    Cary Grant

    I'm trying to learn more about their lives, personalities, careers, and activities in the industry during that time.

    Also about any potential relationships and connections they may have had; like how Hepburn, Stewart, and Grant were in The Philadelphia Story together seven years earlier.

    I've been doing some research myself, but my work schedule has been somewhat prohibitive lately, so I figured I'd see if I could get some leads, factoids, and info I could build upon once I get some more free time. Anything will be helpful as long as it's factual, no matter how obscure.

    For the record, this is a fictional endeavor, but I'm trying to capture the essence of these real life characters and include any details about the time period that could make the story world I'm building even richer.

  • #2
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commit...irst_Amendment

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    • #3
      National Archives link
      "Go to the edge of the cliff and jump off. Build your wings on the way down.- - Ray Bradbury

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      • #4
        https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/...896-story.html

        I learned Jimmy Stewart waited until 41 to get married and he seemed to be one of the first Hollywood Bachelors, when most would just get married and get divorced many times instead. So make Jimmy -- Leo but then he becomes Tom Hanks and stays married for 35 years.

        How many times did Jimmy Stewart marry?
        Most people in ''show-biz'' have been married a lot more than once: Zsa Zsa Gabor, eight; Elizabeth Taylor, seven; Lana Turner, seven; Mickey Rooney, eight. For 35 years, Jimmy Stewart has had one wife and gets euphoric when he speaks of her.

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        • #5
          Some good stuff here so far. It's useful to know that Jimmy Stewart didn't marry until 1949, and while the committee stuff happened in September of 1947, and I believe my story will be set in late January / early February, the fact that Humphrey Bogart threw the Hollywood 10 under the bus to save his own career will be useful to me in constructing his character.

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          • #6
            Jimmy Stewart commanded a bombing group based in England during WWII and later rose to the rank of Brigadier General in the Air Force.

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            • #7
              Honestly, I'd just give Wikipedia a try.

              Here's Bette Davis -- and it separates her life by sections of years, so you'll know what she was doing in 1947.

              Bette Davis - Wikipedia


              Here's Cary Grant:

              Cary Grant - Wikipedia

              Grew up poor. His father committed his mother to a mental institution and and then claimed to Cary that she died. He discovered she was still alive when he was 31. He had five wives. The last one was 47 years his junior. He also managed to live with another male actor for 12 years (the last year being 1946) -- prompting newspapers to say he was gay, so he sued them.

              You could also read their biographies -- but if you already don't have time for research, that's probably not going to work.

              My unsolicited comment -- 8 people is going to make for an overstuffed, crowded a script. Especially for 8 vivacious, larger-than-life, look at me I'm important sort of sparkling actors. Spare yourself the headache and cut that number down.
              Last edited by figment; 08-15-2021, 01:44 PM.

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              • #8
                I voted for them to be just people dressed in costumes of the famous people and go more into a CLUE type of vibe so that why Prezzy can just have fun with it. Or go full Quentin T and not worry at all about real history or facts and make your Jimmy Stewart the biggest assshole in the world. "You are so nice on screen." "Suck my big balls, Humphrey you putz."

                They can fight about acting roles they could have done better. Orsen Welles can keep eating everyhing in site and people keep going, "Slow down you're going to get too fat one day."

                John Wayne plays the tough manly cowboy so he's obviously the biggest coward and secretly gay.

                Just set a flamethrower to the Nazi's in a theater and have fun.

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                • #9
                  To elaborate why I'm doing this research, I'm trying to do two things. One is to get a feel of who they were as real people personality-wise and what may have been going on in their personal lives at the time (like Orson Welles's impending divorce from Rita Hayworth) , so I can capture their voice and construct a fictional version of them that would talk about specific things and respond in specific ways to the situation I plan to thrust them in and build a plot around that.

                  I'm also looking for real stuff that I can use for world building and sources of humor for inside jokes that would appeal to classic Hollywood buffs and give the script more depth.

                  Plus, knowing how these people really felt about one another is also useful. Like Cary Grant seemed to have a sense of respect for Hepburn, which I could use.

                  I've done a decent amount of research so far, but I'm sure there's little things I've missed here and there that I can use for further inspiration. I also have more of a guage on some of the characters than others. Grant and Bogart are probably my two biggest blind spots right now.

                  I plan to take great liberties with these characters as Bono suggests, but I'd like to ground those liberties in some form of reality that I can then distort as opposed to simply making sh*t up out of thin air.

                  To Figment's point of 8 characters being too many, I can assure that 8 is a perfect number for this type of story since most of them will be written out of the story as it goes on.

                  There's actually going to be 9 movie stars in the script, but the ninth's identity will be kept a secret until the end because they were an unknown at the time, which would allow that person to be more of a blank slate I could use as an avatar for the audience.

                  I know what I'm doing seems like madness, but I never take the easy way out with my writing, and I find the ones that are the most challenging in the planning stages typically yield better final products.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by RogerOThornhill View Post
                    Jimmy Stewart commanded a bombing group based in England during WWII and later rose to the rank of Brigadier General in the Air Force.
                    Stewart also had PTSD from flying those missions (as pilot) and it affected him deeply.

                    How Jimmy Stewart's war service affected It's A Wonderful Life
                    "Go to the edge of the cliff and jump off. Build your wings on the way down.- - Ray Bradbury

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                    • #11
                      Any thought to a person from 2021 somehow being the audience's avatar for the movie? Like a movie buff gets sucked back in time and realizes his heroes are real jerks? Just a thought. A little Bill and Ted action.

                      I like your idea of having an unknown actor be the way in to the audience but not sure he has to be a young Jack Nicholson or whatever you were planning. Just a made up actor that never makes it I think would work better. You really just need someone you can be 100% your own character with.

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                      • #12
                        https://www.crazydaysandnights.net/

                        check out the Old Hollywood blind items, several have been revealed over the years with rumors/gossip about names on your list (FWIW)

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                        • #13
                          Everything about Jimmy Stewart being in the military and having PTSD will tie nicely into the role I have planned for his character in my story. And this exactly why I'm doing this research. I can use these details to flesh out my characters a bit more. For me, the little things really matter.

                          Originally posted by Bono View Post
                          Any thought to a person from 2021 somehow being the audience's avatar for the movie? Like a movie buff gets sucked back in time and realizes his heroes are real jerks? Just a thought. A little Bill and Ted action.

                          I like your idea of having an unknown actor be the way in to the audience but not sure he has to be a young Jack Nicholson or whatever you were planning. Just a made up actor that never makes it I think would work better. You really just need someone you can be 100% your own character with.
                          The Bill and Ted angle isn't direction I think I'll go in. Doesn't exactly fit the tone, concept, or even story structure.

                          At this point, I have the broad strokes of the story down. Right now I'm trying to figure out the finer details that are likely to pop up in dialogue and such, although the right piece of information could inspire me to go in an unexpected direction with a character.

                          As far as the unknown actor bit, the famous actor I have planned for that role is basically a character I can make entirely my own since they were only 20 during the events of my story, so my liberties I take with them can be explained by them not maturing into their more famous persona yet, and the idea is that none of the other actors will be interested in learning their real name, so they'll only be referred to by various nicknames. Their identity reveal at the end will be one last final twist / joke. It'll totally work. I promise.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by JoeBanks View Post
                            https://www.crazydaysandnights.net/

                            check out the Old Hollywood blind items, several have been revealed over the years with rumors/gossip about names on your list (FWIW)
                            I was going to mention this also. CDAN is a crazy site, but a lot of gossip about older stars. You can search by name. Worth taking a look.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by lostfootage View Post

                              I was going to mention this also. CDAN is a crazy site, but a lot of gossip about older stars. You can search by name. Worth taking a look.
                              Yeah. I'm checking it out a bit. Could definitely come in handy.

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