Hollywoodland Aug 6 2023
AN OCEAN APART
Before we go any farther I need to tell you something—I'm loaded with mercury and microplastics.


Above: Ann Blyth and William Powell in a production photo made while they were filming 1948's fish-out-of-water romance Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid. We wrote about it here.

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Femmes Fatales Mar 29 2022
BLYTH SPIRIT
Today I'm practicing for when I make enough money to do absolutely nothing.


The lovely photo at top of U.S. actress Ann Blyth was made when she was filming the tearjerker Our Very Own in 1950. It was a popular shot, and a frame from the same session was used in a 1952 issue of Photoplay Pin Ups, which you also see here. No, it's not the same photo. The colors are different, of course, but thats just the printing process. If you look closely, you'll see that the tilt of her head is different, and her hands are held differently. The two photos were shot instants apart.

Six years ago we featured a fun photo of Blyth in her mermaid costume from Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid and mentioned that she was still around. That remains true. She's ninety-three and defying the presumption that all the stars from the golden age of Hollywood are gone. Among her many films is the crime drama Brute Force, which we've been meaning to get to, so you'll see Blyth here again before very long. In the meantime, you can see that shot of her as a mermaid here.

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Vintage Pulp Aug 11 2017
THE LITTLE MERMAID
William Powell discovers a rare species of marine life.


Today we're looking at a decidedly non-pulp movie—Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid, a featherweight comedy starring William Powell and Ann Blyth. We watched it because we featured Blyth as a femme fatale last year. She was wearing a mermaid costume in the photo we shared, and an image like that will make one curious. In the movie a fifty-year-old man having a bit of a two-thirds-life crisis takes a Caribbean trip with his wife, stumbles across a youthful mermaid, and falls in love with her. Powell is good, of course, as he is in everything, and Blyth is expressive—which is to say she doesn't speak. Why would she? She's a fish, silly. She does hiss, though. Irene Hervey as Powell's hot wife has a bit of a wandering eye herself, but for an actual man rather than a fantastical creature, and Andrea King plays a woman intent on making the moves on Powell. With all these potential infidelities there's lots of dramatic potential, but this is a family comedy, which means nothing too taxing to the average moviegoer occurs and everyone ends up where they belong—Powell and Hervey recommitted to their marriage, and Blyth recommitted to the sea. Cute stuff. Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid premiered in the U.S. today in 1948. 

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Femmes Fatales Feb 12 2016
FISH OUT OF WATER
I like you but there's an ocean of differences between us.

Above, a fun promo photo of American actress Ann Blyth taken on the set of her romantic comedy Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid, 1948. Blyth started in movies in 1944 and last acted in 1985, but she's still around at age eighty-seven.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
June 19
1953—The Rosenbergs Are Executed
Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who were convicted for conspiracy to commit espionage related to passing information about the atomic bomb to the Soviet spies, are executed at Sing Sing prison, in New York.
June 18
1928—Earhart Crosses Atlantic Ocean
American aviator Amelia Earhart becomes the first woman to fly in an aircraft across the Atlantic Ocean, riding as a passenger in a plane piloted by Wilmer Stutz and maintained by Lou Gordon. Earhart would four years later go on to complete a trans-Atlantic flight as a pilot, leaving from Newfoundland and landing in Ireland, accomplishing the feat solo without a co-pilot or mechanic.
June 17
1939—Eugen Weidmann Is Guillotined
In France, Eugen Weidmann is guillotined in the city of Versailles outside Saint-Pierre Prison for the crime of murder. He is the last person to be publicly beheaded in France, however executions by guillotine continue away from the public until September 10, 1977, when Hamida Djandoubi becomes the last person to receive the grisly punishment.
1972—Watergate Burglars Caught
In Washington, D.C., five White House operatives are arrested for burglarizing the offices of the Democratic National Committee in the Watergate Hotel. The botched burglary was an attempt by members of the Republican Party to illegally wiretap the opposition. The resulting scandal ultimately leads to the resignation of President Richard Nixon, and also results in the indictment and conviction of several administration officials.
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