Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Robert Cummings and John F. Callahan

 Y’all are looking at a 8” x 10”, double-sided, hole-punched collectable movie-star-publicity-swag item (number 14 in a set of 18 that I inherited, and recently unearthed, from my late husband, John F. Callahan… only 4 more to go!).

There. Got that out of the way.

So… Robert Cummings. I’ve seen him in 4 movies I’ve loved or liked: “Saboteur”,  “Dial M For Murder” (both by my top 10 director, Alfred Hitchcock), “Kings Row” and “The Devil and Miss Jones”. This doesn’t mean I like Mr Cummings as an actor or a personality; I find him rather bland and unintersting, vaguely pretty, with no particular inner life. 

This quality tabula-rasa quality worked surprisingly well in the Hitchcock movies (Hitchcock specialized in “Blank Slate” audience identification figures), was harmful in “Kings Row” (given that his character was a pioneering psychoanalyst, an actor who could communicate a conflicted, complex inner life would have been beneficial).To be honest, I don’t even remember him from “The Devil…”

But he had a long, successful career in movies and television, from 1933 to 1979, even having a TV series named after him (1955-59 and 1961-62). Here’s a photo from “12 Angry Men” in its 1954 Westinghouse Studio One incarnation.

Monday, January 25, 2021

Ray Milland and John F. Callahan

I first saw Ray Milland (1907- 1986) in the early 70’s, when “Love Story” was shown on TV. Milland played ‘Oliver Barrett III, ‘Oliver Barrett IV’’ (Ryan O’Neal’s) uptight father. It was a shock to my teenage/ young-adult self when I later saw him in movies where he was young and handsome, like “Reap the Wild Wind”, the one being hyped on the flip-side of this 8” x 10”, double-sided, hole-punched collectable movie-star-publicity-swag item (number 12 in a set of 18 that I inherited and recently unearth from my late husband, John F. Callahan).

This pattern, of first seeing Hollywood stars of the 30’s and 40’s in their elderly aspects then later seeing (and being surprised by) them in their prime, has played out many times. Not only that, as I reach late middle-age myself, I’m seeing that pattern in reverse: watching my peer group and myself reach the age of our parents had been when we were in our formative years. At age 61, i am only slightly younger than Milland when he played the uptight dad in “Love Story”. I have outlived my own father, who died of his third heart attack in 1984, at age 54. In five years, I will have outlived John F. Callahan, who died shortly after his 66th birth day.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Penny Singleton, Arthur Lake and John F. Callahan

 Penny Singleton and Arthur Lake were Blondie and Dagwood in movies and on the radio, between 1938 and 1950.  Penny was also the voice of ‘Judy Jetson’ on “The Jetsons”, in all the intellectual property’s iterations between 1962 and 1990

Singleton was active in union affairs, as a vocal member of the American Guild of Variety Artists (AGVA).

 She was elected president of the AGVA in 1958–1959,  and again in 1969–1970. Her union membership was suspended in 1962, when she was accused of slandering some of the union's officers, and she countersued. She testified on the exploitation of women in variety work, and the union's shortcomings in representing those workers, before a United States Senate subcommittee in 1962.  "I charge here and now that the exotic and strip artists have been abandoned and made outcasts by the very union to which they pay dues for representation and protection," she announced to the subcommittee. (

Arthur Lake is best known for portraying Dagwood Bumstead, the husband of the title character of the Blondie comic strip between 1938 to 1950. 

“Lake became very friendly with newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst and his mistress, Marion Davies. He was a frequent guest at the beach house of Davies, where he met Patricia Van Cleeve. They were married in San Simeon in 1937. The parentage of Patricia Van Cleeve is unclear, but at the time of her death, she is reported to have claimed to be the daughter of Davies and Hearst.”

( (This information may be of interest to all who have recently watched “Mank” on Netflix.)

John Callahan, my late husband (from whom I inherited and recently unearthed this set of 18 8” x 10”, double-sided, hole-punched collectable movie-star-publicity-swag items of which this is #11 in a series of posts there upon) was also active in union affairs. He was a member of the Teacher’s Union during his career as a Hight School English teacher and “coach” of his school’s thespian/theatre club, in Chelmsford, MA. Oh, and he was a Democratic delegate for Jesse Jackson during the 1988 Presidential Election.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Paulette Godard and John F. Callahan

 Paulette Godard was a movie star in the late 30’s/40’s. 

John Callahan is my late husband, from whom I inherited and recently unearthed this set of 18 8” x 10”, double-sided, hole-punched collectable movie-star-publicity-swag items, of which this is #10 in a series of posts there upon.

Paulette Godard has co-starred in one of my favorite movies,  “The Women”  as well as “Modern Times”, “The Great Dictator”, and “Diary of a Chamber Maid”, all of which I enjoyed a great deal. She was the lead contender for ’Scarlet O’Hara’, in “Gone With the Wind” until Selznick tapped relative unknown Vivian Leigh.

That said, it’s hard for me to get a handle on her- I can’t really remember much about her, except she seemed to smile a lot. I vaguely remember that there seemed to be a mind behind the smiles, her wheels always turning. 

The movie being hyped on Side B is “Reap the Wild Wind” (1942), directed by Cecil B. DeMille (his second movie in color). Paulette stars as ‘Loxi Clairborne’ (what a great name!), who runs a marine salvage operation along the Florida coast in 1840.  Susan Hayward is featured in a smaller role as Paulette's unfortunate cousin. Both are heavily burdened by Southern accents and roles that are paper-thin giving them little more to do than flounce around in frilly costumes and bonnets while the men--Ray Milland, John Wayne and Robert Preston--carry the main weight of the action-filled romance.” (Doylenf, IMBd)

Hmmm. Maybe not.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Jane Withers and John F. Callahan

I don’t have much to say about Jane Withers. I can’t think of any connections or comparisons to/with my late husband, John F. Callahan, from which I inherited and recently retrieved a set of 18 8” x 10”, double-sided, hole-punched collectable movie-star-publicity-swag items, of which this is #10 in a series of posts thereto.

I thought I recognized her from the young ingenue parts in “Susan and God” (1940) and “The Women” (1939), two of my top 100 movies. Cursory research proved this incorrect. ‘Blossom Trexel’ (Joan Crawford and Fredric March’s teenage daughter in “Susan and God”) was played by Rita Quigley (b, 1923). ‘Little Mary’ (Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Haines adolescent daughter in “The Women”) was played by Virginia Weidler (b. 1927). 

Jane Withers was born in 1926. Her cinema debut was in “Handle with Care (1932). her (for now) final role was as “Laverne” in the Disney Animated Feature “Hunchback of Notre Dame 2. Scanning her filmography in Wikipedia, of the 100+ movies I’ve seen only “The Good Fairy” (1935) and “Giant”. Her first starring role was in “Ginger” (1935). “Withers often received top billing over established stars”. From what I gather, she is actually a really nice person.

Jane Withers was born 3 years prior to my own mother, Maxine Rader. Both are still with us. I’m including a photo of the actress, philanthropist, doll collector, and devout Presbyterian, from 2013. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Jackie Cooper and John F. Callahan

This is #9 in a series of posts about a recently retrieved inheritance from my late husband, John F. Callahan: a set of 18 8” x 10”, double-sided, hole-punched collectable movie-star-publicity-swag items. The focus, this time around, is Jackie Cooper.

Born in 1922, Jackie Cooper was cast in his first movie at age 7, and was a movie star by age 9, nominated for an Oscar© (“Skippy”; 1931). He was 18 at the time this photo was taken, starring in a series of “Henry Aldrich” movies. In the late 70’s/ early 80’s he was cast as ‘Perry White’ in the first 4 “Superman"

I don’t know what John thought of Jackie, or if he thought of Jackie at all. I probably thought about Mr. Coogan more than John ever did. IMO, Mr, Coogan was one of those men who improved with age- I find him callow and uninteresting as a youth, but actually kind of hot in the second photo, taken during or after the “Superman” period.

John, for HIS part, had developed a reputation as a “rainbow queen” (i.e., a white man with a preference for sexual partners of color) by the time I met him in late 1984. In fact, he told me that his posse found it out of character when he and I started dating, then moved in together, then had our first commitment ceremony in early 1987. For MY part, I’ve always gone for older men, i.e., men in their early 40’s to early 60’s. It is an irony of survival that, at this point in my life, the “older man” is frequently younger than me.

For comparison, here's a photo I took of John during our summer 1990 vacation on the isle of Madiera, John's ancestral homeland, an "Autonomous Region" of Portugal . At the time of this photo, John was 45. I was 31.

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Dorothy Lamour and John F. Callahan

 I inherited this two-sided, hole-punched collectable movie-star-publicity-swag items from my late husband, John Callahan. “Dorothy Lamour” is number 8 out of 18 similar items.

Dorothy Lamour, born Mary Leta Dorothy Slaton on December 10, 1914; died September 22 1996. She quit school at at 14, and was crown “Miss New Orleans” in 1931, at age 16. She co-starred with Bob Hope and Bing Crosby in several “Road” movies (“Road to Singapore”, “Road to Zanzibar”, etc).

Dorothy was a popular singer, having hits with various movie songs. “Moonlight and Shadows” (“The Jungle Princess”), “The Moon Over Manakoora” (“The Hurricane”) among them. In other words, she could qualify as a “Diva”, of the sort my late husband, John F. Callahan followed/admired/and avidly discussed with fellow diva queens.

To my knowledge, “Diva” Lamour never made it into John’s Hall of Fame. I don’t recall seeing any of her albums or CDs in John’s extensive collection. John’s top 3 were Judy Garland, Barbara Streisand and Grace Slick, second tier being Aretha Franklin, Janis Joplin, Whitney Houston, Ethel Merman, Peggy Lee, and Donna Summers. There was a third and 4th tier, but space and memory do not allow me to list them.

Just for fun, here’s a photo of John and I at the Christopher Street West Gay Pride Parade in 1990. We were part of the Act Up LA contingent. I’m the center-right guy holding 2 crosses; John is marching at my side, camera left.

Friday, January 8, 2021

Don Ameche and John F. Callahan

 Don Ameche, one of the second-tier stars of Hollywood’s Golden Age, who (like Ralph Bellamy and Basil Rathbone) who never got the girl.

Except for the original “Heaven Can Wait”, directed by Ernst Lubitsch (1943): “An old roue’ arrives in Hades to review his life with Satan, who will rule on his eligibility to enter the Underworld.” (IMDb). 

(Actually, according to IMDb, Mr. Ameche (born Dominic Felix Amici, on May 31, 1906) appeared in 94 movies and television show, from 1935 to 1994. So it’s possible that, in one or more of those productions, his character “got the girl”.)

What does this have to do with my late husband, John F. Callahan. from whom I inherited the set of 18 double-sided, hole-punched collectable movie-star-publicity-swag items about which this is #7 in the series of blogs pertaining there-to?

Not much except that, during one of his daughter Lisa’s periodic visits I decided to raise her cinematic consciousness by screening “Laura” (directed by Otto Preminger, starring Dana Andrews and Gene Tierney, Ameche’s “Heaven” co-star) and “Little Shop Around The Corner” (directed by “Heaven” helmer Ernst Lubitsch.) As I recall, during this visit (circa 1994) I was in my early 30’s, she in her early 20’s. I was gratified that she got emotionally involved with both end even cried at the climax of one of them (I forget which).

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Carmine Infantino, Showcase #50, "I-Spy, Cinematic Storytelling

These the four Carmine Infantino pages, the "new material" introductory sequence to the otherwise all-reprint Showcase #50: "I-Spy" (June 1964). This 4 page sequence is one of my top 5 Carmine Infantino art jobs. Inked by Murphy Anderson. 

Carmine Infantino, Showcase 72, Cinematic Comic Storytelling

This is example #2 of my 5 favorite Carmine Infantino comic stories.

I discovered this ragged-out copy of “Showcase” #72 (cover dated Jan-Feb 1968) in the dollar box at my local comic shop. I was attracted by the Russ Heath cover, intending to trash the rest of the comic.

 However I was blown away by the artwork of the lead story, “Sheriff on the Spot”, by Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella. 

Who else was doing cinematic comix storytelling of this caliber in late 1967?

(This is an actual question. Feel free to comment) To my knowledge, Neal Adams isthe primary innovator cinematic storytelling in American comics. His first, really groundbreaking work was on “Deadman” starting with Strange Adventures #206, cover dated Nov 1967. According to, Carmine Infantino is co-credited with Arnold Drake as the writers Deadman’s second appearance, “An Eye For An Eye”. Was Neal influenced by Carmine or was Carmine influenced by Neal?

In either case, we have this story, “Sheriff on the Spot”. I especially want to focus your attention to pages 2 and 3, and 6 through 9.

These pages, I feel, are cinematic, by which I mean they would have worked as well  (perhaps even better) with no captions or word balloons. Again, I ask the question: who else was doing storytelling of this kind during this time period? One might get a panel or two, here or there, but where could one find extended sequences told simply and solely through the succession of images? (I repeat: though these pages were as copy-heavy as any by Stan Lee, the words are unnecessary and even rather annoying. IMO)

Class assignment: List all the artists, citing examples, of cartoonist doing cinematic storytelling of this nature prior to 1969.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Don "Red" Barry and John Callahan

Another “Who the Hell is THIS?” entry in the set of 18 double-sided, hole-punched collectable movie-star-publicity-swag item that I inherited from my late husband, John Callahan.

Waitaminit! Is that DON BARRY? I used to see him in all the time, back in the 60’s and 70’s, when I’d watch all the TV I could manage.

He’s even credited, in “Walk on the Wild Side” (a movie I really enjoy) as “Dockery”. I don’t remember him, unless “Dockery” is the first name of Barbara Stanwyck’s husband, an impotent enraged cripple reduced to doing his rounds on a rolling platform… a pretty thankless role. To his credit, Don played the part with gleeful gusto. 

John was into westerns as a kid, though much of the attraction was toward the actors-in-cowboy-drag. John’s faves (as far as I know) were James Arness and Richard Boone. These are the covers of two pertinent comics. When he gave them to me, John told how he had bought them when he was in High School, detailing how he would buy at least 2 comics at a time, to provide cover for his 13 / 14 year old homoerotic obsession. (Gunsmoke is dated Dec-Jan 1960 and Have Gun Will Travel is Oct-November 1959.)

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Cary Grant and John Callahan

 Cary Grant. 

I’ve read that Cary Grant was gay. I’ve read that he was in a committed relationship to Randolph Scott in the early 30’s before they were separated by their studio (RKO). In the early 60’s, Cary underwent several LSD treatment sessions (under the care of a psychoanalyst), after which he wooed, won and had a daughter with Dyan Cannon. 

He was capable of being an excellent actor, as proved in “Suspicion”, the movie spotlit on the backside of this double-sided, hole-punched collectable movie-star-publicity-swag item. As the movie critic, Dan Sallitt once wrote (I’m quoting from memory) “Cary Grant’s performance, as Johnny Aysgarth, calls upon him to simultaneously play two different roles, that of a good natured party boy and a sociopathic murderer. To Grant’s credit, he never cheats or flattens out…”

What does this have to do with John Callahan? (Other than that I inherited this double-sided, hole-punched collectable movie-star-publicity-swag items from John.)

Both John Callahan and Cary Grant were Gay men. Both were married to women during part of their lives.  Both are survived by their wives and daughters. Both were actors, but Cary never directed and John never won an Oscar©. Cary never came out as Gay, John came out and went back in as necessitated by circumstance. (Note to clueless straights: You don’t just come out once and then it’s done forever. One has to choose, with every new acquaintance, whether or not to come out. That’s why I post a photo of my current husband, Richard Rangel, and myself on the masthead of my Facebook page. It removes to remove the need to worry whether or not any knows (or cares).

Bob Hope and John Callahan

8” x 10”. 

That’s the size of this strange artifact from a bygone age. I inherited 18 of these two-sided, hole-punched collectable movie-star-publicity-swag items from my husband, John Callahan. I didn’t ask to ask how he acquired them; now he’s dead and it’s too late.

John followed many celebrities, but none of the 18 in this set. (Still to come are Cary Grant, Tyrone Power, Sonje Henie and Paulette Godard among others.)

For instance, Bob Hope would have been an object of contempt to John, who was an 60’s radical, even a Maoist for an undisclosed length of time. Bob Hope was never a topic of discussion in our household, but I assume John would have seen him as the comedic equivalent of Howard Hughs or William Randolph Hearst. Why would John collect a two-sided, hole-punched collectable swag-item hyping an object of disinterested contempt? (Help me out, people. I have no idea what to call these things.) Obviously, John got this card as part of the set, but why bother keeping it? Come to think of it, I vaguely recall, when we were clearing out our safety deposit box, him saying he hoped to sell them at some undefined future point. 

John also had a set of Elvis Presley Trading Gum Cards (I kid you not). 

Monday, January 4, 2021

Betty Grable and John Callahan

I inherited this (as part of a set of 18 similar collectable star-bio pages) from my late husband, John Callahan. (What is the proper name for this category of memorabilia? I want to know so that I can properly sell them on Ebay.)

I was never a fan of Betty Grable The only movies of hers that I’ve seen are “How to Marry a Millionaire” and “The Beautiful Blonde From Bashful Bend” (I’m a fan of the director, Preston Sturges). I’d also like to see “That Lady in Ermine” because it was the last film directed by Ernst Lubitsch, one of my all time fave directors. Lubitsch died during filming, and the movie was completed by Otto Preminger, who has also directed many movies I love.

I doubt John was much interested in Betty Grable (or her "million dollar legs") during his adolescent and teen years. He was a fan of James Arness (Gunsmoke) and Richard Boone (Have Gun Will Travel). John used to collect the comic book spin-offs of these TV series. Specifically, he wanted the photographic covers, which depicted the actors in full figure poses, gun in hand, intriguing bulges in the crotch area. John told me he would always buy at least one other comic book at the same time so that the clerk wouldn’t catch wise to John’s unhealthy desires


Sunday, January 3, 2021

Anna Neagle and John Callahan

 I inherited a set of 1940’s Movie Star Portraits from my late husband, John Callahan. Actually, I lied when I reported (in the previous post, “Alice Fay and John Callahan”) that John told me he collected these cards in his adolescence, back in the mid/late 50’s. True, he was born in 1946, but he told me nothing about how he came to possess the 18 cards from this series. Perhaps HE inherited them from one of his older relatives. I can’t imagine that John who Anna Neagle was when he a youth, much less enough of a fan to acquire memorabilia about her. 

The movie being hyped on the back of this collectable 8 x 10” card is “Sunny” (1941): “The beautiful Anna Neagle stars as a circus performer who falls in love with a rich car dealer’s son, against her family’s wishes. Features some spirited dance numbers with Roy Bolger.” (IMDb).

Ray Bolger played “The Scarecrow” in “The Wizard of Oz” (released 2 years earlier).

I’m assuming this card was released around the same time as “Sunny”, in 1941.

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