Most actors are remembered for their unique personae. Clark Gable was a man’s man. The humorous gleam in his eye sent daggers to the knees of women everywhere. Bette Davis practically cornered the market on the deeply neurotic woman clawing at the boundaries of love with baroque fury. Gary Cooper was the classic taciturn American, a solid, self-confident Yankee who spoke eloquently through his silences. Marilyn Monroe is the paradigm of the woman as vulnerable child waiting to be rescued by a knight in shining armor.
Of course Fay Wray, who played in over eighty motion pictures, is only remembered for her role in King Kong. Thus, for better or worse, Wray is the eternally shrieking woman.
Less common is the actor who is identified and remembered for a single brief scene.
Ricardo Cortez (1900-1977) was a handsome and talented leading man whose image, in the silent era, was that of a hot-blooded Latin lover.
In truth, his name was Jacob Krantz, the son of a kosher butcher, born and raised in the mean streets of New York’s Lower East Side.
Labor Day affords us the opportunity to reflect on work, our jobs, present and past. Good jobs, bad jobs, we’ve all had our share of both.
Work should set you free. Honest labor puts money in your pocket which allows you to spend that money as you see fit. Ideally, work infuses the individual with a sense of self-worth and dignity.
In Judaism, work is viewed as a vital adjunct to the observance and study of Torah:
Im ayn kemach, ayn Torah.
If there is no bread [work], there is no study of Torah.
—Ethics of the Fathers, (Avos 3:21)
Thus, the Torah invests labor with a deep spiritual value.
But let’s be honest, in any work environment there is gossip. And office gossip can be terribly destructive.
Hollywood has always been a hothouse for nasty personal attacks. But in the past, these vendettas were usually reserved for post-career memoirs and late night interviews—Johnny Carson, Dick Cavett, David Frost, etc—that today, appear sweetly disagreeable.
But in postmodern America, where traditional values of respect and restraint are not even a dim memory, Hollywood gossip has become an industry unto itself. Unsavory gossip is now mainstream, brought to you in the form of entertainment and reality shows—which are neither entertaining nor real.
America has even elected a president who regularly slings gossip disguised as social-political wisdom. Obama’s remarks about the “stupid” Boston police, about being Trayvon Martin’s father, even his off-the-cuff remark about a Syrian red line—these are instances of politics as gossip; an indication of the deep moral and intellectual corruption of Obama & Co., and of the liberal political class who are unmoored from the basics of a civil society.
Here are a few of Seraphic Secret’s favorite, and not-so-secret snipes—touchingly tame by today’s appalling standards—brought to you some of Hollywood’s best-loved stars about other best-loved stars.
During Hollywood’s golden era studio photographers churned out thousands of photographs that created the iconography of glamour by which Hollywood stars were defined.
There was a library of poses and props that photographers used in order to create and refine particular images. Who can forget Hurrell’s shimmering portrait of Jean Harlow in a skin-tight white gown resting languidly on a white bearskin rug?
One of the more interesting genres of photos was the star-with-pet-shot, usually a dog. These photos are hardly glamorous. In fact, they seem designed to assure the adoring public that their favorite movie stars are just ordinary folk who love their dogs and dote on them just like real people. Usually, the stars are posed with prop dogs, but frequently the dogs looks like they belong with the star.