Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all of you, from me and Dick Powell. Here is a Christmas card that Dick sent to friends when he was a greenhorn in Hollywood. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Answers

Are you ready for the answers to the trivia questions? Here they are:

1. Mary Brian
  • Newspapers quickly began hinting at a romance between Mary and Dick when he appeared in Blessed Event. It was typical for the studios to drum up such rumors for publicity, so the two were encouraged to be seen together in nightclubs. Although theirs was a friendship and not a romance, they did very much enjoy dancing together. 
  • Mary appeared in A&E's Biography special about Dick Powell. This is where her comment about him always being in good humor comes from.

2. Aaron Spelling
  • Spelling was hired as a young man to write introductions for Dick on The Dick Powell Show. Dick took the beginner under his wing and taught him what he knew about television, but trusted his employee to think for himself and to contribute his good ideas. Dick called Aaron "Skinny" and Aaron called Dick his mentor. This had obvious results, as Spelling went on to become one of the most prolific television producers from the 1960s through the 90s, with shows like Charlie's Angels, Beverly Hills 90210, and 7th Heaven to his credit.

3. James Cagney
  • Cagney and Dick appeared in both Footlight Parade and A Midsummer Night's Dream together. Both were major departures from Cagney's image as a gangster at Warner Brothers, and both showed his tremendous range.
  • Cagney and Dick's second wife Joan Blondell were something of a screen team in the 1930s. They began in films together in the 1930 film Sinner's Holiday, based on the play Penny Arcade that they appeared in together on Broadway. They went on to make 5 other films including Cagney's breakout role in The Public Enemy.

4. Edward Dmytryk
  • When RKO approached director Dmytryk about starring Dick Powell, who had always been a crooner, in his latest film, a detective film, he was hesitant. Powell had been hounding the studio to play against type, but they kept resisting. Of course, Dmytryk and Powell worked well together, and the adaptation of Raymond Chandler's Farewell My Lovely was a huge hit. 
  • The success of Murder My Sweet sent the actor/director pair immediately into another noir drama called Cornered.

5. Sybil Jason
  • Sybil Jason is one of the lesser known child stars of the 1930s, but she appeared in quite a few films, most notably alongside Al Jolson in The Singing Fool. 
  • She and Dick were to appear in The Broadway Gondolier together when she was pulled off that project to appear in Little Big Shot. She was disappointed that she missed her chance to star with him, but tried to keep in touch. Later when he was ill, she sent him one of the handkerchiefs he gave her with a note that said she was coming to claim it soon. Unfortunately, she did not make it in time.

6. Lucille Ball
  • Lucy appeared opposite Dick in Meet the People, a movie that June Allyson had a small role in. Lucy knew June from appearing in Best Foot Forward and introduced the starlet to her leading man. The two hit it off and Dick began giving June acting and career advice, and the rest, of course, is history.
  • Meet the People was the last movie Dick made before reinventing himself as the tough detective type in Murder My Sweet.

7. Pilar Wayne
  • Pilar was a Peruvian actress who met John Wayne when she came to America to dub a film in English. The two married in 1954, so she was married to Wayne when he and Dick filmed The Conqueror. 
  • Their friendship carried on off the set and the Waynes stayed in touch throughout Dick's trial with cancer. Sadly, both men contracted it, and rumors still abound which say the location of shooting for The Conqueror is the culprit.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Dick Powell Trivia

Dick Powell had a long career in the entertainment industry, and he met a lot of famous people who had plenty to say about him. See if you can guess who said what:

1. "He always seemed to be in good humor. He gave the impression of always enjoying what he was doing."
     HINT: This starlet was romantically linked with Powell in the newspapers.

2. "Dick hated wearing suits. He was a sportscoat man."
     HINT: This man called Dick his mentor.

3. "Dick Powell had a wonderful way of singing 'When Irish Eyes are Smiling' off key. It was one of the funniest things I've ever heard. In order to sing off key deliberately, one must have excellent pitch, and Dick used to kill me with this crazy thing."
     HINT: He appeared in two movies with Dick, but was more often co-starring with Joan Blondell.

4. "We both bought airplanes and we learned to fly together and we used to go off sometimes into the desert to some stop you know for breakfast or something. He loved all those kind of things."
     HINT: He directed Dick in a role that revitalized his career.

5. "About a year later, I was rushed to the hospital for an operation-- tonsillitis or something-- and when I got home there were two packages from Dick Powell for me. One was a beautiful little evening purse with my initials in gold, and in the other package were a dozen handkerchiefs with my name on them."
     HINT: This child star was originally going to appear in Broadway Gondolier until she was assigned to a different picture.

6. "Dick didn't make noise about his acting, or his marriage troubles, or even his losing fight with cancer. A sane, sensible, stoic man, he was also a loving husband and father and showman of rare ability."
     HINT: She re-introduced Dick to one of his wives.

7. "I'll never forget the day Dick Powell, who had finally given up smoking after being told he had cancer, wryly requested a cigarette sandwich when I asked if I could get him anything."
     HINT: She was married to one of the most famous Hollywood icons of all time.