Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Movie Reviews: The Glen Miller Story (1954), Pillow Talk, Valley of the Dolls

I feel like I'm finally getting caught up on some of the blogs I intended to share months and months ago.  Making a big move and planning a wedding will force you to put some things on hold and unfortunately it had to be my blog.  This is a quick movie review blog for some "vintage" movies I watched in the last months which I felt were worth recommending.

The first is "The Glenn Miller Story" staring two of my favorites Jimmy Stewart and June Allyson which was made in 1954.  This is a biographical story primarily about Glenn Miller and the love of his life, his wife Helen.

I actually bought this movie for Dave for a birthday gift knowing he loves anything about Glenn Miller as Dave is a fan of big band music.  And when I say fan, I mean obsessed!  He can listen to almost any recording between the 1920's and 1940's and tell who wrote the music, who is singing, and which musicians are playing which instruments.  I feel like my knowledge is growing just from his influence.

Glenn and Helen's love story is definitely a must see.  Glenn truly loved his wife and most if not all of his songs were based on memories or instances in their budding romance.  He would purposely have his songs categorized in the hopes that Helen would hear the tributes.  He called it "something old, something new, and something borrowed".  I love this idea so much and will never look at a small brown jug the same way again.  I honestly came across a set of brown jug salt and pepper shakers recently and got a little misty eyed from this movie.  

If not for the fantastic love story, watch this movie because of the beautiful pieces worn by the actors.  This skirt in the scene below is amazing and is truly meant to be worn specifically for dancing as you can see below.

The next treasure of a movie I recently watched was "Pillow Talk" starring Doris Day and Rock Hudson.  This is about a love hate relationship between an arrogant marketer and a interior designer.  Which makes for some amazing costumes and sets!

This 1959 classic displays a plethora of eye candy for the vintage lovers and is the first of three movies showing the fantastic on screen chemistry of the two actors.  This also was poised to be Rock Hudson's career comeback.

That pink kitchen and living room!!!

You can never go wrong with a little red and leopard!

My third and final review is for "Valley of the Dolls" which is based on a novel by Jacqueline Susann, published in 1966.  It's the story of three women whose friendship and lives are intertwined by the tragedy and abuse by self destruction brought on by the highs and lows of fame and fortune.

I just recently purchased this book and am looking forward to the read. The movie stars Patty Duke, Sharon Tate, and Barbara Parkins.  Again, since this movie is set in the mid 1960's there is an eye candy of glorious fashion and design.

Another good suggestion is to watch "Isn't She Great" which stars Bette Midler and is a biographical take on the author's journey of writing "The Valley of the Dolls".

Do you have any movie recommendations to share?

Till' Next Time,


Thursday, November 6, 2014

Korla Pandit: Godfather of Exotica Music

I can't truly explain when my love for Korla Pandit began or how it started.  For many years I have heard his music play on my Arthur Lyman Pandora channel and always looked forward to his organ exotic infused suites.  So who is Korla Pandit?  He was actually originally born as John Roland Redd to a baptist pastor and homemaker in Columbia, Missouri in 1921.  His dad was of African-American decent and his mother was of Creole lineage.  He showed a mastery of playing the piano at a young which would eventually shift to the organ and make him a kitschy master of his craft.

He moved to California in the early 1940's and began a career as "Juan Rolando" as this helped him book gigs as Latin tunes were all the rage. With the help of his wife Beryl DeBeeson, who happened to be an artist for Disney, his new persona as a mystic Indian organ playing icon was born in the late 1940's.  The "disguise" was due in part to the race restrictions of his time.

Below is a clip of him playing his exotic organ rendition of "Misirlou" on a live television broadcast in the 1950's.

His rise in popularity was due in part to a ten minute show he hosted on KTLA called "Adventures in Music with Korla Pandit".  He never spoke during the show.  However, he would gaze into the camera and send his audience at home into an exotic filled trance with the influence of his mystical songs.

In the photo below he showcases how he was able to play both the organ and piano at the same time.  Truly a musical feat to admire.

I recently got around to watching Tim Burton's "Ed Woods" (I seriously do not know why it took me this long to finally watch this incredible movie).  I was stunned by the scene which shows someone playing the organ in a Korla Pandit fashion.  Later I read that this was really him doing a cameo and that it ended up being his last movie role before his death in 1998. 

I truly feel that "Ed Woods" is one of Burton's best films to date.  Do yourself a favor and watch it if you haven't already seen it.  Below is a clip of his cameo in the film.

Of course his "Indian" name and delivery were all a facade.  He kept Korla's persona intact even up to his death.

A few months ago I came across an auction on eBay that I couldn't pass up.  Two signed LPs by him for just $10.  I couldn't believe my luck in coming across this auction.  I plan on framing these two treasures soon and displaying my love of this incredible artist.

Till' Next Time,


Monday, November 3, 2014

Damon's Steakhouse (Glendale, CA)

Several months ago Dave and I drove to Van Nuys, CA to stay with and visit our friends Angie and Mike.  We had a wonderful day of thrift and vintage shopping in Burbank, CA.  I got to finally try Porto's Bakery, which is a must have if you are ever in the area.  It was a while back (before the wedding I think) so I've likely already posted photos of my finds in past thrift blogs.  Speaking of my thrift blogs, I have primarily been posting pictures of my finds as I come across them on my instagram account (thesweetiesuz).  Oregon has been very good to Dave and I so far and I'm sure we will have lots of treasures to share in the future.

So back to the blog at hand.  After a fantastic day, we made plans that night to have dinner and drinks at Damon's Steakhouse which is located in Glendale, CA.

The founder of this restaurant, Loyal Adelbert Damon, was actually born in Medford, OR (where I currently reside). 

See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil, and do no evil. Ha!

The restaurant was opened in 1937 when Damon sold his candy company to fund the new venture.  The restaurant's original location was Central Avenue, in Glendale, but was moved to it's current location at Brand Boulevard in the 1980's.

The Polynesian decor was inspired by a lone palm tree which once stood in the middle of the restaurant.  This sparked a need to decorate the rest of the restaurant to match the theme.

This included some very beautiful salt water fish tanks.

Dave and I both opted to try their hurricane's (which I recall were delicious).

I just love the Eugene Savage murals which are displayed on the walls throughout the restaurant.

Not to mention some of the coolest lamps I have ever seen (some which I believe are from Oceanic Arts located in Whittier, CA.)

Mike and Angie

Dave and I

If you are ever in the area be sure to stop by this Polynesian gem.  I was told by the waitress that they have a live Polynesian revue show on Friday nights.  Visit their website located here for more information.

Till' Next Time,