The Daily Mirror

Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

Category: Mystery Photo

Movieland Mystery Photo





  June 11, 2011, Mystery Photo  
  Los Angeles Times file photo  


You may recognize this photo because I ran it a few years ago. But it’s one of my favorites. This fellow was branded with a very certain stereotype that he played in countless films, so I like to see him out of character.

As some of you know, the Daily Mirror is being killed by The Times in a pruning of blogs with low traffic. I’ll post a longer farewell next week, but I wanted to take this opportunity to thank everyone for participating in the mystery photos. They were my most popular feature.

Through the mystery photos, I got to know “the brain trust,” a corps of readers with a humbling knowledge of film. My first criteria in selecting mystery guests was that I didn’t know who they were, so in almost every case (aside from my two-week binge on Lucille Ball and a few other exceptions) I couldn’t identify any of them. And they proved to be a wonderful history lesson for me: Trixie Friganza … Jack Mulhall … Julian Eltinge … Pier Angeli. 

I had an agenda with these pictures, though I don’t think anyone ever realized what I was up to. Most people saw the pictures as a daily movie quiz that was (at least ideally) fairly challenging. And that was fine.

But the mystery pictures were actually a years-long photo essay on fame and forgetfulness. Nearly every image I posted was of someone who was once a prominent performer – and yet look at  how dimly most of them are remembered. 

In some ways,  the indignant responses were the most perversely rewarding:  “Am I supposed to know who that is?” No, you’re not. That’s the point: The stars of today are the obscure nobodies of tomorrow. Alas, that’s a lesson that some of Hollywood’s current problem children haven’t learned.

Thanks for reading.... Keep checking next week for a final farewell post that ties up all the loose ends from the last four years.

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Movieland Mystery Photo [Updated]





  June 6, 2011, Mystery Photo  
  Los Angeles Times file photo  

[Update: Elisabeth Bergner: The German star, seen previously here as "Catherine the Great," displays her versatile genius in "Escape Me Never," at the Four Star, her art being hailed as more exquisite on the screen, even, than in the stage play, in which she appeared recently in New York, in a photo stamped June 16, 1935.

[Update: Please congratulate Dewey Webb, Eve Golden, Steve Stoliar, Steven Bibb, Anne Papineau, Mike Hawks, Gregory Moore, Jenny M and Mary Mallory for identifying our mystery guest!]

Here’s our mystery gal!

There’s a new photo on the jump!

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Movieland Mystery Photo [Updated]





  June 4, 2011, Mystery Photo  
  Los Angeles Times file photo  
March 19, 1939, White Cargo March 29, 1939, White Cargo



[Update: Well our torrid mystery gal stumped everybody! I wish I had more photos of her, but there aren’t any. This is Ann Ainslee in “White Cargo,”  a rather notorious Los Angeles stage production of 1939. The Times reported that Ainslee left “White Cargo” to go into pictures, but she had almost no film career as far as I can tell. And in case you’re wondering, I used her photos because they are too great not to share. I wonder what became of her.]

Here’s our weekend mystery gal!
 
There’s a new photo on the jump!

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Movieland Mystery Photo [Updated]





  May 30, 2011, Mystery Photo  
  Los Angeles Times file photo  

[Update:  Dorothy Ford, one of Earl Carroll's most beautiful girls, swims and rides horseback for relaxation between nightly appearances at the Hollywood Carroll theater, in a photo published Oct. 11, 1941.]

Here’s our mystery woman for the week!
 
There’s a new photo on the jump!

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Movieland Mystery Photo [Updated]





  May 28, 2011, Mystery Photo  
  Los Angeles Times file photo  


[Update: This is Lisa Eilbacher in a photo published Nov. 24, 1977. Please congratulate JM Green, Cold in Phoenix, Barbara, Mary Mallory and Candy C for identifying her. ] 

Here’s our weekend mystery gal!

There’s a new photo on the jump!

Continue reading »

Movieland Mystery Photo [Updated]





  May 23, 2011, Mystery Photo  
  Los Angeles Times file photo  

[Update 2: Yes, I got tricky. There were two Jack Lamberts in the Jack Lambert envelope!

[BAD MAN ... 1800 style ... is popular character actor Jack Lambert, here seen as the villainous Valentine, right-hand man to bandit Wallace Beery in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's "Big Jack." Beneath the scar and coonskin cap, Lambert's really a solid citizen who would sooner kid than kill. In addition to Beery, the cast includes Richard Conte, Marjorie Main, Vanessa Brown and Edward Arnold. Richard Thorpe directed, Gottfried Reinhardt, producing.

[Jack Lambert -- Popular character actor. Latest release "Big Jack" opposite the late Wallace Beery. Just finished featured lead in "Stars in My Crown" opposite Joel McCrea for M-G-M. Lambert has played in 35 pictures in 4 years.

[The photo is stamped July 26, 1949. ]



[Update: This is everybody’s favorite villain! Please congratulate Julie Merholz, Bob Levinson, Michael Ryerson, Jenny M, Fibber McGee, Lee Ann Thom and Megan, [Update: Mike Hawks], Carmen, Mary Mallory and Don Danard (via email) for identifying him!] 

Here’s a tough-looking mystery fellow!

There’s a new photo on the jump!

 

 

 

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Movieland Mystery Photo [Updated]





  May 21, 2011, Mystery Photo  
  Los Angeles Times file photo  

May 15, 1949, Ivan Jandl [Update 2: This is Ivan Jandl in "The Search." Jandl received a special Academy Award and a miniature statuette for outstanding juvenile performance, The Times said. According to IMDB, Jandl died in 1987. The Times apparently never published an obituary.]

[Update: Please congratulate Mary Mallory, Dewey Webb, Jenny M, Bob Levinson, Gerald McCann, Mike Hawks, Michael Ryerson, CandyC, La Peregrina and Rick Scott for identifying him!]

Here’s our weekend mystery lad!

There’s a new photo on the jump!

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Movieland Mystery Photo [Updated]





  May 17, 2011, Mystery Photo  
  Los Angeles Times file photo  

March 4, 1981, Brenda Benet [Update 2: This is Brenda Benet and it was particularly sad to be scanning photos of her on Mother’s Day, considering her story. At right, the March 4,  1981, account of her son’s death while undergoing emergency surgery. Benet committed suicide a month after the first anniversary of her son’s death.

[Above, Brenda Benet is a guest on "Wendy and Me" episode, in a photo published Dec. 7, 1964. ]

[Update: Please congratulate Zabadu, Jenny M, Rogét-L.A., Carmen and Barbara for identifying our mystery guest!  ]

Here’s our mystery gal!
 
There’s a new photo on the jump!

  April 15, 1982, Brenda Benet  

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Movieland Mystery Photo – Special Edition [Updated]





  Lionel Comport photo  

image Lionel Comport photo


There’s a saying at the Daily Mirror HQ: “Any day I can do research is a good day.” And Tuesday was certainly an excellent day. I spent the morning with Caroline Comport discussing her research project on her grandfather, Lionel Comport, who survived being shot in 1901 while making his rounds as a milkman and became a successful Hollywood animal trainer. (He raised dairy cows. Movie studios rented cattle for films. The rest is history.)

Lionel, at the center of the photo on the right, posed with an unidentified movie crew and many years later wrote on the back of the print that it was taken at Red Rock Canyon between 1904 and 1907, but his age at the time and the crews’ clothing indicate a later date. 
 
I’m hoping the Daily Mirror’s Brain Trust will pitch in and help identify the people in this photo – and possibly the movie. Enlargements are on the jump.

[Update: The first responses are in: Zasu Pitts, Slim Summerville and a young Mickey Rooney. More on the jump!]

[Update 2: A big thanks to everyone who pitched in and helped identify this photo as the crew of "Love Birds," especially Mary Mallory, who provided a plot summary of the film. I'd also like to thank Don Danard, who sent his information via email. This is another lesson in why people should label pictures as soon as possible and not leave mystery photos for their grandchildren!] 

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Movieland Mystery Photo [Updated]





  May 14, 2011, Mystery Photo  
  Los Angeles Times file photo  


[Update: STRANGE CASE -- Dan Barton plays the central figure in a homicide with an unusual twist in "A Matter of Degree," Goodson-Todman's production in the new "The Web" telefilm series for Screen Gems in a photo stamped July 14, 1957. ]

[Please congratulate Pat in Michigan, Mary Mallory and Rogét-L.A. for identifying our mystery guest as Dan Barton (d. 2009)!]

Here’s our weekend mystery fellow!

There’s a new photo on the jump!

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Movieland Mystery Photo [Updated]





  May 9, 2011, Mystery Photo  
  Los Angeles Times file photo  

[Update 2: This is Bramwell Fletcher (d. 1988), whom most people recognize from “The Mummy.”  This publicity photo is stamped Oct. 7, 1930.]

[Update: Please congratulate Anne Papineau, Pamela Porter, Lee Ann Thom and Megan, Mike Hawks, Mary Mallory and Don Danard (via email) for identifying our mystery fellow! ] 


Here’s our mystery fellow!

There’s a new photo on the jump!

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Movieland Mystery Photo [Updated]





  2011_0503_mystery_photo  
  Los Angeles Times file photo
 


[Update 2: Lawrence Dobkin portrays an unsuspecting heavy in the "Prairie Elephant" episode of "Rawhide" in a photo published Nov. 12, 1961.] 

[Update: Please congratulate RJ for identifying our mystery guest! And please congratulate Mary Mallory for identifying the TV show that featured our mystery friend!]

Here’s this week’s mystery fellow!

There’s a new photo on the jump!

Continue reading »
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