Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Reading Was Always Fundamental Part Three

The third day of our whirlwind trip 'round the world of books and the chicly bookish finds us in the company of the famously talented, and the just plain famous...but let's not be snobbish--literacy is not, fortunately, a treasure belonging only to the elite:

Actor John Derek, long before Ursula, Linda or Bo, reads to his two small children, Russell and Sean Catherine while his first wife, retired actress Pati Behrs, leans into to listen, sometime in the mid-50s.

A rather girlishly casual Hermione Gingold poses for a portrait of a young character actress hard at work as she studies a text for an appearance with the Shaw Festival at Niagara-at-the-Lake many moons ago. Perhaps the tart-tongued actress acquired some of her penchant for tersely amusing evaluations of her contemporaries from reading George Bernard Shaw. About Katharine Hepburn, for example she said, "Miss Hepburn is an acquired taste. Like Greek olives and Sapphic poetry."

A pensive Sean Connery lounges in his basement apartment early in his career, perhaps awaiting that fateful call from Cubby Broccoli to play "Bond, James Bond." Funny, I've lived in a couple of basement apartments, but no one like this ever came with the rest of the rather tatty furniture that went with the rent. Darn it...

Clearly, Jean Harlow, preparing for the filming of that raffish pre-code, Red-Headed Woman (1932), decided to have a bit of fun with pal and screenwriter Anita Loos (with bottle) and her most famous opus, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.


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