Here are 10 things you should know about George E. Stone, born 117 years ago today. This diminutive character actor is a familiar face thanks to (usually) small roles in many classic (and not so classic) films.
We’re giving away not one, not two, but three “Sons of Kong” boxed DVD sets to lucky Cladrite Radio followers. Each set comes with 10 movies on three discs, and a goofier gaggle of gorilla pictures you’d be hard-pressed to find.
Just check out these titles:
- The Ape (1940), starring Boris Karloff
- Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla (1952), starring, well, you can guess
- The Gorilla (1939), starring the Ritz Brothers and Bela Lugosi)
- The Ape Man (1943), starring—wait for it—Bela Lugosi
- Bride of the Gorilla (1951), starring Barbara Payton and Raymond Burr (sorry, no Bela in this one, but will Lon Chaney Jr. do?)
- The Savage Girl (1932), starring Rochelle Hudson
- The White Gorilla (1945), starring Ray Corrigan
- Law of the Jungle (1942), starring Arline Judge
- White Pongo (1945), starring Richard Fraser
- Nabonga (1944), starring Buster Crabbe and Julie London (yes, that Julie London)
We’re confident you’ll agree that that’s one impressive assortment of simian silliness. And this bounty of cinematic missteps comes in pop-up packaging that you’ll be proud to display in your home!
How to enter? Easy. Just follow us on Facebook and Twitter (if you haven’t followed us on either or both of those platforms, now’s your chance to rectify that—just follow the links on the upper left), watch for our posts/tweets about the giveaway and share/retweet them with the hashtag #crgorillagiveaway. You can enter once per post per platform. The entry period ends at midnight ET on Wednesday, July 6. (Sorry, this giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada only.)
We love us some vintage clothing; easily 80% of the clothes we wear on a daily basis are older than we are (we made our debut in 1958, in case you’re wondering).
So whenever we watch old movies (which, as longtime readers know, we do often), we spend as much time and energy focusing on the garments the actors are sporting as on the plot, performances and photography.
We especially like it when we encounter a garment, an accessory, a look unlike any we’ve seen before, and we came across an example of just that recently when we watched the Cold War noir, The Woman On Pier 13 (1949), starring Robert Ryan, Laraine Day, and John Agar.
William Talman, perhaps best remembered as Hamilton Burger, the DA Raymond Burr mopped the floor with week after week on “Perry Mason,” also appears in a supporting role as a bad guy (it was his motion picture debut). And in one scene that finds him squiring Day around from one seedy nightspot to the next, he wears a plaid jacket like none we’d ever seen.
And while we can’t honestly say we liked the look, it was at least interesting.
We are familiar, as perhaps you are, too, with several varieties of lapels on men’s sports, suit and formal jackets—notch, peak, shawl—but outside of the Nehru jackets that enjoyed their brief moment in the sun in the 1960s, we’d never before seen a man, on the silver screen or on the street, sporting a plaid sportscoat that had no lapels at all.
We turned to Marc Chevalier, easily the most knowledgeable person we’re acquainted with when it comes to vintage menswear. Here’s what he had to offer:
“Jackets like this one were briefly popular in the early to mid-1940s. The style originated in California, and was probably first designed by Clinton Stoner. Frank Sinatra was the most famous wearer of this type of jacket, back in the early ’40s.
“I seem to recall that it was called a “cardigan sportcoat” or some such thing.”
There you have it. A Google search yielded no mention of the term “cardigan jacket,” but Marc’s word is certainly good enough for us. However, we also couldn’t find any info about Clinton Stoner, and our curiosity got the better of us. Thankfully, Marc, bless his heart, had the full scoop (we knew he would):
“Clinton Stoner was a freelance men’s suit and sportswear designer whose merchant clients included Macintosh Studio Clothes and Saks Fifth Avenue. In the late 1940s, he opened his own custom sportswear shop—named “Clinton Stoner”—on the east end of the Sunset Strip. Stoner’s shop was a favorite of gangster Mickey Cohen, actor Robert Mitchum, etc. Stoner’s daughter, Beverly, achieved some notoriety of her own as a much-married, much abused nightclub singer.”
You won’t see us adopting Stoner’s (and Sinatra’s) lapel-free style anytime soon, but we are intrigued by the look.
We’re about halfway through our first — and, as it happens, the very first — Perry Mason novel, The Case of the Velvet Claws, published in 1933.
Having read none of the later installments in the series, we have no idea what direction Erle Stanley Gardner took the series — and the characters — in, but in reading this first book, we can say that Warren William, who played Mason in a run of 1930s motion pictures, is much better suited to the role of Mason than Raymond Burr was.
It’s entirely possible that the character of Mason, as Gardner depicted him, changed over the years, but William is perfect for the brash, supremely confident rogue depicted in this first novel, which has more of a hard-boiled quality than we suspect the later novels in the series exhibited.