Bob Hope roasts C.B DeMille in 1953

Film
While performing research in the DeMille archive at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, I came across this transcript of gags that Bob Hope zinged at Cecil B. DeMille. The occasion was the “Great American” dinner. The date, November 30, 1953. Cecil’s been in this business a long time I don’t know exactly when he ...

C.B.’s captivating “Cleopatra”

Film
We just loved Cecil B. DeMille’s Cleopatra (1934)  — a movie that burns at high voltage for one hundred entertaining minutes. It looked all the better projected onto the Egyptian Theater’s humongous screen. Scott Eyman, author of the new DeMille biography, “Empire of Dreams,” was on hand to banter about the film with critic Leonard ...

Cleopatra reclaims the Egyptian Theater 1

Film
What better place to celebrate the art (and commerce!) of Cecil B. DeMille than the Egyptian Theater on Hollywood Boulevard? An under appreciated director who mined the nexus of the lofty and the lusty, DeMille fits well with the Egyptian Theater’s ornate aesthetic. His influence was ingrained in mainstream American culture by the time Sid Grauman ...

Denishawn’s last living dancer leaves us 3

Dance
Norton Owen, Director of Preservation of Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, dispatched the following message: “Although I don’t believe you had the privilege of meeting her, I wanted to pass along the poignant news that the youngest and last of the Denishawn dancers, Jane Sherman (1908-2010), passed away last night at the age of 101.” The ...

Rambova’s Aztec costume for Kosloff 2

Dance · Fashion · Film
Ballets Russes dancer Theodore Kosloff and his protegee Natacha Rambova pose at left, costumed for their Aztec dance number on the Keith Orpheum vaudeville circuit. Kosloff brought to the stage the role in which he made his cinematic debut  — Guatemoco, the Aztec prince, in Cecil B. DeMille’s “The Woman God Forgot” in 1917. Here’s a ...

Before Hollywood came Edendale 2

Architecture & Design · Film
This rustic boulevard, photographed at the turn of the twentieth century, occupied a Los Angeles neighborhood with the aspirational name of Edendale. One hundred years later, it’s called Echo Park. The street was then Allesandro. Now it’s Glendale Boulevard, or more accurately, a two-mile suction tube for automobiles hurtling toward downtown Los Angeles. On this ...

The devilish Madam Satan 6

Dance · Film
This is the amazing “electricity” dance sequence from Cecil B. DeMille’s early talkie Madam Satan (1930). A socialite costume ball is taking place — where else? — in a moored zeppelin. The floor show, pictured above, features the fearsome dancing of Theodore Kosloff, a former Ballets Russes star who lived in Los Angeles and acted in many DeMille silent ...