Friday 31 May 2024

Happy 94th Birthday

Happy 94th Birthday
Well, May 31st of course signifies Clint’s 94th Birthday, so I’m just posting this brief Birthday wish on behalf of all fans and the people here on the Archive.
To be honest – I feel a little despondent this time around. With a new film on the horizon, the lack of production news, no teaser artwork, a total lack of advance publicity in fact – seems to me – a little bleak to say the least. 
I think back and recall how a new Eastwood film would be something to really rejoice about, an event that carried with it a genuine sense of excitement. Yet, today, it feels pretty poor in comparison and I’m finding it increasingly harder to get excited – but not through the want of trying. 
I could post something here along the lines of ‘a compilation of highlights’ or Clint’s ‘greatest achievements’, the usual rehash, but to be honest it’s nothing that can’t be found on a hundred other sites, who just seem to sparkle into life when Clint turns another year older  - but I’ve tried to deliver a bit more than that month after month, year after year, I guess the publicity and general exposure surrounding a new, upcoming film is simply regarded as unimportant today, certainly in comparison of how it use to be.
So, with no new news of Juror #2, no advance artwork or poster, nothing on the release date, and zero in regards to marketing in general – I’ll simply leave it at Happy Birthday. 
Times have certainly changed…. 

Tuesday 21 May 2024

A Night at the theatre July 1960

A Night at the theatre July 1960
It’s strange how a single photo can sometimes open up an entire story which may have otherwise been completely lost to time. 

We recently discovered a couple of rare slides on the internet, a couple of which had been written and dated on the card mounts – a smart move on the photographer’s part as it does help to secure a sense of accuracy – and in turn often lead to certain other pieces that also tie-in to an event. 

We usually refer to this as ‘detective work’. Sometimes, these events simply get overlooked and forgotten and as a result often get missed from any number of books and biographies. In a lot of instances, it just requires an extra level of research and ‘joining the dots’ to form a picture. A lot of facts, times and places are often overlooked – simply because the information has become lost. On the Archive we like to try and gather the facts in order to try and complete and present a picture.  

In this example, these couple of slides – dated July 1960, revealed quite a bit – one slide actually had a title penned in ‘Duel of Angels’ – which also became a huge help. In 1960 the Giraudoux play Duel of Angels was playing at the Helen Hayes theatre and as part of the East coast leg of the U.S. tour. It’s hard to determine exactly which theatre Clint and his wife Maggie attended to see the play. Personally, I think it was more likely taken at the Huntington Hartford Theatre in Los Angeles where the play opened on July 12, 1960. By July 1960, Clint was becoming well established  as a TV star, Rawhide had just finished airing Season 2 of the show and continued to gain high ratings. 

In addition to these two very rare colour transparencies, I’ve also had a couple of pictures on file which I also believe are from the same event. The only information attributed to these bw photos are that they were taken circa 1960. But looking at these photos carefully I believe reveals some clues. On the first slide – to the left of Clint, it looks as if there is a small section of Maggie’s top which is clearly seen in the bw pictures. Also, Clint is wearing what appears to be the same style of shirt with the button-down collar. 

Duel of Angels was one of Vivien Leigh’s most successful theatre performances and one that she would recreate many times in many different venues. The Los Angeles performances ran for four weeks that summer. Leigh was visited backstage by many friends including actor Stewart Granger and George Cukor, who had directed her through part of Gone With the Wind.

Another strange ‘Clint connection’ - Duel of Angels opened on 24th April 1958 at the Apollo Theatre in London, a production directed by Jean-Louis Barrault, and starring Vivien Leigh, Claire Bloom, Derek Nimmo and Peter Wyngarde. For the American tour, Leigh again played the role of Paola in the production directed by Robert Helpmann. The U.S. tour also featured Peter Wyngarde, Jack Merivale and a young actress, Mary Ure! Yes, the very same Mary Ure who would later star alongside Clint in Where Eagles Dare! 
We do like connectivity… 

Friday 17 May 2024

Clint & Maggie: Breakfast at Tiffany’s Premiere

Clint & Maggie: Breakfast at Tiffany’s Premiere
Dateline: 17th October 1961, West Coast premiere of Breakfast at Tiffany's. Both Clint and his wife Maggie attended the evening event which was held at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles, California. The star Gala was an invitational event only and held shortly before the film went on general release. 

By 1961, Clint had become well established to TV viewers. Rawhide had just begun its fourth season and the episode The Long Shakedown had just been broadcast a few days earlier. 

There are very few photos from this event, which seems rather strange – most photos cover either the Rome, New York or London premieres. Thankfully, among the few that have emerged are these couple of great shots of Clint and his wife Maggie arriving at the event. I can’t believe there isn’t any newsreel footage locked away somewhere. These events were always a big affair and local news reporters would often cover these glitzy gatherings. In fact, one of the images appears to show Clint and Maggie being interviewed on their arrival. Crowds would often turn out in the hope of catching a glimpse of their favourite stars of the day.
Below: A packed Hollywood Boulevard welcomes special guests for the Gala premiere 

Thursday 16 May 2024

Summer ’64: A welcome home party after shooting The Magnificent Stranger

Summer ’64: A welcome home party after shooting The Magnificent Stranger

We do love little pieces such as this – early cuttings that reference A Fistful of Dollars when it was still humbly known as The Magnificent Stranger. We have absolutely no idea from where this cutting materialised from. 
All we can do is take from the clues given. The piece states that Clint had just returned from Italy and Spain after 10 weeks shooting. We know that Clint arrived in Italy in the April of 1964, so we can safely say this party was held in the Summer of ’64. Eastwood is still credited as living in Sherman Oaks as were his friends Bill Williams and his wife Barbara Hale. Both Williams and Hale appeared together on the TV series Perry Mason where Hale played Della Street.

Also pictured in the cutting is actress / singer Rhonda Fleming who was no stranger herself to many westerns on both the cinema and TV screens. Around this time, she had just finished appearing as a guest star in the long running TV series The Virginian – a show that starred Clint’s old friend Doug McClure.
Of course, The Magnificent Stranger soon became A Fistful of Dollars and it wasn’t too long before Clint was back on a plane and return to Europe to film For a Few Dollars More – he did pretty well from there on… 
*The original cutting does not contain the production shot from the film set, I’ve inserted this simply for illustrative purposes.
Below: Bill Williams and his wife Barbara Hale in their Sherman Oaks home.
Below: Clint visits Barbara Hale on the set of Perry Mason in 1962 
My thanks to Davy Triumph for finding the original cutting

Wednesday 15 May 2024

Flashback: Rawhide Incident at Rojo Canyon

Flashback: Rawhide Incident at Rojo Canyon  
I thought it was about time to visit a Rawhide episode here on the Archive. Aside from the dedicated Rawhide page, we don’t really get too many opportunities to remind ourselves of where it all really began.
Picking an episode to feature here is a tough one, so I selfishly (perhaps) decided upon ‘Incident at Rojo Canyon,’ the Season 3 opening episode which aired on September 30th, 1960. Why? Well, as a long-time admirer of the smouldering actress / singer Julie London, it felt like a good enough reason as any! 

Julie London made a guest (and memorable) appearance as Anne Danvers in the episode, and we got to see her perform the song, ‘perfect love’ which to my knowledge, never appeared on any of her studio albums. As well as featuring the full episode here, I also had a couple of nice behind the scenes colour photos on file which were taken during the filming – so it’s also a great excuse to pull these out.

Below: A couple of superb behind the scenes photos 

Aside from cast regulars Bobby Troup (who was married to Julie London) also appears in this episode as Anne Danvers manager Nelson Hoyt. Not knowing the Civil War is long over, a Confederate battalion defends an isolated canyon, as Gil's drive approaches. Following the cattle drive is a U.S. cavalry squadron, dispatched to stop mysterious raids on local farms. The green, young cavalry don't know the raiders are CSA veterans who are well dug in and itchy for serious battle. The much older U.S. cavalry sergeant looks suspiciously familiar to drover Jim Quince, who fought under flamboyant rebel General Jeb Stuart.

Below: The full episode, Incident at Rojo Canyon - My kindest thanks to the original uploader
There are also a few other little Eastwood connections which I like to tie-in to this particular episode, namely the director who was Ted Post. The director broke into movies and ended up directing Clint in his first American feature film, Hang ‘em High, and again for the Dirty Harry sequel Magnum Force. Another (indirect) connection perhaps, is the song ‘Misty’ as featured in Play Misty for Me. Call it coincidental, but Julie London’s latest album (released at the time of this particular episode) was Around Midnight (1960), and featured on that album was... Erroll Garner’s ‘Misty’. 
Yes, I know it’s pretty thin right? But hell, I’ve always liked connectivity!  

Tuesday 14 May 2024

Early Eastwood: 1955 -1956 Highway Patrol Series 1 Ep 27

Early Eastwood: 1955 -1956 Highway Patrol Series 1 Episode 27
1955 – 1956 signified a rather important period for Eastwood. He had official embarked on his acting career with appearances in a couple of Universal B movies such as Revenge of the Creature and Tarantula and appeared in a credited role as Jonesy in Francis in the Navy, part of the ongoing Francis the talking mule series of films. By 1956 he had changed agencies and also beginning to find work on TV. 
Highway Patrol was an action crime drama series produced for syndication from 1955 to 1959. It was one of the most popular syndicated series on TV and was the first American series broadcast in West Germany on that country's commercial TV channel. The chance of appearing on National TV in such a popular series was something that made good sense to Eastwood – and why shouldn’t it? It was also filmed locally, shooting around the San Fernando Valley and Simi Valley. 
Episode 27 was titled, Motorcycle A and Eastwood landed a credited role as young biker, Joe Keeley. This episode was first aired April 2nd, 1956.
Below: The complete Highway Patrol Episode, Motorcycle A 

Handwritten letters by Clint
To tie-in with these events and the Eastwood timeline, here are some extremely rare handwritten letters by Clint to an adoring fan. The letters are dated very early in Eastwood’s career, 1955 and 1956. There is also an early circa 1955 signed headshot of Eastwood which he sent to the recipient.
One letter is dated October 27, 1955 mere days after being dropped by his first agency. The second letter is dated May 13, 1956, about a month after the Highway Patrol episode had aired and also mentions his next film “The First Traveling Saleslady” as well as his first wife, Maggie.
First letter measures roughly 5” x 8” and the second letter measures roughly 4.5” x 7”
Below: Signed photograph measuring 5” x 7”
Below: Clint as Lt. Jack Rice in his next venture - the feature film The First Traveling Saleslady

Monday 13 May 2024

The 1974 A Fistful of Guinness Advertising campaign

The 1974 Guinness Advertising Campaign 

I thought I’d post this short piece as I noticed lately that a few reproductions, or retro styled metal signs have been turning up on auction sites. The key word of course is reproduction. The original campaign was launched by the brewers in 1974 and designed to tie-in with the dollar film. It’s strange how late this appeared considering the film was running around 1967. 
Nevertheless, the ad was obviously designed as if it was a film poster (of sorts) and clearly an Eastwood likeness image was used to try and maximise the impact. Strangely enough it looks as if various different elements have been used to create the image. The shirt looks way out of place and resembles something close to what Clint was wearing in Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, while the hat with the distinct threaded leather lace looks more like the hat worn in Two Mules for Sister Sara. 

Naturally, Guinness no doubt had to handle this rather carefully, probably to avoid any copyright infringements. However, this wasn’t the case with the tie-in campaign and the James Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun, also from 1974. This design took the full quad design poster and exploited it officially with the Guinness brand up front and centre and fully in your face! 
While the reproduction metal signs can be picked up relatively cheaply, you can expect to pay a great deal more for the original 1974 posters, which do pop up occasionally as there is a healthy interest in Guinness brewery memorabilia. 
Below: The retro style reproduction metal signs 

Sunday 5 May 2024

Bernard Hill: Titanic and True Crime actor dies aged 79

Bernard Hill: Titanic and True Crime actor dies aged 79
It was sad to hear that British actor Bernard Hill has died aged 79. He played Captain Edward Smith in the 1997 Oscar-winning film Titanic and King Théoden in the Rings trilogy.
His breakout role was in BBC TV drama Boys from the Blackstuff, where he portrayed Yosser Hughes, a character who struggled - and often failed - to cope with unemployment in Liverpool. He died early this morning, his agent Lou Coulson confirmed.
In Boys from the Blackstuff, Hill drew praise for his gritty portrayal of Yosser Hughes, an intense and memorable character.
That show won a Bafta for best drama series in 1983, and in 2000 it was ranked seventh on a British Film Institute list of the best TV shows ever made.
Another of Hill's memorable BBC TV performances came in the 2015 drama series Wolf Hall, adapted from Hilary Mantel's book about the court of Henry VIII. Hill portrayed the Duke of Norfolk - an uncle of Anne Boleyn and an enemy of Cardinal Wolsey.
In 1999, Hill starred as Warden Luther Plunkitt in Clint’s tense thriller, True Crime. Hill lived with his wife, High Plains Drifter actress Marianna Hill, with whom he had a son named Gabriel.
RIP Sir, our thoughts and condolences go out to his family and friends. 

Early Eastwood: February 1957

Early Eastwood: February 1957

It’s fair to say that in 1957 Clint was still a struggling, but jobbing actor. While under contract at Universal, he had appeared in several bit parts between 1955-56 which included, Revenge of the Creature, Francis in the Navy, Lady Godiva, Tarantula! Never Say Goodbye, Star in the Dust and Away All Boats. 

He was also appearing in several Television series which included Highway Patrol, Death Valley Days, TV Reader's Digest and The West Point Story. Universal terminated his contract on October 23rd, 1955.

Clint joined the Marsh Agency. Director Arthur Lubin landed him his biggest role to date in the film The First Traveling Saleslady (1956) and later hired him for Escapade in Japan (1957), without a formal contract. On his financial advisor Irving Leonard's advice, he switched to the Kumin-Olenick Agency in 1956 and Mitchell Gertz in 1957. 

Next up was Lafayette Escadrille, also known as C'est la Guerre, Hell Bent for Glory (UK) - an American war film produced by Warner Bros. It starred Tab Hunter and features David Janssen and Clint in an early supporting role. Clint worked on the movie between October 19th to December 8th 1956 and pretty much rounded off the year for Clint. In January and February 1957, he obviously found some time to sit down and return some of the fan mail that continued to arrive. Of course, it would only be a year or so later that Clint would be offered a supporting role in a little up and coming TV series called Rawhide. 

Below: Clint at home contemplating his future and addressing some fan mail
Below: One of Clint’s original letters to a fan, dated February 25th 1957. Clint had just completed filming of Lafayette Escadrille. 

Wednesday 1 May 2024

Photo Opportunity #49

Photo Opportunity #49

The first of the month already! How can that be? Our May Photo Opportunity ties in nicely with the current Where Eagles Dare retro vibe here on the Archive. 

Here’s a very rare photo featuring Clint taken in London during 1968. It is believed to be taken at a gala party held on May 7th 1969. There seems to be conflicting reports regarding this photo. Some suggest it was an after party for the London premiere of Rosemary’s Baby - but most sources suggest that wasn’t until January 23rd, 1969? Plus, by Feb 1969 – Clint was already on his way to Mexico to begin filming Two Mules for Sister Sara – so I suspect that would have been cutting it a bit too fine. 

I did a bit of further research based on the fact that Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones and Ringo Star of The Beatles was also in attendance, and eventually discovered that this was the launch party for Rosemary's Baby held in London. It was quite a gathering with Peter Sellers, Britt Ekland, David Bailey, Robert Mitchum and of course Roman Polanski. 

Clint was obviously still in London concluding the filming of Where Eagles Dare at the MGM-British Studios in Borehamwood. He is seen here chatting with actress Mia Farrow who was also filming in London with Richard Burton’s then wife Elizabeth Taylor in the film Secret Ceremony. 

Farrow’s hair was growing back from the extreme Vidal Sassoon cut which she wore in Rosemary’s Baby. Rosemary’s Baby had concluded filming in the December of 1967. Her hair is much darker here, which probably blended in better with the longer dark wig she wore in Secret Ceremony. 

Also clearly seen in the picture is actor Yul Brynner who was also in London filming the neo noir thriller, The File of the Golden Goose. I’m still not sure where this party was held, but should the information materialise, I will update this post. 

My kind thanks to Graham Rye for suppling this photo and Kevin Wilkinson for helping ease the headache!