Sybil's 31 Days of Halloween!!... Scary Screen & Scream Stars!!

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Hey, what’s Halloween without our favorite very-scary stars? Check out the Horrifying “Who'z Dats?” right here under the “Who’z Dat? tab… or check out the Halloween tab! They’re all waiting right there for you at the top of the page! Just click away!! BOOOOO!

Sybil's 31 Days of Halloween... MUMMIE MEETS THE MUMMY (1931)...

... My appearance in MUMMIE MEETS THE MUMMY (1931), directed by Tod Browning. It was Hollywood's first foray into the musical-monster-comedy genre and the budget was huge. I played a terribly glamorous lady-archaeologist who discovers that she is the reincarnation of the first lady-pharaoh, Queen Ma-Hotsa-Totsa. I am reunited with my lover from 3000 years before, Kare-Lees, the high-priest of Heepsa-Hummus. Sadly, our relationship ended on the eve of our wedding, when my handmaidens caught him trying on my bridal trousseau! And then Kare-lees was turned into a mummy all wrapped in ace bandages and buried alive! Can you imagine? Well, the film was full of musical numbers, tanna leaves, of course, incense burners, pyramids, cats, camels, feasts, orgies, and lots of oiled up muscular slaves, loincloths, stranglings, poisonings, that sort of thing... oh, and way too much sand that just got in everywhere! And then that awful Hays Committee decided that the film had... um... "deviant and morally questionable overtones that might upset or confuse impressionable persons and sensitive young men". I'm sure I don't know what they meant... although my hand-hammered solid gold snake brassiere was a little to loose. But that nice Mr. Adrian adjusted it so that it wouldn't fall off during my dance of the seven veils... no matter how frisky I got. Ah, good times... good times.

BREAKING NEWS from the CNN news desk... "and leave the driving to us!"...

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Steve Bannon and the Alt-Right Travelers Bureau announce the new Whites-Only Bus Lines!… Just think, folks! No more of those meddling minorities sulking about having to move to the back of the bus. Now, with the W.O.B.L. there IS no back of the bus! Every seat is First Class, and only the salted peanuts are second-class! YEEE-HAW!!! Our many travel hubs include Buttsmel, Indiana; Polka-Ma-Hola, Iowa; Monkey-Pudding, Nebraska; Three-Teeth, Arkansas; and Shitzpantz, Ohio. All the romantic stops along the Red States Riviera! Make your reservations at 247-867-7555. That's right, just dial C-H-R-U-M-P-S-K-K-K. The nice man in the pillowcase will tell you how to order…

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Sybil's 31 Days of Halloween: Sybil Bruncheon’s “Hollywood’s Hysterical Histories”

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True Story!... Following a stunning career with the handsomest leading men and the most iconic film scripts, Ingrid Bergman was reduced to lurid, low-budget "nudie-monster-movies" after she was shunned by the studios for her out-of-wedlock affair with Roberto Rossellini. She was basically exiled from Hollywood, going from mega-stardom at Paramount, MGM, and Warner Brothers to a forlorn twilight at studios like Jankowinski Movie-Toons, Blatt Sisters Cinema, and The Creepy-Comedy Contract Players. Seen here in happier days with Humphrey Bogart and Cary Grant, she could only sneak back in under a sad parade of pseudonyms including Ivana Hoope, Lestrina Gargeaux, and Debbie Flatt, shown here with her "co-star/leading man" in I MARRIED A GARDEN GRUB (1951). She followed it with the musical sequels ANTZ IN HER PANTZ (1952), THE PROFESSOR & HIS PUPAS (1953), and a remake of LAURA with Vincent Price titled LARVA (1954). When asked by reporters as she left the country on the S.S. Stockholm, she was quoted as snarling, "Hollywood! Dessa stinkande jävlarna!"..

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Sybil's "31 DAYS OF HALLOWEEN!"... Kitties and Costumes!

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"I HAVE chosen my Hallowe'en costume! I'm going to the party as a Caesar Salad.... hand me those damn croutons!!!, and light on the dressing!"...

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A New Sybil's "WHO'Z DAT?"... MARGARET HAMILTON (December 9, 1902 – May 16, 1985)

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Margaret Brainard Hamilton (December 9, 1902 – May 16, 1985) was an American film character actress best known for her portrayal of the Wicked Witch of the West in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's classic film The Wizard of Oz (1939).

A former schoolteacher, she worked as a character actress in films for seven years before she was offered the role that defined her public image. The Wicked Witch of the West was eventually ranked No. 4 in the American Film Institute's 2003 list of the 50 Best Movie Villains of All Time, making her the top ranking female villain. In later years, Hamilton made frequent cameo appearances on television sitcoms and commercials. She also gained recognition for her work as an advocate of causes designed to benefit children and animals, and retained a lifelong commitment to public education.

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A New Sybil's "WHO'Z DAT?"... BASIL RATHBONE (June 13, 1892 – July 21, 1967)

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         Darlings! Mummy has made a decision! After reading dozens of posts and having hundreds of conversations with well-meaning folks who just don't know about the great CHARACTER actors who gave films the depth and genius that surrounded and supported the so-called "stars", I am going to post a regular, special entry called SYBIL'S "WHO'Z DAT??"....there'll be photos and a mini-bio, and the next time you see one of those familiar, fabulous faces that you just "can't quite place".......well, maybe these posts will help. Some of these actors worked more, had longer and broader careers, and ended up happier, more loved, and even wealthier than the "stars" that the public "worships"......I think there may be a metaphor in that! What do you think???.... while you’re reflecting, I’m inviting into our hallowed hall one of my very favorite people in show biz!!! Here he is folks, Mummy decided to add a special extra helping of WHO'Z DAT Deliciousness to the schedule...BASIL RATHBONE!!! (June 13, 1892 – July 21, 1967)

        For me, this fellow is the gold...NAY!..The PLATINUM standard for Hollywood royalty! (Ironically, he was knighted by George VI, and received even further elevations from Elizabeth II). Equally known for playing both heroic and villainous roles in some of the most iconic movies of the Cinema Golden Age, Basil Rathbone epitomized suave sophistication, brains, craftiness, and class. His face alone was one of the greatest pieces of cinema sculpture, and the camera adored him....you could light those bones a thousand different ways, and all of them were art! On the rare occasion when he would laugh without a villainous glint in his eyes, you could see all sorts of warmth and charm beneath that lacquered perfection, and indeed there are many stories about Rathbone and his wife being famous party givers to crowds of friends and admirers!

         Born Philip St. John Basil Rathbone in South Africa, (June 13, 1892), he rose to prominence in England as a Shakespearean stage actor and later went on to appear in over 70 films, primarily costume dramas, swashbucklers, and, occasionally, horror films. He was twice nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar, both for his role of Tybalt in "Romeo and Juliet" (1936) and for his role of King Louis XI in "If I Were King" (1938), losing out both times to Walter Brennan. His most famous role, however, was eccentrically heroic—that of Sherlock Holmes in fourteen Hollywood films made between 1939 and 1946 and in a radio series done with his great friend Nigel Bruce as Dr. Watson. His later career included Broadway and television work; he received a Tony Award in 1948 as Best Actor for his performance as the unyielding Dr. Austin Sloper in the original production of THE HEIRESS, which featured Wendy Hiller as his timid, spinster daughter.                

         Rathbone was married twice; first to actress Ethel Marion Foreman in 1914. They had one son, Rodion Rathbone (1915–1996), who had a brief Hollywood career under the name John Rodion. The couple divorced in 1926. In 1924 he was involved in a brief relationship with Eva Le Gallienne. In 1927, he married writer Ouida Bergère; the couple adopted a daughter, Cynthia Rathbone (1939–1969). During Rathbone's Hollywood career, Ouida Rathbone, who was also her husband's business manager, developed a reputation for hosting elaborate expensive parties in their home, with many prominent and influential people on the guest lists. This trend inspired a joke in The Ghost Breakers (1940), a film in which Rathbone does not appear: During a tremendous thunderstorm in New York City, Bob Hope observed that "Basil Rathbone must be throwing a party". Although his later career may have vexed him on some level appearing in two spoofs of his earlier swashbuckling villains: CASANOVA’S BIG NIGHT (1954) opposite Bob Hope and THE COURT JESTER (1956) with Danny Kaye, he also appeared in major films, including the Humphrey Bogart comedy WE’RE NO ANGELS (1955) and John Ford’s political drama THE LAST HURRAH (1958). The 1950s and 60s saw Rathbone performing on radio and television in various Christmas specials, variety shows, and even on game shows where he was very popular for his wit and polish. But he also was reduced to campy horror films and pastiches like THE BLACK SLEEP (1956), THE COMEDY OF TERRORS (1964) the only film to feature the "Big Four" of American International Pictures' horror films: Price, Rathbone, Karloff and Peter Lorre, QUEEN OF BLOOD (1966), THE GHOST IN THE INVISIBLE BIKINI (1966, with comic Harvey Lembeck joking, "That guy looks like Sherlock Holmes"), HILLBILLYS IN A HAUNTED HOUSE (1967, also featuring Lon Chaney Jr. and John Carradine), and his last film, a low-budget, Mexican horror film called AUTOPSY OF A GHOST (1968).

       Although his later career began to be made up of lower budget monster movies and spoofs of his own distinctive reputation as either a mad scientist or a British detective, Rathbone's immortality as a great invention of the Hollywood imagination will never dim! Basil Rathbone has three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame: one for films, at 6549 Hollywood Boulevard; one for radio, at 6300 Hollywood Boulevard; and one for television, at 6915 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood. British actress Mrs. Patrick Campbell once described Rathbone as "two profiles pasted together", and later stated in the same autobiography, that she thought of him as "a folded umbrella taking elocution lessons." Rathbone died suddenly of a heart attack in New York City in 1967 at age 75. He is interred in a crypt in the Shrine of Memories Mausoleum at Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York. For his many fans around the world, he continues to be luminescent, enigmatic, iconic.... a Star!!! 

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A New Sybil's "WHO'Z DAT?"... ERNEST THESIGER (January 15, 1879 - January 14, 1961)

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Darlings! Mummy has made a decision! After reading dozens of posts and having hundreds of conversations with well-meaning folks who just don't know about the great CHARACTER actors who gave films the depth and genius that surrounded and supported the so-called "stars", I am going to post a regular, special entry called SYBIL'S "WHO'Z DAT??"....there'll be photos and a mini-bio, and the next time you see one of those familiar, fabulous faces that you just "can't quite place".......well, maybe these posts will help. Some of these actors worked more, had longer and broader careers, and ended up happier, more loved, and even wealthier than the "stars" that the public "worships"......I think there may be a metaphor in that! What do you think??? And while you’re considering it, let me introduce one of the rarest performers in the history of Hollywood…. An orchid in a field of daisies! He's Ernest Thesiger (January 15, 1879 - January 14, 1961).

The grandson of the 1st Lord Chelmsford, Thesiger was born in London, England and was the first cousin once removed of the explorer and author Wilfred Thesiger (1910–2003), and the nephew of 2nd Lord Chelmsford, who, exactly a week after Ernest's birth, famously led his troops in battle against and suffered a defeat at the hands of a Zulu army at the Battle of Isandlwana.

Thesiger attended Marlborough College and the Slade School of Art with aspirations of becoming a painter, but quickly switched to drama, making his professional debut in a production of Colonel Smith in 1909. After the outbreak of World War I, in 1914 Thesiger volunteered as Rifleman No.2546 with the 2nd Battalion of the 9th London Regiment (Queen Victoria's Rifles). After training in England for 3 months he was sent to the Western Front in late 1914, and was wounded in the trenches on New Year’s Day in 1915. He was medically evacuated back to England. At a dinner party shortly after his return, someone asked him what it had been like in France, to which he is supposed to have responded "Oh, my dear, the noise! …and the people!"

In 1917, he married Janette Mary Fernie Ranken (1877-1970), sister of his close friend and fellow Slade graduate William Bruce Ellis Ranken. In her biography of Thesiger's friend, Ivy Compton-Burnett, Hilary Spurling suggests that Thesiger and Janette wed largely out of their mutual adoration of William, who shaved his head when he learned of the engagement. Another source states more explicitly that Thesiger made no secret of his homosexuality. Thesiger moved in several artistic, literary and theatrical circles. At various times, he frequented the studio of John Singer Sargent, befriended Mrs. Patrick Campbell, visited and corresponded with Percy Grainger and worked closely with George Bernard Shaw, who wrote the role of the Dauphin in SAINT JOAN for him. Somerset Maugham, on the other hand, responded to Thesiger's inquiry as to why he wrote no parts for him with the quip, "But I am always writing parts for you, Ernest. The trouble is that somebody called Gladys Cooper will insist on playing them." 

Thesiger's film debut was in 1916 in THE REAL THING AT LAST, a spoof presenting MACBETH as it might be done by an American company, in which he did a drag turn as one of the Witches. Thesiger also played the First Witch in a 1941 production of MACBETH directed by John Gielgud. He performed more small roles in films during the silent era, but worked mainly on the stage. In 1925, Thesiger appeared in Noël Coward's ON WITH THE DANCE, again in drag, and later played the Dauphin in Shaw's SAINT JOAN. He wrote an autobiography “Practically True”, published in 1927, which covers his stage career. An unpublished memoir written near the end of his life is housed in the Ernest Thesiger Collection at the University of Bristol Theatre Collection. When he appeared in a Christmas production of THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR in 1919, Thesiger met and befriended James Whale. After Whale had moved to Hollywood and found success with the films JOURNEY'S END (1930) and FRANKENSTEIN (1931), the director was commissioned to direct the screen adaptation of J. B. Priestley's Benighted as THE OLD DARK HOUSE (1932), starring Charles Laughton in his first American film, together with Boris Karloff and Raymond Massey. Whale immediately cast Thesiger in the film as Horace Femm (!) launching his Hollywood career. The following year Thesiger appeared (as a Scottish butler) with Karloff in a British film THE GHOUL.

When Whale agreed to direct BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN in 1935, he insisted on casting Thesiger as Dr. Septimus Pretorius, instead of the studio's choice of Claude Rains. Partly inspired by Mary Shelley's friend John Polidori and largely based on the Renaissance physician and botanist Paracelsus, it became Thesiger's most famous role, in which he gives a fey, flamboyant performance as Baron Frankenstein's mentor.

Arriving in the United States for the filming of BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN, Thesiger immediately set up a display in his hotel suite of all his needlework, each with a price tag, and during the making of the film he would work on needlework, one of his hobbies.

Originally cast to play the luddite sculptor Theotocopolous in H.G. Wells's THINGS TO COME (1936), Thesiger's performance was deemed unsuitable by the author, and so was replaced by Cedric Hardwicke, although he was retained on the parallel production of Wells's THE MAN WHO COULD WORK MIRACLES. Around this same time Thesiger published a book, “Adventures in Embroidery”, about needlework, which was his expert hobby. The remainder of Thesiger's career was centered on the theatrical stage, though he did appear in supporting roles in films produced in Britain, prominent among which is the 1945 CAESAR AND CLEOPATRA with Vivien Leigh and Claude Rains, and THE MAN IN THE WHITE SUIT (1951), starring Alec Guinness. He plays "Sir John," the most powerful, the richest, and the oldest of the industrialists (jointly with the trade unions) trying to suppress Guinness's invention of a fabric that never wears out and never gets dirty. In 1953, he appeared as the Roman Emperor Tiberius in THE ROBE, starring Richard Burton, Jean Simmons, and Victor Mature.

Thesiger made several appearances on Broadway, notably as Jacques to Katharine Hepburn's Rosalind in 1950 in the longest-running production of AS YOU LIKE IT ever produced on Broadway. Later films included THE HORSE'S MOUTH (1958) with Alec Guinness, SONS AND LOVERS (1960), and THE ROMAN SPRING OF MRS. STONE, with Vivien Leigh and Warren Beatty (1961). That same year he made his final stage appearance—a mere week before his death—in THE LAST JOKE, with John Gielgud and Ralph Richardson.

In 1960, Thesiger was awarded the Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE). His last film appearance was a small role in THE ROMAN SPRING OF MRS. STONE (1962). Shortly after completing it, Thesiger died in his sleep from natural causes on the eve of his 82nd birthday, and is buried in Brompton Cemetery, London.

In the fictionalized James Whale biopic GODS AND MONSTERS (1998), Thesiger was portrayed by Arthur Dignam. And the real Thesiger is seen in the film when Brendan Fraser, as Whale's gardener, sits at a bar watching televised repeats of the original 1935 BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN.

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A New Sybil's "WHO'Z DAT?"... JOHN HOYT (October 5, 1905 - September 15, 1991)

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                Darlings! Mummy has made a decision! After reading dozens of posts and having hundreds of conversations with well-meaning folks who just don't know about the great "character" actors who gave films the depth and genius that surrounded and supported the so-called "stars", I am going to periodically post a regular, special entry called "SYBIL'S WHO'Z DAT?"....there'll be photos and a mini-bio, and the next time you see one of those familiar, fabulous faces that you just "can't quite place", well maybe these posts will help. Some of these actors worked more, had longer and broader careers, and ended up happier, more loved, and even wealthier than the "stars" that the public "worships". (I think there may be a metaphor in that! What do you think???). Here's our next guest!!...and he’s perfect for the October season. What would Halloween be without science fiction, and what would great science fiction films be without John Hoyt (October 5, 1905- September 15, 1991).

               Born John McArthur Hoysradt, in Bronxville, New York, he was the son of a banker father who wanted John to follow him in the same profession. His mother, however, countered that wish by promoting the child’s talent for classical piano, and his two sisters worked tirelessly with him, nurturing his vocal techniques. He attended The Hotchkiss School, and later Yale University, where he served on the editorial board of the campus humor magazine “The Yale Record” because of his intelligent wit. He earned both a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree there and worked as a history instructor at the Groton School in Massachusetts. He appeared at several regional theatres in the 1920s, working as an acting teacher, and even a nightclub comedian as John Hoysradt. He made his Broadway debut in 1930 with the play OVERTURE. Being a very accomplished pianist, he became the “ghost” pianist, playing offstage for Katherine Cornell who was playing a concert pianist in Sidney Howard’s play ALIEN CORN (1932). When Cornell toured 3 plays in repertory the next year, John was invited to play roles in all three. The tour would be a long, arduous trek by train and, as it turned out, John’s roommate on the theatrical odyssey was another newcomer named Orson Welles. He also played in THE ZIEGFELD FOLLIES OF 1936 along with Bob Hope, Josephine Baker, and Fanny Brice. He eventually became an actor with Orson Welles’ Mercury Theatre appearing in Welles’ production of JULIUS CAESAR in 1937 in the role of Decius Brutus (a.k.a. Decimus Junius Brutus Albinus, a role he would play again in film in 1953.)

                  It was during this time that he married his first wife, Marian Burns, whom the New York Post described as a “former athletics teacher,” and became the father of his only biological child, a son named David. Other productions with Welles included HEARTBREAK HOUSE and ‘TIS PITY SHE’S A WHORE. Continuing his stand-up comedy career, after performances onstage, he would dash off to the Rainbow Room at Rockefeller Center to appear as “The Master Of Satire”. One of his specialties was impressions of famous entertainers, and his impersonation of Noël Coward was so remarkable that he was hired for the original cast of the Broadway comedy THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER (1939) in which he played Beverley Carlton. He remained with the Mercury Players until he was called up for military service in 1945. It was not until the age of 40 that he became “Hoyt,” moving the family to Hollywood. Paramount Studios performed the name change and quickly fastened onto Hoyt’s panache with dialects and languages (he spoke five). He made his film debut in O.S.S. (1946), a wartime drama with Alan Ladd about the Office of Strategic Services which was the predecessor to the C.I.A., followed by MY FAVORITE BRUNETTE (1947), a comic take-off on film noir starring Bob Hope, Dorothy Lamour, Peter Lorre, and Lon Chaney Jr.

                Among his impressive credits is THE BLACKBOARD JUNGLE (1955) with Glenn Ford and Sidney Poitier. Mr. Hoyt appeared in 75 films, including JULIUS CAESAR (1953) with Marlon Brando, James Mason, and John Gielgud, SPARTACUS (1960) with Kirk Douglas, Charles Laughton, and Lawrence Olivier, and CLEOPATRA (1963) with Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and Rex Harrison. Because of his classical training, he fit right into these “classical productions" often being mistaken for being British himself.

                Although Hoyt played Nazis, indignant fathers, and forbidding megalomaniacs, in his real life, he was tending to his sick wife Marian who, it was known, was suffering from medical problems aggravated by alcoholism. Marian did not survive and John soon after married Dorothy Haverman who had been a close family friend with one son. They were married for his last 25 years. Hoyt’s unusual presence and talent allowed him to participate in science fiction films like THE LOST CONTINENT (1951), WHEN WORLD’S COLLIDE (1951), ATTACK OF THE PUPPET PEOPLE (1958), X: THE MAN WITH THE X-RAY EYES (1963), and several episodes on tv of THE TWILIGHT ZONE, and on the original pilot of STAR TREK in 1964. He was versatile enough to have a huge career in Westerns both in film and on television, and despite his great ability in comedy, the majority of his work existed in gritty dramas, film noir, and mysteries. Over the 1950s and 60s he became a major character guest star on all sorts of television hit programs including THE RIFLEMAN, repeated appearances on PERRY MASON.

                  In 1982, at age 77, after moving to Santa Cruz, he signed a contract with NBC to play Grandpa Kanisky on NBC’s "Gimme A Break," a role he portrayed for seven years. And in 1985, stock footage of his performance as a man from the future dealing with mutants in THE TIME TRAVELERS (1964) is played in a movie theatre as the final comic sequence in DESPERATELY SEEKING SUSAN (1985) for Madonna and Roseanna Arquette; a wonderful film-within-a-film gimmick! Hoyt died of lung cancer at the age of eighty-five in 1991 in Santa Cruz, California. He was survived by his wife, Dorothy; a son, David, a stepson, Kurt L. Haveman, both of Santa Cruz, and 10 grandchildren. In 1996, Dorothy, in an interview with writer Paul Grondahl, revealed that John had been gay all his life, despite his two marriages. She gushed with love for him. “He was a presence,” she said in a letter. “Whenever he entered, people recognized a special quality of distinction, culture and an engaging manner. John had all the ability to ride easy on the surface of life. He didn’t have to labor over anything. A movie script was presented and memorized immediately. He did not have to strive.” Dorothy, matter of factly indicated they had an agreement and an open marriage and that he was quite open with his young lovers. Hoyt was cremated and his ashes were scattered in the Pacific by his family.

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