Friday, May 7, 2021

DIANA SERRA CARY DIED LAST YEAR

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

The In Memoriam segment during the Academy Awards telecast always generates some controversy because of the names that aren't included. I was never bothered by it––until this year. 

No Diana Serra Cary? I realize most people don't recognize the name, but those who work in the film industry should know that last year we lost the last star of silent films (three actors from silent films survive).

I'm no silent film buff, but on a trip to the library many years ago I came across a book that looked interesting: What Ever Happened to Baby Peggy: The Autobiography of Hollywood's Pioneer Child Star by Diana Serra CaryThe book was fascinating, and it's the reason I know about the remarkable, strange career of Baby Peggy.

Peggy-Jean Montgomery started working in 1921 when she was two-and-a-half years old. Between 1921 and 1924 she starred in approximately 150 short films, and in 1923 she also started making feature films. She had a $1.5 million contract as Baby Peggy.

She worked eight hours a day, six days a week. She did her own stunts, some of which were dangerous. Baby Peggy was once held underwater until she passed out. She saw things no child should see and no adult wants to see. Her father, Jack Montgomery, took all the credit for her success, saying she did well because she obeyed his every order. Even on vacations, he put her on display for her adoring fans to see her follow his commands as if she were a well-trained dog.

She also made personal appearances to promote her movies. Baby Peggy dolls were produced, and she endorsed sheet music, jewelry, and milk. Her fan 
letters numbered more than a million. She was the official mascot of the 1924 Democratic Convention, where she was onstage with Franklin Roosevelt. 

Her father handled every aspect of her career, making all business decisions, until he had a dispute with a producer in 1925 that ended Baby Peggy's movie career. The family then turned to touring in vaudeville, where she made $300 a day. Her father gave her a nickel for each performance. She worked even when she was so sick she had to vomit in the wings. Exhausted, they stopped touring in 1929.

And she didn't have a penny. Her parents spent everything.

As a teenager she became an extra in films for $3 a day. She hated it. Many of the other extras were also silent film actors.





She married and changed her name to Diana Ayers in an attempt to separate herself from Baby Peggy and carve out a new career as an actress, but couldn't repeat the success she had once enjoyed. Then she divorced and remarried to become Diana Serra Cary––silent film historian, writer, and advocate for child actors. She died Feb. 24, 2020, age 101.

In addition to her autobiography, she wrote a biography of Jackie Coogan, another child star who ended his career with little of the millions he earned.

The majority of the Baby Peggy movies no longer exist. They burned in a fire or were lost through carelessness. The few that remain have been preserved. Occasionally, a new one is discovered.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Sunday, May 2, 2021

I CHANGED MY MIND ABOUT MEGHAN AND HARRY

 Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

As I mentioned after Meghan and Harry's interview with Oprah, I felt sympathy for them. They had a right to defend themselves! The British press picked on her! She didn't have any preparation to be a royal! 

I suppose I'm stirring a pot that no longer boils because it isn't even on the burner, but I have changed my mind about those two and now think that instead of being called The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, they should be known as The Duke and Duchess of Go-Suck-It, because that's pretty much what they told Harry's family.

Is that a design on her dress or did the birds decorate it
in the style of her shitting on her husband's family?

As the weeks have passed, various news stories have pointed out that Meghan played fast and loose with the truth. While I don't think she plotted to bring down Harry's family by marrying him and somehow forcing him to obey her, her "insider" stories about the royal family weren't necessary.


Meghan claimed her passport was taken away, yet she traveled outside of England.

She said she and Harry got married in their backyard three days before their public wedding, but The Archbishop of Canterbury said it ain't so.

Kate made her cry over bridesmaids' dresses; the journalist who reported that Kate cried stands by her story.

Meghan alleged her press office didn't stand up for her, but they made official complaints about coverage of Meghan twice.

Someone in the family pondered what color their baby's skin would be, but she wouldn't say who it was, and she and Harry recollected it occurring at different times.


I could go on about the points she made that aren't true, or can't be proven, but you probably already know or you get the idea. I thought their goal in giving the interview was to gain publicity for their Netflix deal (cuz after all they need to make some money), but if that was the idea, then they didn't need to make accusations. They could have shown Oprah their chickens and talked about their new lives and everything might have been cool with the fam.

Instead, they're a couple of spoiled brats. After all, Harry inherited a pretty penny from his mum. Meghan also had money from her acting career. 


Why alienate people?


They can always make a few bucks with some dolls.

I certainly don't think their financial situation will come to this:


Those crazy kids should be just fine. After all, Meghan said Harry is adjusting to life in America!


And they can use their influence with Netflix to keep The Crown going for years so Meghan can play herself!


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug



Thursday, April 29, 2021

I'M ALL VACCINATED, BABY!

 Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Mitchell is excited at Moving With Mitchell because he and San Geraldo have appointments for their first dose of the vaccine, so it occurred to me that I should mention 

AS OF APRIL 23, I'M ALL VACCINATED, BABY!!!!!

The vaccine

didn't give me COVID

 didn't alter my DNA

wasn't made out of fetal cells

didn't contain a microchip

didn't cause grotesque side effects 

didn't cause anyone in my presence to become ill, sterilized, or grow 3 heads.

I still wear my mask when I go to the grocery store. If I need a booster shot in the future, I'll get it.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug 




Saturday, April 24, 2021

MOVIE WEEKEND: PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN

 Nomadland = beautiful                                   

Hillbilly Elegy = sad                                        

The United States vs. Billie Holiday dull      

Mank = trying

The Trial Of The Chicago 7 = exciting

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom = lush

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I'm pleased to say my word for Promising Young Woman is brilliant (2020; Rated R; I watched it on a DVD I received from Netflix during a free trial).

Promising Young Woman has five Academy Award nominations: Best Picture; Best Director (Emerald Fennell); Best Actress (Carey Mulligan); Best Original Screenplay (Emerald Fennell); Best Editing (Frédéric Thoraval).

This battle cry for women is a dark comedy-thriller that features Cassie (Mulligan), who dropped out of medical school because of a disturbing, distressing event. Now she works in a coffee shop with Gail (Laverne Cox, absolutely love her). One day a fellow student from medical school, Ryan (Bo Burnham, also excellent) stops by, recognizes Cassie, and manages to gain her attention.

This movie took me by surprise. I'd heard good things about it and really wanted to see it. It more than met any expectations I had. Look for some images in the film that suggest Cassie as saint or angel. I would have been pleased if it had also gotten a nomination for Best Cinematography and/or Best Production Design. Cassie in her parents' home often looks as if she's about to step into a pink, surreal world.

Carey Mulligan is so, so good. I've enjoyed her work for quite some time, and she reaches her potential in Promising Young Woman. Her flat, American accent and expressionless face stand in such sharp contrast to any change in speaking and expression that she reveals. 

These Academy Awards (airing Sunday night) are a big event for women. Only one woman has ever won Best Director (Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker). Now we have TWO women nominated for Best Director: Chloé Zhao for Nomadland and Emerald Fennell for Promising Young Woman. The two also have writing and producing nominations. 

I would like very much to see this film or Nomadland win Best Picture, with the other winning Best Director. As for Best Actress, a win for Viola Davis, Frances McDormand, or Carey Mulligan will please me. 

I won't be able to write about the other nominated films I've seen before the awards are announced, but we'll have time to enjoy plenty of movies later on. I've seen some excellent movies, some that are good, and a few I don't like. I enjoy it when you provide your opinion of the movies in the comments. If you've seen Promising Young Woman, please don't share spoilers. The shock value is important with this film.

See ya at the Oscars!


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Friday, April 23, 2021

MOVIE WEEKEND: MANK

Nomadland = beautiful

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom = lush

The United States vs. Billie Holiday dull

The Trial Of The Chicago 7 = exciting

Hillbilly Elegy = sad

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

My word for Mank is trying (2020; Rated R; I watched it on Netflix).

I eagerly anticipated the arrival of this movie. I expected it would be great. Then I found watching it was a trying experience. 

Mank has 10 Academy Award nominations (obviously some people liked it a whole lot more than I did): Best Picture; Best Actor (Gary Oldman); Best Director (David Fincher); Best Supporting Actress (Amanda Seyfried); and you can see the rest on IMDB or just Google it.

 Herman J. Mankiewicz (Oldman), a real person who was a successful screenwriter, has to finish a script for a little movie you might recall: Citizen Kane. His alcoholism tends to get in the way of his work. He also likes to apply his acerbic commentary to the folks in Hollywood. Oh, and he pals around some with Marion Davies (Seyfried, who's quite good). 

This movie doesn't work for me. If you watched it and loved it, then I'm happy for you. Please explain to me why I should watch it again and realize it's magnificent.

I suspect some bits of business (a liquor bottle falls from Mankiewicz's hand instead of a snow globe); the cinematography; the movie being in black-and-white; and of course, the make-up, hair styles, and costumes,  are meant to reflect Citizen Kane. But trying to be artsy doesn't make a movie a work of art. 


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug 

THE ACADEMY AWARDS ARE ALMOST HERE: HILLBILLY ELEGY

 Nomadland = beautiful

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom = lush

The United States vs. Billie Holiday dull

The Trial Of The Chicago 7 = exciting

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Yes, Academy Awards are presented on Sunday, so I have to quickly wrap up my posts about nominated movies I've seen.

You can see an earlier post I wrote about Hillbilly Elegy HERE (R; 2020; I watched it on Netflix). My word for this movie is sad because the characters have such difficult lives.

When Hillbilly Elegy came out, many expected Glenn Close and Amy Adams would be acting nominees. Glenn Close is indeed nominated for Best Supporting Actress.  Hillbilly Elegy is also nominated for Makeup and Hairstyling (Eryn Krueger Mekash, Matthew W. Mungle, Patricia Dehaney). I certainly understand the second nomination. It must have taken a lot of work to make Glenn Close and Amy Adams look unattractive.

This is not a movie I want to watch multiple times, or even a second time, because it's so sad.

It's Close's fourth nomination for Best Supporting Actress, and she's been nominated four times for Best Actress. We'll hear a lot of speculation about whether this is her time to take home a little, gold man. And we'll find out on Sunday.

I've looked at ways to live stream the awards (I canceled DirecTV because I got sick of paying for it), so if you watch on Sunday, I'll probably be watching with you.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

THE DOG WHISPERER WHO MAKES GREAT JEWELRY

 Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I've mentioned Franklin and Penelope's beloved Auntie Maureen who lives across the street (I giver her all the credit for Penelope's increasing confidence), but I haven't told you that she makes absolutely fabulous jewelry! 

Check out these starfish:

Maureen's prices are reasonable, especially considering the excellent quality of her work.  Earrings are $8 per pair, $15 for two pairs, $20 for three. You can see what she has available at Made with love earrings and more - Home | Facebook

When the holidays roll around, I wear nothing but Christmas earrings. I love to mix them up and wear four different earrings:


These necklaces are fun:

When I wear any of these earrings, I get so many compliments on them:


Go ahead, kids. Treat yourselves, or get a gift for a friend. Here's the link again:

Made with love earrings and more - Home | Facebook


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug