Category Archives: Jean Harlow

A softly, sighing lament

No, not a real blog, just something I wanted to post for obvious reasons, and cant do justice on the day, as I will be working.

Today marks the 80th anniversary of the date in 1937 when Jean Harlow last lived on this planet, and obviously I want to remember it.

Despite all the stories, and there are plenty, she died of kidney failure, and back then in 1937, there wasnt a thing that could be done. 10 years later, early dialysis, and transplants might have saved her, but that at that point, was not possible.

Oh, the other story that needs quashing, her mother did arrange medical staff to look after her, there was just nothing they could do.

Rest in peace, Baby, as you’ve done for 80 years now

xxx

In memory of those who died too young

Trying to work around other potential events, which now look like they’re not going to happen, I took the chance yesterday to visit Glendale, and most significantly Forest Lawn, where someone I have a bit of a link to is buried. Strictly, yes, I mean Jean Harlow, at rest there for now fast coming up on 80 years, but call it a feeling, or otherwise, whenever I visit, I just have this instinct that Clara Johnson may be at rest somewhere in those large grounds as well. As I say, no evidence, impossible given I dont know her married name, but just something calls me when I’m there, and though that might be Jean, I do just wonder. But anyway…

As for all the best laid plans…The 2 previous visits, I’d found a pleasant little fast food restaurant near to where I get off the bus, and therefore I planned to go there for lunch, before going on to pay my respects. Only snag is, sometime in the last 18 months or so, it closed! Anyway, I knew I’d seen a few shops on the road leading to Forest Lawn, in the opposite direction at the junction, so hoped I’d find something there. Yes, I did. Its not glamorous or anything, but I found one of these roadside buildings with a few tables, and took my chance. To be honest, under $9 around LA, for a burger, fries, and a drink is hard to find. To find it cooked to order at that price, even more so! If anyone around that area wants to know the name of it, shout, and I’ll work it out on Google Maps, if I can.

After that, I walked down to Forest Lawn, to see a stunning layout of US Flags in the grounds, for Memorial Day on Monday. I gather something is happening there then (think it was 1.00, but check?) to respect the occasion. Fine, not for the first time, I entered the actual grounds, hoping for 2 things to happen. Firstly, some signal from ‘above’ that would lead me to Clara’s resting place. The second, that the gate in the mausoleum where Jean is at rest would be open, as it was the first time I visited, but not the second.

No, neither happened! I didnt really expect the first, somehow, and no, the gate was very firmly shut across the passageway where Harlow rests. In truth, I think the first time was sheer fluke, whether that was divine intervention, or just Jean ‘fixing it’, I have no idea? But yes, shut is the norm, according to everything I’ve read online about the place.

So fine, I said a few words, from as close as I could get, and said my farewell, as I’m pretty sure this is my last visit here for a number of years, if ever again. And whether at that point my body will be capable of climbing the hill up to the mausoleum, I doubt it somehow! Also, at the top of the hill, before dropping down to the exit, I did the same to Clara, not knowing where she was in that huge area, or strictly, if she really is there, but job done.

Then finally, as I passed back those flags, all set up for Memorial Day, I paid my respects to all those brave military folk, who had died in our, and other generation’s service.

Today, really not much to tell, so lets throw it in briefly now. Really just a stroll up the Boulevard, to do some souvenir shopping, for me, and others at home. One gift I couldnt find, so tripped off to Universal Studios to get in the shop out there, which I knew would have it. If she reads this, she’ll know whose gift that was! Tomorrow, I get to walk along Hollywood Boulevard again, this time on a guided walk, run by a friend I know from Twitter, and have met before. Should be fun, especially as she knows the whole Harlow thing with me! I think I have the place planned for my last big meal in town, unless someone wants to treat me to Musso and Frank’s lol?

After that? No idea, in truth. I’ll sort of say goodbye to an old friend on the walk in the morning, so where I go after that, will think on it at the time. I will get out at some point Saturday morning, but wont get far, thats for sure. I have a feeling I might do a little walk along Beachwood, just for old time, and admire the famous sign, one last time, without annoying the locals!

Right, video time. Not that Jean could sing (well proven), and though Clara was a decent dancer, she was no star. Besides which, this group is from LA, and the song fits in from yesterday. So all in all…

Not a firm of solicitors?

Though I must admit Harlow, Johnson and Brooks could very easily sound like one!

In truth, there are very few places left in Hollywood that you could trace back to their days in town, but yesterday I managed to visit two of them, though one is no longer used for the purpose that they knew it for. Oh, and I passed a couple of others too, the Chinese theater, and Musso and Frank’s being the famous ones.

I always planned to visit the Hollywood Museum on this trip, seeing they’ve got a special Jean Harlow display this summer, and yes, its really good, if you get the chance, which I suspect a lot of my readers wont! Back then of course, this was the Max Factor building, the man behind the movie make up of many famous actresses, and judging by the pictures there, a few chorus line dancers too! Its a well known fact that Harlow would have gone there, and ‘supposedly’ thats where the platinum blonde look was created. That I’ll question, but anyway…? Kept going, quite possibly. Created, hmm?

In truth, I always assumed that Factor only did the make up for the stars, but yesterday I saw a few pictures of chorus line dancers, waiting their turn to be made up by him, and thoughts turned to Clara. Was she one of them, who knows? Did she at some point have her make up done by Factor, seemingly almost certainly. One thing is for sure, they wouldnt recognize the building today. Not just because of the change of nature of the building, it lost its front seemingly when Highland Avenue was widened.

There is one seriously wonderful helmet type thing, that was seemingly used to measure imperfections in faces, which I would love to have used on me, but it would find plenty of imperfections lol.

Oh, one fun moment, signing the visitors book in my name, especially given who the main display was about, though I doubt they even look!

The evening was spent in the company of the last of our trio, Louise Brooks, at the Egyptian Theater, which is 5 years short of its centenary! I wonder if you’d told Grauman that, back in 1922, whether he would have believed you that it would happen? Looks very different in places now, to then of course, but so much remains, though mainly restored, but all the same…

I found out shortly before coming here, that there were 2 of her films on last night there, neither of which I’d seen before, beyond glimpses of one. Beggars Of Life is probably one of the better known Paramount ones that survives, with ironically Louise playing a girl pretending to be a boy. Some of the shots were amazing, especially when you think there was no CGI back then!

The other was the second film she made in Germany, Diary Of A Lost Girl. I’d seen brief scenes from this, but that was it. Personally, for all the fuss made about Pandoras Box, I found this the far superior movie. The cast seems stronger, in deeper roles, and benefits from that. In modern eyes, its amazing how much censorship was used on this film originally in US (Yes, I saw a restored version), as some of it is daring, but not extreme. But its not hard to imagine that in 1929, things were seen very differently to that. Oh, and the ending is delightful.

So yes, yesterday was a look back to Old Hollywood for me, this afternoon I’m off to see some new, at a female playwright festival. Just watching, nothing more, unless…? No, I doubt it somehow! More on that in next blog, I suspect.

The video. Well, I couldnt think of anything more apt on a California Sunday Morning. Cant believe there will be many who know this already.

Love’s great adventure?

Oh fine, I have to say that these weeks when I have to do 2 blogs in 2 days, I dont always have enough material to fill the space. I did sort of have something work related (again), but I’m sure you’re all tired of that by now, so lets try something different, and a bit more personal.

For those who didnt already know me, and the date, you might have missed the fact that 106 years ago on Friday, a baby girl was born in Kansas City. Her name, Harlean Harlow Carpenter, but far better known as Jean Harlow. Coincidentally, 33 years ago today, the last beau of her life, William Powell died, at the grand old age of 91! What would have happened had she lived beyond 26, who knows? Mind, 3 years later, Powell married Diana Lewis, and they stayed married until his death! Whether Harlow, and Powell would have done the same, we will never know?

The fascinating fact is that, at the time of Harlow’s birth, Powell was actually living in Kansas City, though being 18 years her senior, they never actually met until Hollywood! Yes, Jean seemingly had a thing for older men, as all bar her first husband were far older than her, but I cant talk, as my only long term relationship was with someone a lot older than me!

While we are talking about birthdays, and ages, in 11 days time, I’ll be 59. Still, now, I’ve got more than a few years of work to go, I believe it will be 8 more by the time I get to retire. But not that long ago, as a woman, I would have been 1 year from retirement! Now, by the time I get there, it will be 66, assuming I get that far, of course! Then, finally, I might get to Alaska, and the start of the Iditarod race…maybe? Mind, I might need a new body by then, but… I would need to split the flight there, both ways, due to length, and my physical health, and there is no way I can do that on a 7 day holiday from work!

Sadly, again this year, it cant race from Willow (Anchorage) to Nome, due to lack of snow in the early stretches, so it will start out tomorrow morning (Alaska time) from Fairbanks, and run the adapted northern route. Sadly, this means that the ghost town that the race is named after, wont be visited for at least 6 years, as the same thing happened in 2015. Amusing to think that a trapper, the last ever resident of Iditarod left, because the race came through every 2 years, and the place got too lively! To think, just over 100 years ago, at the height of the gold rush, over 10 thousand people lived there, all too briefly!

Oh, if anyone wants the details of my fiction piece, loosely based around the 2009 race (which did get to Iditarod), let me know! It also mentions the event that started it all, the 1925 serum run to Nome.

So fine, we have a tale of love, we have a tale of adventure, so the obvious video is…

I forgot my name?

The irony is, the main people I would like to see this, cant! In truth, Facebook might have done me a favor with their dastardly deed, though dont quote me on that. Well, I’d been thinking of separating from it, but instead, they walked out on me. Well, on one of my accounts at least.

I have, for sometime, had 2 accounts on Facebook, one for friends, and work contacts and the like, and another for the publishing side of things, the dormant acting stuff, and generally anything LA, or movie related. Yes, there is stuff on the latter that its probably better some friends didnt know, but anyway, no more!

Sometime last year, someone objected to the latter account, because of my name, and because I used a picture of the original Harlean Carpenter, instead of me, as the profile pic. Fine, the cover pictures were me, but anyway… At the time, I sent Passport evidence to Facebook to prove it was my name, and that was it, account reinstated, and a promise that the issue wouldnt arise again.

So yes, when I arrived home Wednesday night, to find out the account had been disabled again, despite all this, I was not amused. So fine, I went through the same ID protocol as before, only this time I’ve come across a ‘Mr Jobsworth’ who because my passport picture doesnt match the avatar one, he wont reinstate the account. So thats it, short of major cosmetic surgery, what can I do? The fact that I used Jean’s birth date as well might play a part, which is 13 days different to mine (Yes, I used the correct year), but in all truth, my name really is Harlean Carpenter, as proved by ID, but they wont let me in. The irony, as a friend from there pointed out, is that there are about 20 other Harlean Carpenter profiles over there, and numerous Jean Harlow ones too, and they arent even using their legal name!

Fine, I will admit it, I was getting tired of Facebook, and therefore cutting it right back, or totally over isnt going to be that hard. I was tempted at one point to shut the other account completely, but now I’ve toned that down to leaving it open for contact purposes, via their message system, and to publicize my blogs.

I know, its not Facebook as such, they are just acting on the whims of some pedantic vintage movie folk, who dont like someone posting under the name, even if its my real one. Lets face it, there is no chance its the real Jean Harlow posting, lets face it! Oh, agreed, if I ever find out who did it, I’d look for my chance of vengeance, but for now, I’ll settle for not wasting too much time on Facebook any more. So if anyone wants me, on my Facebook account, message me. If anyone wants me to see something specific there, message, or tag me! Because otherwise, I probably wont see it!

OK, video time. A song for whoever, because seemingly now, Facebook wont let you have an account in your own name. I only hope ‘Mr Jobsworth’ is happy in his life!…rolls eyes…

My dreams get weirder all the time

Fine, I wanted to throw up something totally out of left field, just to keep you folks on your toes, as I’ve been pretty transparent of late. And yes, this gets weird.

The night before last, seemingly just before waking up time, I found myself in a very strange dream. I seemed to be totally unable to move, seemingly in a sleep sack, pod, or something of that kind. I heard someone say something about just needing to block off her hearing, and she was ready for preparation. So anyway, I felt something put into my ears, a blindfold, or hood put over my eyes, and felt the cocoon type thing I was in, being sealed up around me.

I only wish I knew what I was being prepared for, but I will never know. About a minute or so later, I heard a disturbance, woke up, and it was gone, just like that. Mind, as it was gone 8.00 in the morning, I just hauled myself out of bed, got on with the day, wondering what might have happened, if I’d kept sleeping…

This morning was even weirder. I was actually laying peacefully in a bed, seemingly asleep, though I could hear voices around me, clearly concerned. Then I heard some rather dramatic words, “I’m sorry, but she’s just about to die.”, so instinctively I attempted to open my eyes, and see where I was, and who was speaking. I woke up, there was no one to be seen anywhere, and the only voice I could hear, was a cat meowing loudly for her breakfast!

But fine, for those who need to know my history, on this day, 79 years ago, Jean Harlow died of kidney failure, in an LA hospital. Was I hearing those doctors, was I temporarily in her body, who knows? All I know is, the last 2 nights, my dreams have been very strange. So heaven knows what will happen tonight!

PS, if this ends up being my last ever blog, just know that I died 79 years ago, of kidney failure! No, I’m sure I will be back here, probably Friday (have an interview on Thursday, so will probably pass on posting then), but if…wow!

OK, video time. Well, I had to post something dream related, I guess? This artist has been around for over 50 years, and I remember playing his singles, on 45’s, as a kid. This is a slightly more recent performance

Fade to blonde!

Yes, glad to say that after tomorrow lunchtime, I’ll be a lot blonder again! Under normal circumstances, my hair was due to be coloured about a month ago, but due to the money situation, I tried to put the whole matter off, for a while. But fine, my roots are now far too dark, so I’ve bitten the bullet on cost, and its getting done tomorrow morning, at 11.00 . So yes, my hair will be more of a Harlow lookalike again, after that, both in colour, and in style, for a while.

Irony, my hair, even at my advanced age, is still quite dark. Shame really, because if it was going grey, it would be harder to tell the difference between that, and the blonde colouring. I know, I know, but until they come up with a colouring solution that means that you dont have to top up your blondeness, at regular intervals, well…

OK, now to a funny fact, that maybe you didnt want to know? When I started to see what I could do, to make myself more Harlow like, I came across some interesting facts. Like the fact that she always slept in the nude. No, I have too many health issues, some related to my mixed set of genitalia to do things like that, so pass!

Secondly, the girl never wore a bra! Which is fine, if you have small, perky breasts, but if you have larger, less than natural ones, then no, I cant go without a bra! The other thing she passed on, was knickers. As she put it, she liked to let her bits breathe, which as someone who had worn pants all her life, sounded pretty strange to me. Anyway, one day at home, I decided to give it a go, and see what it was like. And fine, despite the extra bit that I shouldnt have (which is only an issue in clingy outfits), I actually found it very pleasant, as I discovered that my bits quite enjoyed being able to breathe! No, I’ve only ever done it indoors, I always wear briefs of some kind when I go out. Partly because of comfort, but also very critically because Yorkshire is a lot colder than LA!

Yes, fine, I wouldnt mind finding out what it was like to live in her Beverly Hills mansion, but I suspect that will only ever be a dream!

OK, the video, what I wish my hair would start to do!

No popcorn at the movies

Right, a little bit of a mixed bundle tonight, catching up on various things, from the last few days.

Firstly, thankfully the issue with the picture has thankfully been sorted, yes, nothing more than a language issue, which a wonderful lady helped me to sort. So now, I suppose I’d better let you see the picture?

Birthday wishes

A real delight, to light up my birthday, don’t you think?

OK, the reason for no popcorn at the movies, nothing to do with them selling out of the stuff. No, in fact, what has virtually sold out for tonight, is seat tickets! Yes, pretty much, or indeed already is, a full house! So no, given that its quite a trek to Elland, especially on a Saturday night, I’m not going. A shame, as it would have been fun, but in reality, might be a lot easier on my old body by not going. Anyway, not a total loss. I went on You Tube, hoping to find the main one I was going for, the one with Jean Harlow in, ‘Bacon Grabbers’, and lo and behold, found it! Fine, watching it on a laptop is not the same as seeing it on a big screen, but its a good consolation. She only actually appears in the last couple of minutes, but its a good, classic, Laurel and Hardy slapstick comedy.

Fine, I’ll slip the videos in here, as this is what they refer to. Yes, videos, 2 of them, take your pick, or try both. The first is the obvious song, though I had never imagined that Kraftwerk would ever have turned their hands to something as silly as this. Sadly, no pictures, but couldnt find any group performances of this by anyone, so… OK, I found Crazy Frog, but you really dont want that!

The other, is a totally different song, from a totally different era, but probably more apt for me. No, I know nothing about the Fontane Sisters, beyond whats on Wikipedia, so dont ask! Active between 1941, and 1961, but no idea when in that period this was recorded. Most likely from ’48 onwards, but dont quote me on that!

Right, lastly, yesterday was signing on day at the Job Centre. In the middle of discussing my job applications, I was asked if I fancied actually working at the Job Centre. To be honest, even if I wasnt desperate, I would have said yes, as its the sort of ‘something different’ that I’d love to do. So anyway, to cut a long story short, I’ve applied, taken some tests, and now just have to wait and see what happens, I guess? Oh, and any prospective employers out there, I’m open to any full time job offer, thats legal! French maid might not be my dream job, but if the pay is decent, then yes, at the moment, I would! Kidding, I, err, think? Oh fine, I might be lousy at it, but it would be fun! Uniform would be, at least!

I think thats everything, for now at least, so…

Can I have my money back?

No, not literally, even if there is one twisting so and so out there that owes me, but anyway…No, that line gives away the video, and also is a potential clue to something I might go and see on Saturday night. Might, comes down more to travel issues, especially coming back, as the cost of getting to the movie, getting into the movie, and something to eat/drink (maybe?), could probably be done for about £15, or so. I know, but getting out, and having a good laugh, might help to keep me sane! Thats not to say that if someone wants to take me to Elland, or treat me, that I wouldnt say no!

What I’ve discovered, is that there is a delightful little cinema over Elland, called the Rex, very old fashioned look, but fitted with all the modern things you’d want in a cinema. But yes, you’ve probably guessed it, its not a modern movie that I’m thinking of going over there to see, oh no! What they’re showing on Saturday night, is 4 Laurel and Hardy movies. One full length one, 3 shorts, making up just over 2 hours of hilarious entertainment. So yes, I’m tempted to say “what the hell!” and go.

OK, what tempts me even more is that in one of the shorts, is some blonde, bit part actress, playing the wife of one of Stan, and Ollie’s comic victims. Yes, thats right, some unknown (well, she was at the time) named Jean Harlow! The movie, ‘Bacon Grabbers’, which is 20’s slang for a repo man, which is where the blog title, and the video come from. Thats right, I’ve never seen this one, so in that sense, its the one I’m going for, even if its not the main movie, and she’s probably in it for 3 minutes maximum! Still be fun to see the other 3, all the same.

Getting back “should” be fine, though obviously there are less buses around at that time of night, after the movies are finished. Metro convinces me that it can be done, and it is my birthday this week, so…I may well give it a go. And yes, getting out, and having a good laugh, might just do me the world of good, I guess? Oh, and fine, its another Harlow movie I can tick off my list lol! So?

The video, the late great, Gerry Rafferty, with what was pretty much his first solo performance as an artist. It wont keep you long, much as a 20 minute, silent movie would do!

A guest blogger, one night only…hopefully!

OK, fine, before I let someone else take over for 1 night, a few quick words. I didnt believe in time travel, until this amazing blonde woman turned up in my room, with a red headed friend. If I didnt know better, I’d say it was Myrna Loy, and Jean Harlow, but… Oh, fine, it is, seemingly. And a birthday girl seemingly wants to say Hi!

Ow! Ouch! Leave me alone, you can have the computer now, OK? Right, as mentioned, you have a special guest writer tonight, so I’d better let her get on with it!

……………………

“Right, fine. How do I use this weird looking type writer then? Oh, right, like that, and when I’ve finished, you’ll do the clever stuff? OK! Fine, fine, I’ll do the mind meld later, as promised!” 😀 “Yes, and if Boris Karloff can get that weird machine of his to work, look just like me too!”

Hi there, modern day gentlemen, and ladies, my name’s Harlean, but you know me better by another name, Jean. Ring a bell around here, or six, maybe? 😉 Yes, I’m here today to mention that its my birthday today, March 3. Not looking bad for 105, if I say so myself. Alright, fine, if you’re being fussy, I know, I died 79 years ago, but where’s the excitement in that?

Yeah, time travel. I know Myrna (Loy) and Clara (Bow) said not to mention it, but hey I’ve got to explain how I’m able to use this computer thingy, anyway. Besides which, the amount of times Clara, and Brooksie, have had their pictures taken, using their cell phones, sheesh! Bill (Powell) has told me not to say anything nasty about Louis B (Mayer), and being I’m a good girl, fine by me.

Alright, if anyone had told me back in the 1930’s, that I’d still be amazingly popular 80 years on, I’d have laughed at them, I wasnt that great an actress, surely? But yeah, fine, its nice to know, all the same, thanks so much. 🙂

Right, lastly, before I let that boring, modern day person take her blog back over, lets kill off a few silly rumors.

1. My Mother did not stop Doctors, or Nurses seeing me in my dying days, she just didnt trust the ones that Mr Mayer wanted to use, and I dont blame her for that. Oh, and if they had worked out what was wrong with me earlier, no change, nothing could be done for kidney failure back then. 10 years or so later, yes, maybe, but back then, no chance.
2. My kidney issues did not relate to the bleaching/coloring of my hair, being beaten by anyone (nope, not done), or any of the other silly stuff suggested. I got scarlet fever as a teenager, and that caused issues with my kidneys, though no one knew it. Might have been fine, if I hadnt smoked heavily, had a drink, or six, but given I did…they gave up the fight!
3. The real me, was the one you see in the later movies, not the wild sex tiger, of the pre code days. Yes, fine, it was fun (at times) playing those sort of roles, but important word, play. Yes, fine, I wasnt ashamed of my body, and I might not have been a virginal angel between relationships, but at other times…
4. Yeah, those 60’s biog movies they made of me. Sheesh, pure fiction! Yeah, Bill got hold of a copy, and we spent the night wondering who they were based on, sure wasnt me. Laugh, you bet we did! There’s a good, but hard to get one, written not so long ago, by a guy called David Stenn, thats accurate at least! Maybe you can find it online, if nothing else?

Oh right, I’m told I have to put up a video. You’re not going to like this, its me, singing. Yeah, fine, wasnt my strong point, not that I was a great dancer either, but anyway… So you might want to be brave, or you might want to pass on this.

Yeah, sorry, normal, boring service will be resumed on this blog now, I’m afraid. Who knows, 1 year from now, I might bully her off here again! 😀

Bye! Jean xxx