Three Legends of Old Hollywood and Disney Films

With the growing existence of the worlds of Marvel, Frozen, and Star Wars in Disney films and parks all around the earth, it can be straightforward to overlook that the globe of Disney commenced in a Hollywood of old. Hollywood of the 1920’s to the 1960’s was a buzzing, glamorous place, and had a sure sophistication which is prolonged gone. Even so, the films stay with us and lots of of the superstars of the time contributed to the earth of Disney. Three folks in specific communicate to distinctive eras, styles, and genres, but have been able to lend some of their skills at various stages in their professions. Those who adore the environment of Disney frequently share a like for Old  Hollywood. Some imaginings of this era are present in Disney parks, this kind of as in Walt Disney World’s Hollywood Studios, and the Carthay Circle Restaurant in Disney’s California Adventure. This fusion of the entire world of Disney and Previous Hollywood are due in portion to these, and many other men and women, dipping their toes in Disney movie.

Bing Crosby

Of the many voices of jazz and mid-century music, Bing Crosby is in all probability a person of the most enduring. Born in 1903, Bing Crosby emerged as a performer as technological innovation, these as the microphone, sound film, and tv, created. He started a singing profession early in a team termed The Rhythm Boys. Making a solo debut in 1931, Bing Crosby was almost instantly a hit. Bing Crosby found enormous accomplishment on radio, undertaking on the stage, in Hollywood flicks, and on television, from the early 1930’s to late 1970’s.

Crosby was equipped to employ the microphone to make it possible for a more personal style of singing, generally like mixing in singing that a person would typically belt out to the back row, with a softer design and style. However, he was equipped to be really versatile, attaining good results throughout media as they emerged.

The singer had plenty of hits, together with Pennies from Heaven, and Now is the Hour.  He also had a prolific existence on tv, with his personal exhibit, The Bing Crosby Show, airing for 28 episodes, and such as friends these kinds of as Jack Benny, Joan Fontaine, and Frankie Avalon.

Beginning in the 1930’s, Bing Crosby was also a common monitor existence, starring in a collection of comedies (The Street to… sequence) with Bob Hope. Especially in the mid to late 1940’s, Crosby was a person of the greatest stars on the monitor and all over his job, he either starred, narrated, or normally appeared in 104 films. In all probability the most enduring nowadays are The Bells of St. Mary’s (1945) co-starring Ingrid Bergman and Significant Modern society (1956) co-starring Grace Kelly and Frank Sinatra.

It is pretty much extremely hard to articulate the magnitude of Bing Crosby’s superstar from the 1930’s to 1960’s and beyond. He has 3 stars on the Hollywood Stroll of Fame, for Recording, Radio, and Motion Photographs and was nominated for 3 Academy Awards, successful a single in 1945. He was nominated for two Golden World awards. Awards and accolades are also lengthy to divulge here.

Even if you have never ever read of Bing Crosby, or his style of singing or movies of that time are not to your taste, in all probability you would have heard what is almost certainly his most enduring legacy. These are Christmas tunes these types of as White Xmas, Have Your self A Merry Minimal Xmas, and It is Commencing to Glimpse A Great deal Like Christmas.


The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad was introduced in 1949, and two shorts long lasting somewhere around 30 minutes just about every notify stories based on The Wind and Willows by Kenneth Grahame and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving. Crosby narrates the next 50 percent, pertaining to the haunting story of Sleepy Hollow.

Crosby’s full talents are on screen, furnishing a great melody. Listening to Crosby sing this morbid tale, a single can inform that he is genuinely making the most of this narration. Exclusively, the tracks, Ichabod Crane, Katrina, and Headless Horseman, were sung by Crosby. These supply a bouncy and warm-hearted addition to an normally Gothic masterpiece.

This was the past of a package of shorts which saved the Walt Disney Studios from serious financial woes brought on by Earth War II, which could have resulted in outright closure. The results of the deal delivered the essential cash for the launch of Cinderella in 1950, which revived the studio. The package deal of films was mainly subject to positive reviews, and Crosby’s narration was praised. The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad in a lot of approaches assisted conserve the studio, and proved that Disney could make a total restoration from Entire world War II.


Maureen O’Hara

Maureen O’Hara was the queen of Technicolor, and a prolific actress of dozens of action-adventure and western attributes, among others. O’Hara was born in Eire in 1920, at first performing as a stage actress and for small studios in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Many of her early successes arrived as a result of display screen-exam viewed by the actor Charles Laughton, with whom she co-starred the 1939 The Hunchback of Notre Dame participating in Esmerelda. She was capable to changeover to RKO, 1 of the great studios of Outdated Hollywood, initially generating $700 a 7 days, really worth about $12,500 a 7 days today.


While, of study course, not every single film was a hit, this commenced a pair of decades of accomplishment producing Maureen O’Hara one particular of the most recognizable and relatively wholesome faces of Hollywood in the 1940’s and 1950’s. Her most enduring movies now would almost certainly be How Green Was My Valley  (1941), The Black Swan (1942), Miracle on 34th Road (1947), and Rio Grande (1950).

Maureen O’Hara had a extensive assortment of abilities as an actress, mainly starring in action-experience movies, and later westerns with John Wayne. She typically felt her that she was viewed as a excellent splendor, which overshadowed her talents as an actress. Looking back again on her filmography now, one can see the variety of her roles, from a refined noblewoman to heat mothers. She was a challenging female in a time and sector in which studio moguls and administrators dominated with an iron fist. While actors and actresses did have some electric power, they were being principally pawns in a much larger game. However, Maureen O’Hara was capable to go to-to-toe with the roughest of them, these as director John Ford, and Walt Disney.

As O’Hara started to fade from superstar, she turned actively concerned in her 3rd husband’s airline in the Virgin Islands. Maureen O’Hara passed away in 2015 at the age of 95, a person of the final stars of Aged Hollywood surviving at the time.


The Mother or father Entice (1961) stars Haley Mills, Brian Keith, and co-stars Joanna Barnes, among some others. In this film, created by Walt Disney and George Golitzen, Haley Mills (participating in both twins) plays Susan and Sharon. Unbeknownst to them, they were being twins separated when their parents divorced, who serendipitously meet at summertime camp.

By some clever maneuvering and intensive schooling, Susan and Sharon glimpse to change the parent with whom they dwell and reunite the pair. A lot of hijinks and emotions abound as the twins satisfy moms and dads they have hardly ever met though searching to stave off a gold-digging fiancé of the twin’s father.

maureen3Supply: Minnesota Community Radio

Maureen O’Hara portrays the twins mother, Maggie, a refined Bostonian. O’Hara portrays a cultured society female, when also sticking true to her display persona, with stunning pink hair, a fiery temper, and an capacity to be seductive and relatives-pleasant in tandem.

The motion picture was filmed in numerous destinations in California and was an huge good results on its release. The success of the movie was in no small portion due to the composition of several music by the Sherman Brothers. While these days, the plot is a small dated and predictable, it is all round wonderful leisure and features some funny physical comedy, as effectively as the occasional spectacular landscape.

Maureen O’Hara beloved children and was delighted with the prospect of working with Walt Disney, however the partnership in between O’Hara and Walt Disney was rocky from the begin. Disney, as several must be stunned to listen to, normally paid rather meager salaries, and offered O’Hara $25,000 for the image from her normal $75,000 charge. The actress refused to budge and received what she wanted. However, O’Hara always insisted on major billing, and though promised to her, Disney put Ms. Mills’ title prior to hers. Top billing meant that your title would arrive first in the credits, be outstanding on movie posters, and normally be the biggest name on a movie theatre marquee. While O’Hara did think about legal action, this was dropped. The wranglings when building this movie and the consequences are talked over in the biography, Maureen O’Hara: The Biography, which I very recommend.

Whilst Maureen O’Hara was her common assertive self, she cherished creating the film and her one particular enterprise with Disney was an overwhelming good results. However, she dared to do what a very little group of individuals experienced done and chose to go up from Walt Disney. Disney refused to get the job done with her once again. While it would have been absolute delight to see her in additional Disney movies, which includes Mary Poppins, we at minimum have this a single.

Pola Negri

If a single wishes to further more fully grasp the flagrant, unfettered glamour of Outdated Hollywood, they require not seem additional than the monitor goddesses of the silent many years. Pola Negri, as she arrived to be regarded, was born in the late 1890’s in fashionable-day Poland. Originally an actress for the powerhouse of European cinema, UFA she grew to become a single of the very first of a really long line of imports to Hollywood from Europe speedily turning into a substantial star competing with those these kinds of as Gloria Swanson. Signing with Paramount in 1922, she typically starred as a mysterious character. Pola was a person of the greatest celebs in the United States throughout the peak of her fame from 1922-1928, and experienced higher-profile romances, like types with stars like Rudolph Valentino. While she was devoid of a question a great star of silent film, her lively personalized existence often overshadowed her film get the job done. Unlike several films of the silent decades, a lot of of her movies do endure, like Madame DuBarry (1919), 1924’s Forbidden Paradise, and the 1927 Lodge Imperial.


Following ending a quick retirement in 1928, Pola Negri in the long run returned to Europe to make films, largely in Germany. Fleeing Europe on the Nazi profession of Paris, Pola returned to the United States, showing in the 1943 movie Hello Diddle Diddle, quickly retiring from demonstrate company in 1945. She was offered roles, such as the role of Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard, but stated no to them, right up until the 1964 film, The Moon-Spinners.

pola2Pola Negri with Warner Baxter, 1928

However, this actress is mainly not identified today, unless of course one particular has a eager interest in the 1920’s or the gossip and scandals of Aged Hollywood. Pola was a person of the to start with actresses to location a handprint outside of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, and has a star on the Hollywood Stroll of Fame for her contributions to motion shots. Pola Negri passed absent in 1987 in San Antonio, Texas.


The Moon-Spinners (1964) tells the story of jewel burglars on the Greek island of Crete, and their entanglements with the protagonist Nikky Ferris and her aunt. The movie was created by Walt Disney, and stars Hayley Mills and Eli Wallach. Through the class of the film, Nikky, played by Hayley Mills, comes to understand that the intruders intend to sell jewels to a mysterious Madame Habib, performed by Pola Negri.

Quite a few of the scenes in The Moon-Spinners were being beautifully filmed on location in Crete. The film was reasonably nicely gained by critics. It is a fantastic film probably a little long, but includes lovely surroundings, a vertigo-inducing scene involving a windmill, and numerous interesting segments.

The Moon-Spinners was Pola Negri’s 1st movie in 20 several years, and also her previous. During her retirement, the actress had been residing with a close mate, Margaret West, mostly in San Antonio, Texas. The author of the e-book on which the film is based was mates with those people in Pola Negri’s circle, and a part in the film was found for her. While hardly a recluse, especially active in San Antonio civic circles, quite a few merely considered she was useless, which include Walt Disney.

As was the legitimate fashion of a display screen goddess, her casting brought on a feeling in the media in no way stifled by Pola, who appeared for the formal press conference with a cheetah on a leash, on the lookout rather youthful and radiant. It appeared like it was most likely the starting of a revived career for Pola. However, her part in the movie was modest, not appearing at all right until the conclusion of the film. For an actress who would only dress in chinchilla, by no means rabbit or faux furs on monitor, her costume and basic look come off as affordable and lethargic.


 Source: DisneyWiki 

So when the final final result for Pola is perhaps disappointing, The Moon-Spinners certainly matches the category of stable loved ones entertainment consistent with Disney of the 1960’s. Perhaps the part was only a distraction from the passing of Ms. West in 1963, or meant to be a genuine comeback? Or perhaps Pola just needed a little little bit of enjoyable? Either way, it aided reintroduce her to the world.

The planet of Disney contains a large arsenal with the addition of the Muppets, Star Wars, and Pixar. Developments across the parks, media, cruise line, and much more present no sign of slowing down. But there is an important heritage which need to be shielded. There are thousands of persons who either committed their lives, or gave a portion of their skills, to enrich this globe. This consists of the three higher than. They had been aspect of a world of course, excellent, and splendor. The sparkle which is apparent in all Disney productions of excellent, at first emerged in the Los Angeles of 1923, to which Walt Disney arrived. Previous Hollywood was a additional stunning, better planet than the one we have currently, and the magic of that period established the bar for the films and parks hundreds of thousands continue to enjoy.