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Cinecon 45 in Pictures

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Cinecon 45 was dedicated to the memories of our members and volunteers: Samuel K. Rubin, Jerry Rager, Critt Davis and Richard Crane.


Cinecon 45 took place over Labor day weekend from Thursday September 3 to Monday September 7 2009. We showed some wonderful films, talked to some great guests and generally had a lot of fun. Here's a recap of the event with pictures.

Thursday Day 1


After a busy morning of setting up their displays most of the dealers at the Renaissance hotel were ready for the 1:00 open of the memorabilia show. This gave film fans a chance to shop for movie memorabilia before registration tables opened at 5:00.

With several large rooms full of film collectibles like DVDs, books, vintage posters, lobby cards, and stacks of classic stills it's always easy to find something of interest.

As usual the line for pre-registration packets started queuing up early.


Cinephiles waiting in the registration line image

At 5:00 on the dot the volunteer staff began distributing the pre-registration packets and the line moved quickly.

Any one who didn't register ahead for the show had to wait around until 6:00 when walk-up registration would begin.

Another shot of Cinephiles waiting in line image


The pre-registration envelopes contained the film schedule, a registration badge and the 24-page program which was full of great information about each film. They also contained a flyer about special programs at the hotel on Friday and Saturday and last, but most certainly not least, imageif you were wise enough to take advantage Cinecon 43 program  image of the full pre-registration discount, you also received your celebrity banquet ticket. As Cinecon regulars know these banquet tickets usually sell out early.

As soon as our members received their programs they began planning their weekend viewing .


As 7:00 approached a lot of people started heading down Hollywood Blvd. to the historic Egyptian where the weekend's screenings were slated to take place in the 600 seat Lloyd E. Rigler theatre.

We opened the weekend with an episode from the TV series The Twentieth Century. entitled MOVIES LEARN TO TALK. It was an interesting view of that era in film history and also served at a tribute to its host, Walter Cronkite.

As in past years the first feature on Thursday evening is also our first celebrity event of the weekend.

We screened a beautiful newly restored Technicolor print of FLAME OF CALCUTTA (Columbia, 1953) which previously had only been available in a black and white print. The film showcased our guest Denise Darcel at her glamorous best. The picture also starred Patric Knowles, Paul Cavanagh and George Keymas.



Cinecon officer Stan Taffel had the honor of interviewing her. They talked about her early career as a cabaret singer and how she got started in films.

Denise was attending college and working as a dime store cashier when she entered a beauty contest and was crowned "The Most Beautiful Girl in France." She capitalized on this by developing her own nightclub act and touring the Riviera. She came to America as the wife of an American Army captain and soon found her way into films and television.

The sensuous Ms. Darcel admitted that she liked kissing her leading men and proceeded to discuss some of them. She said that she liked kissing Robert Taylor because he "was gorgeous." Then she told us about an incident while working with Burt Lancaster on Vera Cruz. He was kissing her in a scene but wouldn't stop when the director yelled cut.



Then it was the audience's turn to ask the questions.

They asked her about working with Gary Cooper who she said was wonderful and that she learned a lot from him.

When asked about working in Tarzan and the Slave Girl she said it was fun but she was afraid of the monkey. She said that Lex Barker was afraid of it too.

The vivacious and candid Ms. Darcel answered several more questions before they ran out of time.

After the interview Stan took the opportunity to pose for a picture with Denise.



And then Denise's family joins her and Stan, sons Chris and Craig Atkinson with granddaughter Alexia Atkinson.

Then everyone moved out to the theater lobby where fans eagerly lined up hoping to get an autograph.



Denise signs lots of pictures and Cinecon programs as her granddaughter looks on.

Several fans even ask if they can get their picture taken with her and she happily agrees.



There were scores of people getting autographs and pictures and after nearly an hour obliging them the energetic actress is still ready for more.

Next up which was a brand new print of a previously lost film, TRIAL MARRIAGE (1929). Erle C. Kenton directed this Columbia Pictures melodrama about rich, spoiled people playing around with other people's lives. The film starred Norman Kerry, Sally Eilers (performing a hot Black Bottom in one scene), Thelma Todd, and Jason Robards, Sr.

We rounded out the evening with the musical comedy PLAYBOY OF PARIS (1932), starring Maurice Chevalier (in his fourth American film) and former Cinecon honoree Francis Dee with able support from O. P. Heggie, Stuart Erwin and Eugene Pallette. Chevalier plays a waiter who inherits a hefty pile of dough—allowing him to wait tables by day and be waited on in the hot nightspots of Gay Paree.

Cinecon 45 in Pictures

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Friday Day 2

The Friday morning session started off at 9:00 AM with the lively musical short Love Detectives (1934) starring Betty Grable

The first feature of the morning was THE MIRACLE MAN (Paramount, 1932) a remake of the Lon Chaney silent. This pre-code version stars Chester Morris, Sylvia Sidney, Robert Coogan, John Wray, Ned Sparks and Hobart Bosworth. Many Cinecon attendees considered this one of the best films of the weekend. A group of con artists arrive in a small town hoping to exploit the people there and bilk them out of their money but they wind up being changed by the experience.

The silent film HE FELL IN LOVE WITH HIS WIFE (Pallas Pictures/Paramount, 1916) is one of the few surviving works of the talented director William Desmond Taylor. The rustic melodrama is played largely for humor, starring Forest Stanley as a widower farmer who proposes a marriage of convenience with a society outcast played by Florence Rockwell.

Meanwhile over at the Renaissance hotel we had our first special program of the weekend. In honor of the publication of her first book My Life Dancing with the Stars dancer and choreographer Miriam Nelson was on hand with dance historian Rusty Frank to talk about her career on Broadway and in films. She showed slides and clips and took audience questions.







After her program Miriam moved out to the Book Fair area to sign copies of her book and answer more questions. Rusty Frank joined her and also had copies of her own book TAP! The Greatest Tap Dance Stars and Their Stories 1900-1955 available.

You can visit Miriam's website, to read more about her career or to find more about the history of dance.

Serious collectors of movie memorabilia had been shopping in the dealers' rooms all morning but with a lunch break in the film schedule the rooms got even busier

Besides a great selection of collectibles shoppers also had the chance to buy some personally autographed books.

Collectors at a dealer's table looking at memorabilia image


Throughout the weekend authors of film related books turned out for our Cinecon Book Fair to autograph and sell copies of their books. The Book Fair was set up in the entry area to the dealers' rooms at the Renaissance Hotel.

Actor Robert Dix was on hand to sign copies of his autobiography Out of Hollywood. Robert is the son of famed silent and talkie star Richard Dix so people in the movie business were always part of his life. Robert began his own acting career when MGM signed him to a long-term contract when he was eighteen. He appeared in many films including the MGM classic Forbidden Planet.

To find out more about Robert's career or to buy a copy of his book visit his website

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Elvis, Sherlock and Me--How I survived growing up in Hollywood was written by Michael A. Hoey. Michael is the son of British character actor Dennis Hoey (best known as Inspector Lestrad in the Sherlock Holms films of the 30s and 40s) and came to Hollywood with his family when he was six. He grew up in and around the movie business and became a successful film editor, screenwriter and finally director. His book chronicles that that journey. Besides selling copies of his book he also had pictures from his and his dad's careers for sale. To find out more visit Michael's website

imageimagePaul Picerni is a successful actor who has appeared in nearly two hundred films and TV shows in a career which has spanned seven decades. He has chronicled his life in the autobiography Steps to Stardom My Story. Paul's been a long time friend of Cincon and has attended many banquets over the years. He's always very friendly and enjoys talking with fans.

In addition to bringing plenty of copies of his book he also brought a nice selection of stills from his career including several different ones from his co-starring role on THE UNTOUCHABLES TV series.

You can order photos or a copy of Paul's book at his website


Scott O'Brien has been a long time fan of classic films. He started writing articles about film for various publications in the 1990s and this eventually led him to write his first star biography published by BearManor Media in 2006 Kay Francis-I Can't Wait to be Forgotten. The success of that book encourged him to continue imagewriting biographies of interesting actresses. His imagesecond book, also published by BearManor Media was Virginia Bruce-Under My Skin. Then he followed with his most recent biography Ann Harding: Cinema's Gallant Lady. Scott brought plenty of copies of all three of his books to Cinecon.

If you would like to read more about the books or purchase one of them online click on the appropriate book title above to visit its website.

imageimageTought Kid The Life and Times of Frankie Darro is the first full length biography written about the actor. Darro was a talented actor whose career in films spanned six decades yet there was very little information available about his life until this book. The book was written by John Gloske who was a personal friend of Darro's during the last four years of his life. The book includes scores of rare photos and the most complete filmography ever published. John also brought a display about Darro featuring lobby cards from some of his best films. To find out more about Frankie Darro or to buy a copy of the book visit John's website


Even Cinecon president Bob Birchard (aka Robert S. Birchard, noted author and silent film authority) took a turn at the Book Fair to sign copies of his latest book Early Universal Studio. The book is a pictorial history of the studio and is part of the Arcadia Publishing Images of America series.

As a supplement to his new book Bob also did a special program on Saturday afternoon - Masters of Mystery: Francis Ford and Grace Cunard in which he explored the lives and careers of these early Universal stars.

To find our more about this new book or the other books that Bob's written visit his website at


If you missed your favorite author you could always check out the large selection of books at the Hollywood Heritage table. They carried a variety of titles, many autographed by the authors, and the money from the sale of those books goes back to the not-for-profit group Hollywood Heritage, an organization dedicated to the preservation of historic Hollywood.


The afternoon session started with the short Cavalcade of Broadway (Columbia, 1951). This was one of a series of shorts in which New York columnists take us out to popular nightspots. In this case we visited The China Doll where assorted Chinese acts perform.

Up next was the breezy screwball comedy EASY LIVING (1937) starring Jean Arthur and Ray Milland along with Edward Arnold, Franklin Pangborn and William Demarest. Mitchell Leisen directs a script by Preston Sturges. Arthur is a working girl who gets a sable coat dropped on her head. She tries to return it, which leads to several hilarious misunderstandings and complications before everything gets straightened out.

SPUDS (1927) this newly restored World War 1 romp starred acrobatic clown Larry Semon in one of his few feature length films.

Leading into the dinner hour we showed the excellent but dour HATTER'S CASTLE (1942). Robert Newton, famed for his later portrayal of Long John Silver, gives one of his best and most restrained performances as the intimidating patriarch in this British classic based on the novel by A.J. Cronin. Deborah Kerr and James Mason also star in this seldom-seen gem directed by Lance Comfort.

After dinner the evening session began with the Charley Chase Columbia comedy short SOUTH OF THE BOUDOIR (1940).

Every year we look forward to our annual Universal B Musical comedy. This year we got the Andrews sisters and the Jivin Jacks and Jills (featuring Peggy Ryan and former Cinecon honoree Donald O'Connor) in GIVE OUT, SISTERS (1944). Also in the cast were Dan Dailey, Grace McDonald, Charles Butterworth, Walter Catlett and William Frawley.

Then we showed PAID TO LOVE (Fox, 1927). Howard Hawks directed this frothy film about an American banker who helps an introverted Balkan prince find a wife in a low-life café. George O’Brien stars with Virginia Valli, J. Farrell MacDonald and William Powell.

For our final film of the evening Ralph Morgan and Dorothy Appleby star in the 1933 Fox melodrama TRICK FOR TRICK a Cinecon repeat of a rarely seen classic. Victor Jory, Sally Blane, Tom Dugan and Edward Van Sloon also star in this much-requested tale of dueling magicians with a life in the balance.


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