Cocoa and Caffeine Hollywood Travels

This is an ever-evolving story of a girl writer and her two greatest loves, the movies and travel. As she hikes the trenches of Hollywood, you're brought along for the ride.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Evolution Of Hollywood Press And Celebrity

Greta Garbo, Marilyn Monroe, Dietrich, and Dimaggio,
Marlon Brando, Jimmy Dean, on the cover of a magazine...
(from Vogue, lyrics by Madonna)

Most of these names would mean nothing without the advent of motion pictures-- for the motion picture brought with it the modern conceptualization of the movie star. Traditionally, movie historians have credited the public with initially creating the movie star system. Marilyn Monroe herself believed that the public chose its "stars", but it was the studios that "tried to make a system out of it."
However, if the public did indeed create the movie star, the major studios in their heyday perpetuated the system by selecting unknowns from the ranks of the ordinary and carefully grooming them into stars in an assembly-line fashion.

The fields of modern public relations and the cinema industry are both relatively young. Modern public relations first began in the mid-1800s while cinema was invented and developed in the late 1800s. The historic early years of both industries were times of tremendous expansion and growth.
Modern public relations, as discussed in Fraser Seitel's, The Practice Of Public Relations, began with press agentry and was first practiced by the infamous P.T. Barnum.  Barnum staged publicity merely for the sake of publicity for his traveling circus. Likewise, one of the first methods that the film and entertainment industry utilized to publicize its cinematic products (and its stars ), was this press agentry technique borrowed from public relations.
The Historical Background of Motion Pictures
Throughout the first half of the 20th century, the motion picture, later affectionately referred to as a "movie," became a primary source of entertainment. As highlighted in the book, American Cinema/American Culture, during the era of 1929 through 1949, an unbelievable 83 million Americans per week went to the movies. A broad array of fascinated fans brought forth the construction of immaculate movie palaces during the 1910s through 1920s. These palaces, according to John Belton, author of American Cinema/American Culture, were widely advertised as "an acre of seats in a garden of dreams", ranged from a modest 500 seats to the extravagant 6,200 seat Roxy Theatre.
By the mid 1920s, four major movie studios had emerged: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), Paramount Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox, and Warner Brothers. In 1934, MGM was, by far, the most sophisticated with its 117 acres consisting of some twenty-three sound stages, large exterior sets, a lake, a park, a mini jungle, and, of course, as the studio boasted, "more stars than there are in heaven", as noted by Ronald L. Davis, in his book, The Glamour Factory.
While hard to imagine now in the voyeuristic world of celebutantes we now live in, stars were not identified by name in the first movies. As people began to write fan mail to principal actors, however, studios were forced to reveal the star's identity to satisfy the public. It was only with this demand that someone known to audiences solely as the girl with the golden curls suddenly became widely identified as Mary Pickford [circa 1910] With this change, the movie star was born.
#earlyhollywood #hollywoodpress #hollywoodhistory
Copyright © 2014 by Kendra Liedle from Evolution of the Movie Star: Promotion And Publicity in Hollywood's Golden Era

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Welcome To This Century

Thursday, August 14, 2014

We Are Worth More Than The Sum Of Our Parts

The first time I heard "Joining You," by Alanis Morissette, I couldn't get through the whole song.  It cut me to the bone. I immediately thought of a friend of mine who committed suicide and it was too much for me to bear those raw emotions again.

I'd spent so much time burrowing those emotions deep into my soul and yet, there I was again, tears steaming down my face, completely unable to focus on the lyrics.  A testament to the power of music and emotion.

It took some time, but eventually I came back to "Joining You."  It remains to be an amazingly powerful song for me and it also serves as a reminder that we are all worth more than just the sum of our parts...

There's nothing selfish about suicide.  Most of us will never understand how (or why) anyone could kill themselves, but I believe that we can all agree that suicide is a desperate act, not a rational one.  Don't judge people who take their lives.  You have no way of knowing what it's like to be inside the prison of someone else's mind...

© 2014 by K. Liedle

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Laughs, The Joy, The Lessons: A brief tribute to Robin Williams

One of the first dolls I remember receiving as a kid was my "Mork" doll with the talking space backpack.

I may have gotten rid of Barbies over the years, but not Mork.  I've still got him.  As a kid, he kept me company and made me laugh.  He showed me that quirky can be cool, that it's okay to be different.

As I got older, I realized that it wasn't Mork who taught me those things... It was Robin Williams. 

He will be missed, but never forgotten.

#morkandmindy #robinwilliamstribute #comedylegend

Don't let suicide get the best of you or a loved one.  Suicide is a big topic to me.  I had a friend who took her own life.  I can't quite explain the extent of a loss like that. The shock you feel.  It's unlike any other type of death in that you blame yourself.  What could I have done differently?  Should I have called more, visited more?  

When you feel at your loneliest, at the depths of darkness... don't fall into the shadows by yourself.  Talk to someone. Seek help.  And if you see someone who is struggling, "Be a rainbow in someone
else's cloud," as Maya Angelou once said.

National Suicide Prevention Hotline

-K. Liedle
Copyright © 2014

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Still can't believe it's been 10 Years!  I still have 55 wine corks from the set and lots of memories...

Support Santa Barbara Wine Country !

#sidewaysmovie10years #castcrewsideways #santabarbarawinecountry #wine

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Throwback Thursday Rare Picks: My Grandma With John F. Kennedy

My grandmother with JFK, Date unknown

This is the only photo I have of my paternal grandmother. I never got to meet her... 

Here she is, standing in the foreground next to JFK. Why is she with JFK? I'm not really sure.  She almost looks like she could be his mother, as though she's just waiting for him to sign that one last autograph so they can both go home.

Old photos can tell us stories... When I look at this picture, I always wonder what the story of that day was.  And I also wonder what my grandmother would've been like.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

L.A. Road Rules: Navigating The Roads Of An Urban Jungle

This week, someone actually set up a poker table in the slow lane of an L.A. Freeway.  Since traffic had come to an hours-long standstill, might as well play some Texas Hold 'Em, right?
#Only in L.A.

This week, a dear friend of mine is coming out to visit.  She's never been to L.A. and is understandably nervous about "the driving situation. "

It reminds me of when I first moved here. Before GPS or even Google Maps, I spent my first few months driving around L.A. with a "Streetwise L.A." laminated map of the freeway system attached to my steering wheel and a trusty Thomas Guide in the backseat.  The car (a bright blue Chevy Cavalier) is long gone, but the original laminated map (and Thomas Guide) I still have.

Driving in L.A. is not an American Graffiti joy ride for anyone. The web of freeways is hard to configure, everything is horrendously spread out, and public transportation is generally not a convenient or realistic option.

I've learned a lot since during those first few years in L.A.  Based on experience, I've come up with a list of L.A. Road Rules that may prove helpful-- especially if you just moved here OR you're just visiting, like my friend.

L.A. Road Rules

1. Pedestrians have the right-of-way.
Those little blinking orange lights on the street (or subtle beeping noises you hear) along major streets mean something. I came close to hitting a pedestrian along Sunset Blvd. because I didn't know this (and I barely saw him in time.)

2. Out-of-state plates make you a sucker.
Once, while waiting to turn right, an impatient driver swerved around me and yelled: "Go Back to Nebraska!" I was waiting for a pedestrian to cross the street--guess that makes me the dumb ass, out-of-stater.

3. When changing lanes, flipping on your turn signal is no guarantee. Waiting patiently and being polite will get you nowhere. In L.A., alert other drivers, see that you're safe to move, and start to force yourself into the other lane inch by inch-by-inch until the car behind you has no other choice but to let you in.

4. Buckle up. It's the law. And if you see an LAPD cruiser at a stoplight on the one day you're not wearing your seatbelt, no quick move will save you-- that will be the day the officer will pull you over and give you the "shame on you/you should know better" speech and a sizable ticket.

5. Beware of Red Light Districts. I'm not talking about prostitution, I'm talking about cameras hovering above major intersections to capture red light runners. You don't want to be that person getting a sketchy photo in the mail of your vehicle "beating the red" and a bill.
 The red light cameras have become less of an issue now that people have fought against their legitimacy and accuracy, but I'd still approach with caution.  People still run red lights ALL THE TIME.  ( See #6 below)

6. When there's a Green Alert... Pause. It's not a green light, it's a green alert. Give yourself 10-15 seconds before proceeding and be watchful. There are always two (sometimes three) oncoming cars that will run the red light when they most certainly should've stopped. I once had someone race through a solid red and slam into me. It wasn't pretty.  My car was totaled one week after I'd made my last payment on it.  More importantly, I could've died.  If you don't want an accident to change the course of your day (or life), heed this warning--especially in L.A.

7. Don't rely on GPS. Sure, it's convenient--but don't get lazy. You should have a reasonable idea of where you're going before you step behind the wheel. Just because the computerized voice tells you to turn left at the next intersection doesn't mean you have to (or necessarily should.) If all else fails, shut off the GPS, pull over and throw open your old Thomas Bros. Guide. I know it's the digital age and all, but a hard copy of an old Thomas Bros. Guide will never fail you.

8. There is no good time for the 405 Freeway. Period. It sucks. Luckily I don't drive on it often--nor should you--unless you must. In that case, I pity you with every fiber of my being.

9. No one knows how to drive in the rain. It's a well known fact. Give us some snow like the rest of the nation and the whole city would shut down. For days.

10. Be careful out there. It's California. You will eventually have an accident, even if you've always had a perfect driving record prior to being here (as I did.) That accident will come on a day when you least expect it and it will come on the most inconvenient day imaginable. There are drivers who are: high, wasted, uninsured or unlicensed, texting while driving, on their phones, doing crossword puzzles or reading. Look around you and honest to God, you'll see it. People are crazy. You are sharing the road with them. Be prepared for that.

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©2014 by Kendra Liedle
Image credit: Smaddy/
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