The Secret Hour - Monday, July 27, 2015

A few weeks ago, the American Treasure Tour blog devoted some space to discussing a number of the most famous but forgotten stars of the Silent Film era.  One of the actors we talked about was the beautiful Polish immigrant Pola Negri, who starred in dozens of European and American films between 1914 and 1938, around the time when she left Hollywood and moved to a ranch in Texas with a close friend named Margaret West.  She was with Paramount Studios in 1928, though, when she filmed The Secret Hour.  The film is lost today, but copies of its poster still survive.  In fact, one is on display in our Music Room.

The Secret Hour tells the story of Tony (Jean Herscholt), a physically unattractive (by his own perception) but successful Italian immigrant who makes a good living in the orange business in California.  He becomes smitten with a beautiful waitress, Amy, played by Pola Negri, but is too afraid to ask her out for fear of rejection.  Instead, he sends her a letter and includes a photograph of his good-looking assistant named Joe (Kenneth Thomson), a la Cyrano de Bergerac.  Things don't go well when Amy shows up at the orange grove and confronts Tony and Joe.  The movie was inspired by a 1924 play, They Knew What They Wanted.  Unfortunately, there are no existing copies of The Secret Hour surviving, so if you want to know how it ends, you'll have to check out the play.
QUESTION:  The last film Pola Negri starred in was a Disney film from the year 1964, along with Hayley Mills and Eli Wallach.  What was its name:
A)  The Moon-Spinners
B)  The Moon Glows
C)  The Sunny Siders
D)  The Moon Riders
ANSWER BELOW

GO CYRUS, GO CYRUS!  We Americans love to celebrate anniversaries, which is part of the reason we have this section of the blog here at the Treasure Tour.  Today's celebration is for an event from 1866 that changed how the world communicated.  A transatlantic cable was successfully laid between the small town of Heart's Content, Newfoundland and Valentia Island, Ireland (the closest points between Europe and North America), completed on this day. Prior to this, the only way to get news from England to America was by boat - a process that often took weeks.  Then, all of a sudden, communication was instantaneous.  All thanks to the financial backing of a New Yorker named Cyrus West Field.

THE MORNING AFTER.  Today, we celebrate the 66th birthday of the singer and Broadway actress Maureen McGovern.  If you are unfamiliar with her name, you most definitely know her music.  She sang the popular themes to two 1970s disaster films:  "The Morning After," from 1972's The Poseidon Adventure, and The Towering Inferno's classic single "We May Never Love Like This Again" two years later.  Although she won an Oscar for each of these songs, her career star did not rise after them, largely due to internal problems with her band and her manager, but she remains active in the music world today on Broadway, performing her music, and as a voice actor.  Happy birthday, Mo!

QUOTE:  The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn't said. - Peter Drucker

ANSWER:  A)  The Moon-Spinners