June 30, 2017

45 RPMs 14: I'll Cry Tomorrow ~ Susan Hayward @ 100

was born 100 years ago today, 
June 30, 1917


45 RPM vinyl record cover detail      
detail photo of album by Styrous®

I'll Cry Tomorrow (1955) is a biopic which tells the story of Lillian Roth, an American singer, actress and Broadway star who rebels against her domineering mother and after the death of her fiancé she becomes an alcoholic. It stars Susan Hayward, Richard Conte, Eddie Albert, Margo, and Jo Van Fleet. The film, is based on Roth's autobiography, I'll Cry Tomorrow, written with author-collaborator Gerold Frank in 1954. It was one of many films Hayward made that came to be known as "Sob Sister" movies.   

45 RPM vinyl record front cover 
photo of album by Styrous®

It was during the making of trial recordings for I'll Cry Tomorrow with Johnny Green, General Musical Director of M-G-M Studios, that Hayward's singing voice first came to light. Rich, throaty and mellow, it throbs with all the "heart" one would expect and, amazingly, controlling this deep, warm quality is a vocal technique as polished as if she had been recording for years.  

Some of the songs made popular by Lillian Roth in the 1930's were: Sing, You Sinners, When the Red, Red Robin (Comes Bob, Bob, Bobbin' Along), and I'm Sitting on Top of the World (YouTube links below).     

45 RPM vinyl record back cover 
photo of album by Styrous®

The screenplay was adapted by Helen Deutsch and Jay Richard Kennedy from the 1954 autobiography by Lillian Roth, Mike Connolly and Gerold Frank. It was directed by Daniel Mann. The film won the Academy Award for Costume Design for Helen Rose, and was entered into the 1956 Cannes Film Festival.

I'll Cry Tomorrow poster

Susan Hayward was born Edythe Marrenner in Brooklyn, New York, the youngest of three children, to Ellen (née Pearson) and Walter Marrenner. Her paternal grandmother was an actress, Kate Harrigan, from County Cork, Ireland. Her mother was of Swedish descent.     

45 RPM vinyl record back cover 
photo of album by Styrous®

After working as a fashion model, Hayward traveled to Hollywood in 1937. She secured a film contract and played several small supporting roles over the next few years. Her career continued successfully through the 1950s and she received Academy Award nominations for My Foolish Heart (1949), With a Song in My Heart (1952), and I'll Cry Tomorrow (1955).

Susan Hayward 1940's 
Publicity photo 

Hayward was diagnosed with brain cancer in 1973. On March 14, 1975, she suffered a seizure in her Beverly Hills home and died at the age of 57. A funeral service was held on March 16 at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Roman Catholic Church in Carrollton, Georgia, Hayward's body was buried in the church's cemetery.   

Hayward may have developed cancer from radioactive fallout from atmospheric atomic bomb tests while making The Conqueror with John Wayne in St. George, Utah. Several production members, as well as Wayne himself, Agnes Moorehead, Pedro Armendáriz, and its director Dick Powell, later succumbed to cancer and cancer-related illnesses. The cast and crew totaled 220 people. By the end of 1980, as ascertained by People, 91 of them had developed some form of cancer and 46 had died of the disease.

photo by Styrous®

Susan Hayward has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6251 Hollywood Boulevard. The Walk of Fame is administered by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and maintained by the self-financing Hollywood Historic Trust.     

According to MGM records the film made $5,873,000 in the US and Canada and $1,854,000 elsewhere, resulting in a profit of $2,933,000.        

45 RPM vinyl record label, side 1
photo by Styrous®

In 1958, Lillian Roth published a second book, Beyond My Worth, which was not as successful as its predecessor, but told the compelling story of what it was like to be placed on a pedestal that she could not always live up to. Roth had managed to re-invent herself as a major concert and nightclub performer. She appeared at venues in Las Vegas, the Copacabana in New York City and was a popular attraction in Australia.         

On April 5, 1958, Roth was interviewed by Mike Wallace, She talked of her battle with alcoholism, religion, psychoanalysis, Alcoholics Anonymous, and her book, Beyond My Worth. (link below).  

detail photo by Styrous®

Roth died from a stroke in 1980, at the age of 69. The inscription on her marker in Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Westchester County, New York, reads: "As bad as it was it was good."     


Side 1:

A1 - Happiness Is A Thing Called Joe, written by Arlen-Harburg
A2 - The Vagabond King Waltz / I'm Sittin' On Top Of The World, written by Friml-Hooker, Henderson-Lewis-Young

Side 2:
B1 - Sing You Sinners, written by Coslow*, Harling*
B2 - When The Red Red Robin Comes Bob Bob Bobbin Along, written by Woods*

    Music by - Alex North 
    Conductor – Charles Henderson
    choral director (uncredited) - Jeff Alexander      
    orchestrator: Alex North (uncredited) - Maurice De Packh
    conductor (uncredited) - Johnny Green    
    cello (uncredited) - Alex Alexander
    viola (uncredited) - Virginia Majewski  
    guitar (uncredited) - Jack Marshall
    piano (uncredited) - Max Rabinowitz
    piano (uncredited) - Milton Raskin  
    trumpet (uncredited) - Uan Rasey 
    trombone (uncredited) - Si Zentner    


The songs, taken from the sound track of "I'll Cry Tomorrow," were arranged by Charles Henderson who also conducted the accompanying M-G-M Studio Orchestra.

Susan Hayward ‎– I'll Cry Tomorrow
Label: MGM Records ‎– X1180
Format: Vinyl, 7", 45 RPM, EP
Country: US
Released: 1955
Genre: Stage & Screen
Style: Soundtrack

Net links:        
I'll Cry Tomorrow Plot
I'll Cry Tomorrow Cast           
Susan Hayward Filmography   
Lillian Roth Filmography        
Lillian Roth Broadway shows     
Lillian Roth ~ Mike Wallace interview (1958)        
YouTube links:        
Susan Hayward ~  
      When the Red, Red Robin (Comes Bob, Bob, Bobbin' Along)    
      Sing You Sinners
    What Happened to Susan Hayward?     
Lillian Roth ~ Sing You Sinners       
Mitzi Green & Lillian Roth ~ Sing You Sinners      
Lillian Roth ~ Happiness Is a Thing Called Joe               

"When you're dead, you're dead. 
Being remembered isn't the most important thing . . . 
It's what you do when you are here that's important" 
                          ~ Susan Hayward

"As bad as it was it was good."
                     ~  Lillian Roth 
Styrous® ~ Friday, June 30, 2017 


Bernard Herrmann articles/mentions

The Day the Earth Stood Still       

Edward Hopper ~ House by the Railroad 
The War of the Worlds      
Bernard Herrmann
date & photographer unknown


June 29, 2017

20,000 Vinyl LPs 94: Bernard Herrmann ~ Psycho

Psycho vinyl LP record
front cover detail
detail photo by Styrous®

Today, June 29th, is the birthday of Bernard Herrmann, an American composer best known for his work in composing scores for motion pictures. And he is one of the greats! The list of films he has scored contains one exceptional film after the other (link below). To me, his score for Psycho is tied with that of The Day the Earth Stood Still. As a Sci-Fi nerd, I tend more to Day but I can't decide which one is the greatest. I decided to leave Day for another blog.     

There can be no argument that Psycho is one of the great psychological horror films of all time. Directed by Alfred Hitchcock, the tension and suspense generated by camera work, lighting and innuendo are brilliant. The score by Bernard Herrmann utilized only a string orchestra, unusual at the time; it completed the final project and insured it got there. Herrmann & Hitchcock teamed on other films to achieve terrific results but for me, this film is at the top!    

Psycho vinyl LP record
front cover detail
detail photo by Styrous®

Psycho vinyl LP record
front cover
cover design ~ Philip Warr
photo by Styrous®

The shower scene has to be one of the most shrewdly filmed sequences in movie history. The screeching violins are like finger nails on a black board that make the hair on the back of your neck and arms stand on end. Hitchcock originally intended to have no music for the sequence but Herrmann insisted he try his composition. Afterward, Hitchcock agreed it vastly intensified the scene, and nearly doubled Herrmann's salary.       

Any one who has ever seen the film and this scene in particular will never forget it. And the remarkable thing about it is, it's all innuendo; nothing graphic is depicted. The quick cuts and music say it all (link below). I think if Hitchcock had shown the real thing (well, it is a film) it would not have had as much impact.     

Psycho vinyl LP record
back cover 
photo by Styrous®

But that is not the only scene that is adroitly scored. Marion's (Janet Leigh) drive from the city to the final destination, the Bates Motel, is a sterling model of tension building. As her car plows through the pummeling rain at night, the events leading up to the drive are played through her mind and backed up by staccato strings overlaid by swirling ones. It is a study in churning waves of confusion! Brilliant! (link below)   

Psycho vinyl LP record
back cover detail
detail photo by Styrous®

The opening of the film (I know I'm going in reverse) doesn't give you a chance to prepare for what you are about to see. The orchestra immediately bursts into the theater auditorium with a determined, jagged-paced orchestra overlaid by sweeping strings and wipes of credit graphics accentuating them (link below). 

Psycho movie poster

The trailer for the film is actually hilarious; Hitchcock plays it for laughs and makes it look like it might be a comedy. The music by Herrmann is dorky and silly which reinforces the effect. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is six and a half minutes long and worth taking the time to watch every minute of it (link below). 

 Theatre poster providing notification 
of "no late admission" policy

The poster reads:  
The manager of this theatre has been instructed at the risk of his life, not to admit to the theatre any persons after the picture starts.

Any spurious attempts to enter by side doors, fire escapes or ventilating shafts will be met by force.
The entire objective of this extraordinary policy, of course, is to help you enjoy PSYCHO more.

Until I started researching for this blog, I didn't realize that the film is based on real-life events. It was based on the book of the same name, written by Robert Bloch, which, in turn, was loosely based on the true story of serial killer Ed Gein. Gein was known as The Butcher of Plainfield, an American murderer and body snatcher. His crimes, committed around his hometown of Plainfield, Wisconsin, gathered widespread notoriety after authorities discovered that Gein had exhumed corpses from local graveyards and fashioned trophies and keepsakes from their bones and skin. His story also inspired The Texas Chain Saw Massacre in 1974 and The Silence of the Lamb in 1991.     

 Ed Gein, circa 1958
police crime photo

The Bates Motel is based on a painting, House by the Railroad (1925), by Edward Hopper. House depicts an isolated Victorian wood mansion, partly obscured by the raised embankment of a railroad. Lloyd Goodrich praised the work as "one of the most poignant and desolating pieces of realism."  There is other art work that inspired the film with more info on Alfred Hitchcock Geeks (link below).
Edward Hopper  ~ House by the Railroad  1925

Anthony Perkins was uncanny and properly creepy as Norman Bates, the owner of the Bates Motel. It was the best role of his life. The success of Psycho jump-started his career, but he suffered from typecasting. However, when Perkins was asked whether he would have still taken the role knowing that he would be typecast afterwards, he replied with a definite "yes".     

Perkins made his film debut in The Actress (1953). He received the Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year – Actor and an Academy Award nomination for his second film, Friendly Persuasion (1956). Perkins portrayed the Boston Red Sox baseball player Jimmy Piersall in the 1957 biopic Fear Strikes Out. Perkins reprised the role of Norman Bates in three sequels to Psycho.    

He performed in the Frank Loesser musical Greenwillow (1960), for which he was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical,       

Perkins released three pop music albums in 1957 and 1958 on Epic and RCA Victor as "Tony Perkins". His single Moon-Light Swim was a hit in the United States, peaking at number 24 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1957. He showcased his musical talents in The Matchmaker (1958) with Shirley Booth and Shirley MacLaine.        

 shower scene
movie still

Janet Leigh was perfectly cast as Marion Crane, the heroine (briefly) of Psycho, as was John Gavin, her amazingly handsome boyfriend, Sam Loomis.   

Until her death, Leigh continued to receive strange and sometimes threatening calls, letters, and even tapes detailing what they would like to do to Marion Crane. One letter was so "grotesque" that she passed it along to the FBI, two of whose agents visited Leigh and told her the culprits had been located and that she should notify the FBI if she received any more letters of that type.     

Psycho vinyl LP record
back cover detail
detail photo by Styrous®

Psycho, independently produced and financed by Hitchcock, was filmed at Revue Studios, the same location as his television show, Alfred Hitchcock Presents. It had a budget of $807,000. Nearly the whole film was shot with 50 mm lenses on 35 mm cameras. This trick closely mimicked normal human vision, which helped to further involve the audience. There are videos about and of how Psycho was made on YouTube (links below).   

Psycho vinyl LP record
back cover detail
detail photo by Styrous®

Before his collaboration with Alfred Hitchcock, Herrmann had written several scores for radio and film. His music was also heard on dozens of television programs, including The Twilight Zone. He died in 1975, just after completing the score to Taxi Driver. His most enduring and best-known work was done with Hitchcock, and his score for Psycho has come to epitomize suspense and terror.     

 Psycho vinyl LP record, side 1
photo by Styrous®

Psycho vinyl LP record, side 2
photo by Styrous®

Amazingly, Psycho did not get good reviews when it was released. It is now considered one of Hitchcock's best films and praised as a major work of cinematic art by international film critics and scholars. Often ranked among the greatest films of all time, it set a new level of acceptability for violence, deviant behavior and sexuality in American films, and is widely considered to be the earliest example of the slasher film genre.

In 1992, the US Library of Congress deemed the film "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry.         

Bernard Herrmann ‎– Psycho
Label: Unicorn Records (3) ‎– UN1-75001
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album
Country: UK
Released: 1975
Genre: Classical, Stage & Screen
Style: Contemporary, Neo-Classical, Score, Soundtrack


    Artwork – Philip Warr
    Conductor – Bernard Herrmann
    Engineer [Recording] – Bob Auger
    Orchestra – The National Philharmonic Orchestra*
    Producer – Christopher Palmer


Recorded at Barking Assembly Hall on 2nd October 1975.
Newly Recorded

Viewfinder links:        
Net links:       
Bernard Herrmann film scores    
NPR ~ Bernard Herrmann's Score to 'Psycho'     
Psycho ~ Full Cast & Crew      
Psycho ~ Synopsis      
The Lineup ~ 
Was Ed Gein the Most Misunderstood Killer in American History?
House of Horrors ~ American Psycho
Alfred Hitchcock Geeks ~ Hitchcock's Most Hopperesque Film: "Psycho"               
Psycho (1960) links on YouTube:        
    Theatrical Trailer (6:30 minutes)            
    drive to the Bates Motel           
    the shower scene            
    How Hitchcock Got People To See "Psycho"         
    The Making of "Psycho" (1 hr 29 min)        
    The making of the Shower Scene             
Psycho scared the bejeezez out of me in 1960;
it still does! 
Styrous® ~ Thursday, June 29, 2017    

June 25, 2017

Birth of the 45 rpm record ~ March 31, 1949

I must have been 12 or 13 when I bought my first record. It was a 45 RPM; which one I have no recollection. I do remember my first LP (link below).   

Since I had been a kid I had listened to the 78 RPM records my mom and dad had in their collection, classical and big band from mom and Latin music from dad. I had discovered a new kind of record, the 45. The 45s were really cheap, less than a dollar each; that fit my allowance perfectly and I could buy the music I liked. It was my first taste of buying power.  

When I was in Junior High I would go to parties and the kids would play their records which were horribly scratched and sounded terrible. I would never let mine get that way; and I still have them in almost mint condition.    

Dawn of the 45 RPM

The 45 or 7-inch is the most common form of the vinyl single. The names are derived from its play speed, 45 RPM, and the standard diameter, 7 inches (18 cm). 

Recording technology had changed radically since Emile Berliner invented the gramophone record in the 1890s. It had gone from unresponsive acoustic recording horns and direct to disc master recording to full electrical recording and tape masters. But little had changed with the records themselves. They still rotated at 78 RPM, still made of noisy shellac and extremely fragile.   
That all changed when the 7-inch 45 RPM record was released on March 31, 1949 by RCA Victor as a smaller, more durable and higher fidelity replacement for the 78 rpm shellac discs. The first 45 RPM records were monaural, with recordings on both sides of the disc. As stereo recordings became popular in the 1960s, almost all 45 RPM records were produced in stereo by the early 1970s.   

Columbia, which had released the 33 ⅓ rpm 12-inch vinyl LP in June 1948 (link below), also released 33 ⅓ rpm 7-inch vinyl singles in March 1949, but they were soon eclipsed by the RCA Victor 45. The first 45 RPM record created was "PeeWee the Piccolo" RCA Victor 47-0146 pressed 7 December 1948 at the Sherman Avenue plant in Indianapolis, Indiana.     

The RCA 7" inch 45 RPM record was cute, VERY small, and RCA's very colorful vinyl (each genre of music had it's own colour of vinyl!) made it an instant hit with young people. Popular releases were on standard black vinyl. Country releases were on green vinyl, Children's records were on yellow vinyl, Classical releases were on red vinyl, "Race" (or R&B and Gospel) records were on orange vinyl, Blue vinyl/blue label was used for semi-classical instrumental music and blue vinyl/black label for international recordings.   

The 45 RPM record and RCA 45 players (link below) had a few problems. First, the players could only play 45 RPM records. Nothing else. Second, classical music fans still had to put up with the same mid-movement breaks that plagued symphonic fans since the dawn of classical recording. Something the 33 1/3 RPM record rarely had.       

This era at the beginning of the '50s was called "The Battle of The Speeds" Some people preferred the 33 1/3 RPM LP, others the new 45 RPM players and old timers who insisted on the 78 RPM speed. The other major labels mostly aligned with the 33 1/3 RPM LP for albums (Capitol however released albums in all three speeds) and 45 and 78 RPM for singles. The 45s were super cheap, less than a dollar each.

The 78 RPM single began disappearing in the early '50s and the 78 RPM speed regulated to children's records through hand-me-down phonographs from their parents. The last American commercially released 78 RPM singles appeared in 1959, however they were still made for children's records and older jukeboxes until 1964.   

And thus began the era of the 45s. An era that lasted 40 wonderful years. Before the cassette tape, CD and MP3 player, 45s were the perfect portable personal music medium. 

Viewfinder links:  
My first LP     
Birth of the 33 1/3 RPM LP          
The RCA Victor 45-EY-2 45 RPM record player         
Styrous® ~ Sunday, June 25, 2017 


June 23, 2017

Gene Kelly articles/mentions

Singin' In the Rain           
The Pajama Game         
Birth of the 33 1/3 RPM LP            
Flower Drum Song & Pat Suzuki      
On the Town        
Gene Kelly - 1943           
publicity photo