Madge Bellamy, star


In writing about 1920s and ’30s actress Madge Bellamy, who died in 1990 in Upland, I noted in October that she might be the only Ontario resident with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and said I’d have to visit her star sometime.

The other day, I did. I was on my way to Amoeba Music. I got off the subway at Hollywood and Vine, then walked west. Her star is at 6715 Hollywood Blvd., about five blocks west of Vine, between Wilcox and Hudson. It’s like any other star, but I’m glad I paid homage.

Below, Madge Bellamy in “White Zombie.”


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Column: ‘Repo Man’ local reference is anything but generic


Friday’s column — I’m back! — kicks off with a few words about the 20th anniversary of the movie “Repo Man,” which has a Pomona reference. (Above, Emilio Estevez, left, and Harry Dean Stanton in a scene from the film.) After that: Culture Corner items, Claremont items, a quick note about my vacation and a plug for three upcoming events around my “Pomona A to Z” book, two of them this Saturday and one of them on the radio.

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‘Politics of Love’ movie trailer features downtown Pomona

“Politics of Love” is an independent romantic comedy about two people on opposite sides of the McCain-Obama presidential campaign in 2008. Much of the movie was filmed in Pomona. It had a very short theatrical release but I believe it can be purchased online. You can watch the trailer above.

The Masonic Lodge is featured prominently (with a “McCain-Palin” banner), Trinity Methodist Church shows up, as do one or more homes in Lincoln Park, and is that the Western University campus at one point?

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Upland screenwriter hit bullseye with ‘Grosse Pointe Blank’

Tom Jankiewicz, an Upland resident who wrote the screenplay for the 1997 movie “Grosse Pointe Blank,” died Jan. 23, at a mere 49 years of age. I knew him. Sunday’s column is a tribute to him and the circumstances that spawned the hit film. Above, he’s pictured in his home with a copy of the framed movie poster; below, he’s on location on Monrovia’s Myrtle Avenue, which stood in for Grosse Pointe, Mich., the film’s setting.


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Tom Mix, Buster Keaton in Pomona?


At least two old-time movies are rumored to have been filmed behind the Phillips Mansion (pictured), an 1875 home built by Louis Phillips (1830-1900), a rancher and businessman at one time said to be the wealthiest man in Los Angeles County.

One movie is said to have featured Buster Keaton. And now Cal Poly Pomona student DeeAnn Perez comes asking about a Tom Mix movie said to have been filmed there.

The original source for both pieces of information is Mickey Gallivan of the Historical Society of the Pomona Valley, who doesn’t know the titles either but has heard both stories from a past resident of the mansion. Perez asked me because she thought I’d know, but I don’t.

Perez writes that although she inquired because she was doing research for a class assignment, a friend is married to Tom Mix’s grandson, and “they are always looking for historical evidence on his grandfather.”

I’m hoping that by putting this online, hardcore fans of Mix and Keaton might be able to identify any movie that included the property. But this could be difficult because the mansion itself probably isn’t in either movie. Instead, the movies involved a barn behind the property, and the barn, Gallivan says, “fell down” some time ago. She couldn’t locate a photo.

The Keaton movie, or possibly short, was filmed sometime between 1931 and 1942, when the Boyle family, which had Hollywood connections, owned the property. A Boyle relation remembers the movie shoot. There can’t be too many Keaton movies that include a barn.

A Tom Mix western that involves a barn doesn’t sound like a novelty, although the dramatic hill behind the property might be a tipoff. It was filmed sometime before the Boyles’ arrival in 1931.

Here’s some history about the Phillips Mansion. It’s one of the oldest structures in Pomona and among the first in the county to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The house is owned by the Historical Society but due to earthquake damage isn’t open to the public other than for special events (see below).

The original construction cost was $20,000. The house is at 2640 Pomona Blvd. Read more about both homes on the website of the Historical Society. Wikipedia has a good entry.

The mansion will be open Sunday from 4 to 7 p.m. for the Historical Society’s annual ice cream social. Entrance is free, although food and activities aren’t.

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Bugs, Daffy, Porky and Mr. Leghorn in Cucamonga

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Sunday’s column (read it here) sets out to document mentions of Cucamonga in Looney Tunes cartoons. Hey, if anyone was ever going to do that, I knew it had to be me.

Above is a moment from “Raw! Raw! Rooster” (1956), a Western Onion telegram illustrating the little-known fact that one of the best-known Looney Tunes characters actually resided in Cucamonga. Is there a more famous celebrity with a Cucamonga connection?

Move over, Jack Benny. Maybe the Victoria Gardens Cultural Center needs a statue of Foghorn Leghorn.

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Liz Taylor in Upland, San Dimas


My Sunday column is about the two movies that Elizabeth Taylor is known to have filmed in part in the Inland Valley: “The Sandpiper” in San Dimas in 1964 and “Sweet Bird of Youth” in Upland in 1989.

The photo at left of Taylor and Charles Bronson is taken from the Poly Post’s coverage of “The Sandpiper” filming, which took place at the Pomona college’s San Dimas campus.

For posterity’s sake, below you can find thumbnail views of 1964 articles from the Pomona Progress-Bulletin (Oct. 1) and the Poly Post (Oct. 2) about “The Sandpiper” and two 1989 articles (April 30 and May 12) from the Ontario Daily Report about “Sweet Bird of Youth.” Click on the thumbnails for a large, readable view.

And a shout-out to Bruce Guter and Allan Lagumbay of the Pomona Public Library and Gena Sizoo of the Upland Public Library for finding and scanning the articles for me.

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