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Helen Mack photo from "Fit for a King" identified

on Thursday, 17 November 2011. Posted in News

One of the most vexing matters about researching my father's career is that so much material from the 1930's and 1940's has so little relevance today. His own personal collection from his Hollywood days bears photographs of stars who have long since been forgotten, but who were quite fashionable in the day. Slowly these people have been revealed, their films logged with dates and title and photos previously unknown have in themselves become familiar. Usually this process happens all of a sudden when I am able to pair a dress or hairdo or a background item which I find on eBay to similar features in a photo in the collection. And it was this process which lead to the newest movie discovery for Ned Scott: "Fit for a King" in 1937 with Joe E. Brown and Helen Mack. There are some very fine heavy fiber prints of Helen Mack in portrait and some very funny prints of Joe E Brown in the collection, but no film designation for them until now. The Mack prints are all off stage prints, and she is posed with the same costume as several images currently on eBay with the film designation listed. A clear fit, and the same can be said for the Joe E. Brown prints. Here's Brown, dressed in drag as a maid, confronting Mack's character Jane in a hotel bedroom. The film was directed by Edward Sedgwick and produced by David L. Loew. A 1941 letter from my mother to her mother in Seattle mentions that the Loews attended one of their parties in their new house in La Canada. I bet that Ned Scott did more films for Loew in the late 1930"s, I just have not found them as yet. I can suggest from the quality of the Helen Mack prints that Ned Scott made them himself, and I can further suggest that the paper used may have been platinum 8 x 10 from the Platinotype Company in London. He was buying and using this paper at that time period.

Helen Mack and Joe E. Brown

Joe E Brown and Helen Mack in "Fit for a King" 1937 by Ned Scott

John Wayne photo from "Stagecoach" attributued to Ned Scott

on Sunday, 20 November 2011. Posted in News

While researching John Wayne photos on the Motion Picture and Television (MPTV) website, I found a photo which resembled Ned Scott's style of portraiture but which carried no assignation as to originator or film. The description merely stated "John Wayne circa 1931". I was spending time running through the many John Wayne photos on MPTV because I was writing an article for my John Wayne page which summed up Ned Scott's experiences with Wayne on the two films which they both worked together. To further boost my writing inspiration, I also reviewed the Stagecoach movie booklet which Ned Scott had saved in his own scrapbook, and which I have posted on this archive website. Walter Wanger Productions created and published this booklet to promote the movie Stagecoach in 1939. Along with some interesting text about the historical aspects of the film, the booklet carries many of Ned Scott's images from his own work on the film. One of these images happened to be the same image that MPTV had in its John Wayne file with no assignation. Having strong suspicions about a photograph's origin, and proving that origin are often two different things. But here this time the coin finally slipped home while my jaw dropped in embarrassed surprise. I had it in front of me the whole time, right there in my father's booklet! Now the origin and film for that image have been updated, thanks to the great people at MPTV. And I am proud to show the world another fine John Wayne photo by Ned Scott from the movie "Stagecoach".

John Wayne as Ringo Kid by Ned Scott

John Wayne as Ringo Kid in "Stagecoach" by Ned Scott

Love Goddess photo of Rita Hayworth by Ned Scott

on Wednesday, 07 December 2011. Posted in News

There is no question that this vertical photo of Rita Hayworth resonates vibrantly with the cognoscenti of the genre. This photo has appeared in many incarnations in the publishing industry, the film industry, the advertising industry and Hollywood entertainment industry since its creation by Ned Scott 65 years ago during his assignments for Columbia Pictures dance extravaganza "Down To Earth". It may be the single most responsible item in the development of Rita Hayworth as the silver screen "Love Goddess" made famous by Winthrop Sargeant's article which appeared in the November 10, 1947 issue of Life Magazine entitled "The Cult of The Love Goddess in America". At least it is the most recognizable. What is not generally known about this photograph is that it has a twin. In addition to this fact, Ned Scott modified one of the two images specifically to his taste when he printed the negative for his own collection in 11 x 14 format. In effect, therefore there are three incarnations which build around the same image, each with its own distinct feel. This is the most common version seen:

Rita Hayworth version 1

Ned Scott preferred the other image which he shuttered in sequence with this one. The orders he gave to Rita were very subtle, but nonetheless important for mood enhancement. She tilts her head very slightly to her left, thus creating a full shadow across her chest from the neck down. Her right shoulder slides to the corner, creating a more harmonious form. Her smile is only just a hint larger, and this exposes more of her teeth. There is a perfect triangle in the center of the frame formed by her smile and both eyes:

Rita Hayworth in "Down To Earth"

Ned Scott was a disciple of form, and these small changes made all the difference. Suddenly the spontaneity of the casual look over the shoulder is sharpened, greatly adding to the mystique of Rita the Love Goddess. But Ned Scott did not stop there. For his own collection, he modified this image by enlarging it just a little and and tilting the image ever so slightly to the right. Her right shoulder is now perfectly centered in the left corner of the frame, and her head fills the frame more completely. This is a more dominant statement of the image. In all likelihood, this is the only such configuration of this image which exists worldwide. (To see other photos of Rita Hayworth, go here).

Ned Scott's Rita

Rita'a onstage persona was that of a dancer and a movie actress. Her mystique, however, emerged after having been transfigured by her public life into "an important religious institution" according to Sargeant. In real life she was just another pretty girl with a good, but demanding job; but in the minds of her fans and moviegoers, she was Aphrodite incarnate.

Red Skelton photo from "The Fuller Brush Man" located

on Tuesday, 06 December 2011. Posted in News

This Red Skelton photo by Ned Scott from Columbia Pictures 1948 movie "The Fuller Brush Man" captures some of the zany characteristics for which he became famous as an entertainer. I can remember my father referring to him later on in the 1950's as someone who was just as wacky as Joe. E Brown. Skelton lived in La Crescenta/Montrose area of Southern California, neighboring suburban communities to La Canada where Ned Scott lived. As young boy, I can distinctly remember driving along Foothill Boulevard with my parents right passed a bar called Red Skelton's in La Crescenta. Whether Skelton owned the bar or just lent his name to the enterprise, I cannot say. Following his movie career, Skelton became a popular TV host with the Red Skelton Hour from 1951-1971. "The Fuller Brush Man" was directed by S. Sylvan Simon and co-starred Janet Blair. The core of the comedy centered around the ubiquitous existence of the Fuller Brush salesmen who were very active around the country selling their products in the door-to-door business model. They were the Tupperware and Amway people of the 1940's and 1950's. The movie is full of hilarious missteps and original one-liners from Skelton. This movie busted box-office records for its genre, and it spawned a sequel called "The Fuller Brush Girl" in 1950.

Red Skelton portrait from "the Fuller Brush Man" by Ned Scott

Red Skelton photo from "The Fuller Brush Man" by Ned Scott

Adele Jergens photo from "Blondie's Anniversay" recovered

on Tuesday, 29 November 2011. Posted in News


It has just come to light that Ned Scott photographed "Blondie's Anniversary" for Columbia Pictres in 1947. The film starred Penny Singleton, Arthur Lake and Larry Simms. The film was directed by Abby Berlin. This film is a series film based on Chic Young's comic book characters from his strip "Blondie" which began newspaper syndication in 1938. There were many preceding films in this series before this one in 1947. It's a comedy as one would expect, and it utilizes many unintended miscues which so often characterize the life of Blondie. These miscues lead to several hilarious turns of events which eventually culminate in happy resolution for the characters. But for Ned Scott, the role played by Adele Jergens (Gloria Stafford, a bank president's secretary) offered excellent photographic opportunities. Judging by the number and high quality of the prints Ned Scott saved of Adele Jergens in his own personal collection, I can conclude that he enjoyed working with the actress whenever he had the chance. I know he found her easy to work with because she photographed so well in many different roles. Her chief asset was her long blond and wavy hair, and this feature is highlighted in many of the prints he saved. Sitting in his collection is a 16 x 20 print from this movie, and before I found this print below on Ebay auction, I did not have any idea as to the source movie for the large print. Notice the earrings, they were the decisive clue, along with the dress. The large collection print and the Ebay auction print display the same setting and garb, clinching the fact that they were both from the same photo session for Ned Scott.

Adele Jergens in "Blondie's Anniversary"

Adele Jergens photo from "Blondie's Anniversary" by Ned Scott

Paul Muni photo from "Commandos Strike at Dawn" retrieved

on Wednesday, 14 December 2011. Posted in News

Locating decent portraits of the cast members of this film is difficult. This film was shot on location in Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada in 1942. The good thing about this is that the scenery on location brought a good dose of realism to the setting of the film (Norway), but the bad thing is that few opportunities were offered for portrait taking which requires more controlled studio conditions. Ned Scott saved no 8 x 10 glossies from this film, nor did he make enlarged 11 x 14 special prints of some of the images he favored (as he did for other films he worked). He did save a special movie booklet from the film, but most of the photos there were taken with smaller format cameras. This portrait of Muni is the more remarkable because Ned Scott strongly disliked him. Ned, along with everyone else on the set, had to put up with Muni's arrogance, bullying nature and mercurial temperament. Of all the film stars Ned Scott worked with over the years, it was Muni he found the most difficult. Just getting him to pose for a portrait was a chore. Real life Canadian and British soldiers were used in the movie's battle scenes, and this film was one of the first to chronicle the exploits of the Norwegian Resistance during German occupation. This film was one of two wartime dramas Ned Scott worked as WW II was raging around the world (the second was "The Story of G.I. Joe", shot in 1944). I am sure he would have preferred to be in harness as a wartime photo journalist along with his good friend Peter Stackpole, but wartime military policy excluded him due to his hands being crippled during an accident when he was 19 years old.

Paul Muni photo from "Commandos Strike at Dawn"

Paul Muni photo from "Commandos Strike at Dawn"

Ann Miller gag photo for "the Thrill of Brazil" discovered

on Saturday, 17 December 2011. Posted in News

Ann Miller's photos figure strongly in Ned Scott's personal collection of photographs. He photographed her for "Jam Session", "The Thrill of Brazil" and "Eadie Was a Lady". He printed his favorite image from "Eadie" in 16 x 20 format, indicating high praise for her as a subject. But nothing comes close to matching this image of Ann with a chapeau so elaborately decorated.

Ann Miller with bunny

Ann Miller gag shot for "The Thrill of Brazil" 1946 by Ned Scott

Despite the rigors of the workaday studio atmosphere which Ned Scott so elaborately discussed in his 1943 article for The Complete Photographer magazine, there were times for levity and invention. And captivating and energetic dancer Ann Miller was always eager and up for anything. Getting the bunny to cooperate must have given hearty laughs all round. And as Ned Scott knew fully well, "gag shots" like this one were sure to please the movie-going audience. But Ned Scott's collaboration with Ann Miller was not confined to the studio sets. Research is ongoing for hints of this feature of his life as a stillman, and so far I have located several Ann Miller images shot at Cornelia Runyon's Malibu oceanfront estate. To Ann's left is one of Cornelia's early natural stone sculptures. As a child and young boy in the early 1950's, I always looked forward to the mini vacations we as a family took to visit Cornelia in Malibu. Always a high point of my young life. Looking back now on those uncomplicated days, I am sure that I trod the same ground that people like Ann Miller occupied as my father set up his equipment for photo sessions.

ann miller at Cornelia Runyon's estate

Ann Miller at sculptress Cornelia Runyon's Malibu estate c. 1945

William Wellman photo from "The Story of G. I. Joe" located

on Sunday, 25 December 2011. Posted in News

William Wellman photo for "The Story of G.I. Joe"

This William Wellman photo taken by Ned Scott for "The Story of G. I. Joe" captures the creative energy on display for the making of this epic WWII film. The film depicts the life of renowned War Correspondent Ernie Pyle during his assignments in Europe to cover the progress of the war from the soldier's point of view. The film is based largely on Ernie's recently published book "Here is Your War", a book which is shown in this photo lying open on the desk, and which is clearly the point being discussed by Burgess Meredith, Lester Cowan, William Wellman and Ernie Pyle as Ned Scott shuttered his lens. Ernie Pyle was sent to cover the Battle of Britain and then later as official War Correspondent to cover America's involvement in the war in North Africa, Italy and France. Following his return, his book was published and Lester Cowan convinced him to participate in creating a movie about the book in the latter half of 1944. Ernie was later killed by sniper fire while covering the Battle for Okinawa on April 18, 1945. Mustachioed Director William Wellman, shown standing second from right in the photo, is leafing through the pages of the book. Wellman's autobiography "A Short Time for Insanity" printed three of the Ned Scott photos from the film. Here Wellman has a chance to declare his feelings for Ernie Pyle: describing a scene during which he addresses the hundreds of active service-members playing in the film, he says "I know you all have heard how I got into this, because of one man, Ernie Pyle. I think as much of him as you do, and it was through him that I got the great desire to make G.I. Joe." And further, "...I want to make this the goddamnedest most honest picture that has ever been made about the doughfoot." It's not often that the film's producer and director are featured in one photo, but Ned Scott grabbed one that tells a promising tale about the making of a movie. For this photograph type from the film industry, this one ranks highly for its content. Ned Scott created some fine ones of the genre like this William Wellman photo, and I am always on the hunt for more.

Ernie Pyle and Burgess Meredith on set

Burgess Meredith and Ernie Pyle reading Ernie's new book "Here is Your War" off the set of "The Story of G.I. Joe"

Charles Vidor photo from "Cover Girl" identified

on Tuesday, 03 January 2012. Posted in News

This Charles Vidor photo emphasizes a key fact of life in the studios--and indeed everywhere--and that was smoking. It was a cultural statement for the times. Ned Scott was a steady smoker, but not a "chain" user. He appreciated the social aspects of smoking, and that's what's on display here in this Charles Vidor photo. This is Ned Scott's way of saying that smoking brings people together, it oils the gears of concentration, and it improves output in an environment like a studio. Charles Vidor is discussing the "Cover Girl" shooting script with Susann Shaw, Eve Arden and Jinx Falkenberg. It's rare to witness smoking in any work environment these days, but in 1943 when this film was shot in the studio, it was not unusual to see people smoking on breaks. I am sure Ned Scott had an ashtray nearby when he was stationed in a static spot with his 8 x 10 view camera, Ries tripod with legs spread, waiting for a star to break from the set for a photograph. Even rarer today is the cigarette holder which Charles Vidor is using in this photograph. It lent a little extra authority and class to the standing of director at a major film studio like Columbia Pictures. And not many could pull it off without looking ridiculous. These three actresses were among a very popular group working at Columbia in the mid-'40's. They were multi-talented performers. Besides acting, they danced and/or sang in a variety of extravagant productions. I call them the Columbia Girls, and they included the above three along with Rita Hayworth, Janet Blair, Leslie Brooks, Ann Miller, Janis Carter, Evelyn Keyes, and Jeff Donnell. This Charles Vidor photograph also exemplifies the unique relationship of a director with the cast members.

Charles Vidor and Columbia Girls

Director Charles Vidor with Susann Shaw, Eve Arden and Jinx Falkenberg

R.M. Schindler house for Henwar Rodakiewicz: photographs found

on Thursday, 05 January 2012. Posted in News

The Rudolph M. Schindler house for Henwar Rodakeiwicz was designed and built in 1937. This house was located on Alto Cedro Drive in Beverly Hills, California. Schindler was known for his innovative use of space, light and form. Henwar likely chose him to design his house because Henwar, being first and foremost a photographer like Ned Scott, Paul Strand and Edward Weston, appreciated the expansive use of light combined with clarity of form. These were essences inherent in Schindler designs.

Schindler house for Henwar Rodakiewicz

The sweeping, vaulted exterior glass panel was cutting edge for its day, and Schindler placed the house on the lot so that this exterior elevation faced the northeast to catch the early morning light. The stoic imprint of this panel with its attending lintels and offsets reflected Henwar's sense of purity, simplicity and order.

Northeast elevation Schindler house

The encompassing impact of the design, together with its setting, goes right to the heart of Henwar's creative spirit. A clue to this fact may be found in an April 1939 letter from Henwar to Ned Scott: Henwar distilled a definition of photography by saying "There is a language without words and so beautifully clear". This same definition can be applied to the design of his Schindler house. It speaks its own language just as a good photograph does.

Schindler house curve study

Living within the house was most likely more process than just mere experience. Interior spaces were suffused with outside scenery and natural forms, and new patterns were constantly forming and reforming within. As Henwar said in the same letter to Ned Scott, "It's funny, isn't it. The way some people work. With me it's 'eye' and direct to heart. With others it's ear to brain." So perception was not worth anything unless heart ruled at the core of everything. For Henwar, this is what Schindler's design captured.

Schindler house for Henwar Rodakiewicz

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