Sunday, July 27, 2014


Friday, June 20, 2014


And as the sun sets slowly in the west,  I want to wish Captain Peter Blood a fond farewell--once again--and oh yes, a very merry birthday to Mr. Flynn. I love this portrait of Errol, not just because of the beauty of the man (although it is a shade influential) but because 1935 surreptitiously sneaks its way into the photo. Smooth sailing, one & all!

Thursday, January 2, 2014


"Here is my journey's end; and very sea-mark of my utmost sail....Unto the kingdom of perpetual night."
After life's fitful fever, he sleeps at last; nothing can touch him further.

Friday, February 1, 2013


Earlier this evening Captain Blood and Company set sail again, courtesy of TCM. As I had a truckload of tedious chores to complete (or at least pretend to attempt to complete), I told myself not to turn on the television. Over the past 5 decades I've seen this cherished film close to a zillion times now. I have the laser disc, the worn video as well as the DVD. And yet, how could I resist watching the Captain, the Navigator and assorted character actors once again kick Basil Rathbone's butt and thus ensure the waters of Southern California safe for pirating?  Good heavens! Ross is on television.....who am I to resist? I should be made of sterner stuff and stagger away. Yeah, sure. So ignoring the pile of boxes and containers of Christmas Past, I surrendered 120 minutes to Ross, Errol, Basil, Olivia, Lionel and the rest of the crew. One. More.Time.  It was time well spent. I found myself smiling again and again at these dear friends of ours. A pox upon the boxes and the assorted clutter. Tomorrow is another day--in fact it's Saturday--and I can guarantee it will all be waiting for me in the morning. And the delicate layer of dust won't be any thicker than it is now.  In the meantime, I have visions of Ross' biceps dancing in my head.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


 As January 2nd was fast approaching, I found myself thinking of a favorite line by poet Langston Hughes.  For a few days, it puzzled me but then----as so often with Ross---I felt as if I were privy to something directly related to him....or possibly from him.  It isn't the first time, and most likely will not be the last. Prayers for you upon your Angel Day, dearest Ross. Wherever you are, may you always be within the Light and find Peace within yourself. 


Friday, July 27, 2012


Although the rest of the world considers today the start of the XXX London 2012 Summer Olympics, WE
know what July 27th, 2012 really's Ross's 105th birthday! Somewhere "out there" I hope he understands that after all this time, people still care. So with a wish and a prayer winging your way, here's to you, Birthday Boy and may you always know how dearly loved you are.

Saturday, June 16, 2012


Alexander Ross Smith, Jr. was born on July 27, 1907 in Brooklyn, New York. After spending his first 17 years in Brooklyn his family moved to Rochester. Alex had an avid interest in acting as by the time he was in high school, he was active in both Brooklyn’s Erasmus Hall and later, West Rochester High School’s theatre productions. However amateur theatrics could not begin to meet with Alex’s ambition and he dropped out of school to attend Hugh W. Towne’s acting group. This led to signing with the Packard Theatrical Agency. Upon visiting Packard, the well known stage actress Blanche Yurka was impressed with the talented teenager and hired him to appear in her production of “Enter Madame.” [Note: He was NOT in the original 1920 Broadway production as he was 13 years old and still attending school.]

It was at this time (1925) Alex Smith officially became Ross Alexander. He was then to appear with Miss Yurka in several of the Jewett Stock Company’s productions which was under the management of The Repertory Theatre of Boston. On October 22, 1926, Ross made his Broadway debut as the juvenile lead in “The Ladder.” From 1929 to 1932 he co-starred in several Broadway productions in which critics gave him excellent reviews and all of which folded fairly quickly, with the exception of “That’s Gratitude.” In 1932, he made his screen debut in Paramount’s “The Wiser Sex” starring Claudette Colbert and Melvyn Douglas. He also made a one time appearance for Columbia Studios, in Colleen Moore’s “The Social Register” which was filmed in 1933 but released in October of 1934. After starring in four more Broadway productions, which collapsed as opposed to folding, Ross received an offer early the following year he couldn’t refuse…a contract with Warner Brothers Studio.

Arriving in Los Angeles with his bride, actress Aleta Freile, he began filming “Gentlemen are Born” in February of 1934, to immediately be followed by “Flirtation Walk.” His charm, humor, and endearing boyishness soon garnered a notable fan following and in 1935, he was cast in three smash hits, “Shipmates Forever,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” and “Captain Blood.” Instead of supporting roles or secondary leads, the following year found him now starring in his own films including “Brides Are Like That,” “Boulder Dam” and “Here Comes Carter.” His performance in “I Married a Doctor” (the studio's insipid renaming of Sinclair Lewis’ novel, Main Street) was undoubtedly his finest. His final film was the musical, “Ready, Willing and Able” which was released two months after his death. Although he was clearly the star and gave an engaging performance which enhanced the film, Warner Brothers felt it necessary to drop his billing to 5th place because, well…suicides just ain’t big box office.

Ross Alexander was married three times. Yes, there was a *first* wife, whose identity shall remain private, as this is pertinent information for his biography.

His second wife, the aforementioned Aleta Freile was to die early on the morning of December 7, 1935 after committing suicide. His third wife was actress Anne Nagel whom he had met at Warner Brothers and appeared in three films together. Despite his recent marriage to Anne, Ross Alexander was chronically depressed over the death of Miss Freile; it was because of said depression he was to shoot himself with a .22 caliber pistol in his left temple, alone in the loft of his ranch’s barn early in the evening of January 2, 1937.