Monday, May 23, 2016

MGM Studio founded in 1924 in Culver City Californa. Here's a bit of Hollywood History from my family archives

Newly formed MGM, 1924. From my grandfather's archives. 
Buster Keaton, Hardy Rapst, Irving Thalberg, (Head of Production,) Nick Schende, Natale Talmadge, (Mrs. Buster Keaton.) Louie B. Mayer, Eddie Mannix, (general manager and head of publicity,) Hunt Stomberg, (Producer.)

MGM and its legendary roaring lion logo was formed in April 1924, by theater magnate Marcus Loew, who orchestrated the merger of Metro Pictures Corp., Goldwyn Pictures and Louis B. Mayer Productions

Metro Pictures had the look, the style and the stars needed to attract a growing audience, but the little studio on Gower Street in Hollywood became too limited to meet it's growing needs.  In 1924 Goldwyn Pictures with its valuable studio property in Culver City was purchased and MGM was born.  Mayer and my grandfather, Andy Mac Donald, moved Metro's sets together in Andy's truck, to the new lot in Culver City.

 Mayer now the head of M.G.M. gave my grandfather the position of head of construction and eventually head of 7 MGM departments.  Metro Goldwyn Mayer's magnificent entrance on Washington Blvd.,  looked like a turret of a Castle.   The offices, shops, and main stages were up front on the main lot and the
other two back lots held street scenes, college malls, quaint village
squares, meadow, forest and even a jungle with a  man-made pool for the Tarzan.  The outlying studio ranches used for Westerns
were located in the San Fernando Valley and the nearby convenience of ocean, wild country and desert afforded a variety of natural settings.

M.G.M.'s now celebrated and polished films required only the
best in every department.  The Studio's level of expertise excelled over any other studio and became the quintessential glamour and star factory in Hollywood.

Louie B. Mayer ran the Studio like a boot camp.  If there were any slackers on a job, they were quickly fired. He demanded excellence and loyalty and under his rule, M.G.M. became the most authoritarian studio  in the industry.   He instituted an important break with the early movie tradition of allowing directors to serve as a overseers of the art... "Griffith style." 

 At M.G.M.  film making became an assembly line of departments each answerable to a producer,  each producer answerable to the head of production and the head of production answerable to Mayer.  M.G.M's. stars became nothing like the merry old player of the old days, insisting on their favorite directors, idea men and supporting players and actors were never allowed to choose their own properties.

Mayer's directors  directed,  his writers wrote and his actors acted. All separately.   Free spirits were no longer tolerated. Team
players and company men were the only people allowed to play ball with Mayer. 

My grandfather, Andy Mac Donald on the left with his men, on a set they constructed

As head of construction,  Andy was expected to respect Mayer's style rather than rely on his own.  Authority started at the top and worked down.  Andy's men took direction from him, he took direction from an art director and the art director took direction from the Mayer.

Economics ruled under Mayer's reign and there was no waste. Andy figured out a way to construct detachable sets that could be used over and over again. Walls, bookshelves, staircases etc. could be taken apart and put back together in different ways.  When they weren't in use they could be stored for future projects. Elaborate sets, especially exteriors were kept standing on the back lots and when a scene called for it, a whole town could be constructed quickly, or be reassembled to look like a new town.

 A facade of a Mediterranean Villa nestled in a grove of fake palm trees created the feeling of the Italian Renaissance and when the film was over it could be repainted and redecorated to give the impression of an entirely different part of the world.

Andy's innovative ways of constructing difficult sets and props

for "Ben Hur,"  M.G.M. 's first major picture after the merger, was
legendary and Mayer increased his salary to an all time high.

Natalie Talmadge and Buster Keaton
The 1920's were prosperous for most people in America, but for those with big positions at a major studio, it was unimaginable. Money was worth much more, because income tax and unions  were still a long way off and the price of homes and fancy cars was still reasonable.

Read more about Louie B. Mayer, MGM and my grandfather's 55 year career at the Studio in my book, The Maybelline Story. I know you'll find it hard to put down. 

My mother Pauline Mac Donald, was born in 1924, the year MGM moved to Culver City.  She grew up watching her father, Andy oversee every set built for every picture made at the Studio, including Gone with the With Wind and the Wizard of Oz in 1939.  You're going to love this memoir....

Culver City Celebrates it's 100 year Anniversary Sept 26 - Oct 1
Here's the details

Monday, May 16, 2016

Great Granddaughters of Maybelline's first African American Model, Je'Taun M. Taylor, review The Maybelline Story

Je'Taun M. Taylor, Maybelline's first African American model, 1959, read more about this amazing woman, click link.

Review by Chane' Haynes,
Je'Taun M. Taylor's Great Granddaughter

Hi Sharrie☺️ how are you? Prayerfully better than ever! I have just closed your beautifully written book on its last chapter....and might I say that is one hell of a story!!!!!!! I loved and enjoyed every minute of it....up until that last part....with Nana....I can't stop crying.....who would be that sick and heartlessπŸ˜•πŸ˜­πŸ˜’....I despise heart aches and goes out to you and your family....on the contrary this story inspired and I have dealt with tremendously the same pain it's crazy....the weight thing I'm still trying to conquer, kudos to you😘😘😘....and my grandmother Cherie was just like your Nana....personality wise always seemingly judgmental yet only wanting the best for us......your story ignited a fire in me that I thought died long inspires me to to go full head on unapologetically with my dreams and to keep fighting the good fight no matter what life throws at me....your whole family were fighters not only verbally but physically and made me feel as though I was reading about my family without the money lol....I felt indulged in the story as if it were happening in front of my eyes....this book definitely deserves airtime for a movie and 5 amazing stars....I'm not saying that just to be saying that, you definitely can change the route in someone's life just by inspiration and this book was just that! It gave me life, hope, and sadness took me through so many emotions but I loved every bit of it....I would love to write a book just don't know where to know your blessed if you can inspire and change someone through text who has never met you, and that you are! Thank you for this special will remain with me forever and all the lessons it has taught me.....I will continue to read this book lol I could never get tired of it. Thank you for your story.

Review by Mami-Melay Tati Taylor
Je'Taun M. Taylor's Great Granddaughter

One of the ‪#‎Best‬ books I've read in my 23 years of living hands down!! ‪#‎TheMaybellineStory‬ by Sharrie Williams ....a memorabilia that seeps drama, laughter, pain, pleasure, wealth, wisdom, inspiration and hope all in one....also gives very knowledgeable tactics on advertising, marketing and entrepreneurship for the business mind as well as inquires inside scoop on how the beauty industry operates....Definitely is going to make a great movie and I can't wait to watch! 5⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ A ‪#‎MustRead‬ go get your copy!! click the ‪#‎link‬ to show this amazing story support...and if not this show will still move forward. Y'all be blessed✌🏽️πŸ‘ŒπŸ½

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Maybelline turned sweet simple Pauline into a Pin Up Girl

Evelyn remarked to Pauline that she needed a little make-over.  She took her by the hand into the bedroom and closed the door.  Bill screamed at his mother to stop, "I like like the way she looks," he said, "She's only 15 for darn sakes." but his mother proceeded to the lock the door.

 Pauline emerged from Evelyn's silk covered bedroom, which held an enormous dressing table filled with Maybelline products and an enormous round mirror lit up like a Movie Star's dressing room.

Eyelyn had transformed her son's girlfriend from a simple little high school girl into a gorgeous woman with Judy Garland eyes and a Vavoom figure. Bill stood there gawking with his mouth open.  Pauline had morphed into a knock out, a pin up girl, as beautiful as any of his uncle's Maybelline models..... 

Read more about my parents, Bill and Pauline and my grandmother Evelyn in my book, The Maybelline Story, now on audible.
  Listen to a free sample on Amazon now.

Monday, May 2, 2016

My makeover at Jean Seo's Evolue Beauty in Beverly Hills with Celebrity Makeup artist Etienne Ortega and Celebrity hair stylist Jin Bang

It doesn't get much better than spending the afternoon with Jean Seo, owner of the celebrity skin care salon, Evolue and her staff. Including Celebrity makeup artist, Etienne Ortega and celebrity hair styling, Jin Bang. This is what I call FUN...especially growing up with everything Maybelline.

Signing a copy of my book The Maybelline Story for Jean Soe, at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, where Movie Stars and Hollywood celebrities hobnob,is my cup of tea.  Growing up in Culver City, close to the old MGM Studio's, I hoped to be discovered by a talent scout.  Now I'm content soaking up the Stardust and and be pampered like a Mogul, while waiting for some good news about my TV series, being pitched by my agent Italia Gandolfo and my producer, Marie D. Jones.

 It's not everyday I get a new "do" by Celebrity Stylist, Jin Bang, who has taught cutting edge styling techniques in over 75 cities across North America, New York to Los Angeles, and in European cities such as London and Barcelona. His clients include Demi Lovato, Chris Humpries (NBA) and Kim Kardashian. Jin is a master at creating original looks. I was going for Old Hollywood!

broadcast with my publicist Michelle Arbeau
 and Jin Bang.

My sister Donna Williams and I had our makeup done by One of the top 5 makeup artists in the world, Etienne Ortega, best known for creating Christina Arguilera's makeup on "The Voice," and Kim Kardashian and her family on "Keeping up with the Kardashians." 

Etienne Ortega, my friend Tama Wali and I after my makeover. Etienne is working on a new lipstick brand and writing a beauty book. He asked me if I'd be interested in being included in the book..."Yes Please."  Tama Wali is an international Bikram Yoga Teacher, dress and bag designer and finishing her Therapist Private Practice license. 

Photo shoot with my sister Donna and our new makeup artist Etienne Ortega and hair stylist, Jin Bang at the Evolue Studio

Etienne Ortega, Jean Soe, Jin Bang and Sharrie Williams

After the photo shoot, we grabbed an Uber van and headed around the corner to the Beverly Wilshire.

 The Lobby of the Beverly Wilshire, Etienne Ortega
 in the background.

Our A-Team of creative like minded people enjoyed wine,  hor d oeuvres and a couple hours of lively conversation. 

Etienne Ortega holding up, Publicist, Michelle Arbeau's best selling book, "Soul Numbers." Michelle is sought after, Celebrity Numerologist, broadcaster and professional speaker. 

Busy signing copies of The Maybelline Story at the table with Jean Seo.

Signing Etienne's book, while giving my two cent on his new cosmetic line.  After all I was "Born with It."
Making your nose look smaller by Etienne Ortega
                     Eva Longoria Makeup Tutorial with Etienne Ortega

                      Makeup contouring with Etienne Ortega 

Check out the skin products by Jean Seo at her Beverly Hills Studio. I have most of it, but my favorite's are... resurfacing grains... reverse time serum... hydrating serum and exotic oil for the face.  Jean's clients include Hollywood's most beautiful Stars...

Monday, April 25, 2016

Maybelline "1917 Paige" featured in Hemmings Classic Car Magazine May 2016

Maybelline family in Tom Lyle Williams new 1917 Paige Detroit

Nevy Clark
I received an Email from Nevy Clark, the owner of Tom Lyle Williams 1917 Paige and I'm thrilled to know the car is in immaculate condition and  still on the road almost 100 years later. 

Hi  Sharrie,                                                             
The Paige Brooklands model 651, had been in  the Jim Grundy Sr. (big insurance company that specializes in vintage car insurance) collection for many years (40 years as best I can gather). When Mr. Grundy died, the majority of his collection was sold and Mr. Robert Pass (owner of Passport Transport Co.) purchased the bulk. Mr. Pass was interested in the CCCA Classics (Stutzs, Duesenburg, Mormans, V-12 Cadillacs, etc).
Hemmings classic Car Magazine May 2016
The Paige was of no interest to him as it did not rank as a “Classic” of the 1920 – 1930 ERA, and unassumingly had no history, so he put it up for sale. I thought it was a unique and “cool” car and purchased it. I did extensive research and although it was listed in the Standard Catalog of American cars as the model “Brooklands” (Paige often named its models after race tracks), there was no listing of numbers produced and no record of any existing car. 

The PAIGE auto Club showed no account of any of the “Brooklands” being made – only the number of Paiges total made in 1917. The Antique Automobile Club of America (4,000 members) did an article on the car in their October 2009 issue. The article was titled “1917 Paige Model Six -51” It had a lot of photos of the car and the one from the Standard Catalog of American Cars. In your book, you have 2 photos of the car, one as a two-seater roadster and the other as a 4-place touring with Tom at the wheel and Mabel in the back seat.

I would make the assumption that Tom gave the car later to Mabel, because 1.  Because it is rather difficult transforming the car from a two seater to a 4- place and requires two people to lift the back panels and store them. 2. It so much easier to put up the top for a 2-seater than to get the top up over the car as a 4-place without getting soaked in a sudden downpour. I THINK Tom would have preferred racy looking sport cars like the ones owned by Rudolph Valentino, Garry Grant and the like, but knowing he had “his people” to transport, thought it would be clever to have car that converted to a 4 door car (the back doors bring almost unnoticeable). The idea as good, but Tom not bring an auto engineer, apparently did not in see the mechanical difficulties in his design. Which more likely is why Paige, although adding it to their offers, was not able to sell any others.

By the time I got the Paige, the front seat was worn but the back seat and the mahogany cabinets in the back were as good as new (why Tom designed mahogany cabinets with draws that lock individually, is a big mystery – especially considering if difficult to get into the back seat area).

The car is apparently “all original”, having been in the Grundy family so long. Mrs Grundy Sr. had no idea as to how her husband acquired the car, but did recall the lovely pigskin interior. Jim Gundy Jr. was not able to furnish any information on the car either. It  wasn’t until the editor of the Antique Automobile, West Peterson, called in 2010 to tell me about your book “The Maybelline Story” that we have been able to learn the early history. Do you have any knowledge to my assumption that Tom must have, later on, given the Paige to Mabel or any knowledge who might have been the owner much later on. Or anyone else that might have owned it?

I know you and Chuck Williams and Donna Williams have seen the 1940 Packard that was built and designed for Tom (ref: Antique Automobile Magazine June 2012 issue photo of you with the car). It is located in California. However, I am across the continent in Savannah, Georgia.

Steve and JoEllen Synder first learned of the history of their car, Tom Lyle Williams 1940 Packard Victoria, through Editor West Peterson.

I replaced the front seat with new but matching pigskin (before I learned whose it had been and that it was entirely original). I have had to but in new bearings and new piston rods redesigned as the original design of the 1917 Continental engine had a flaw that would destroy bearings. Just this past week the old (read rusty) fuel tank has been replace with an aluminum tank which was made of the same design.

I am doing everything possible to preserve this bit of automotive history. From the beginning, just buying what I thought was a “cool” car, I had planned on taking it on many antique car rallies (tours), but with the car’s history, I am inclined to believe it should be preserved and used sparingly.

The PETERSEN  AUTO MUSEUM in Los Angles (most beautiful auto museum in the world) specializes in cars with California history. I am sure they would like to have the Maybelline Paige. I would be willing to sell it for less than I have invested, but I’m not prepared, at this point,  to donate it.

In most pictures, the car appears smallish, but it is actually on a 127 inch wheel base.  Here is a photo taken with my wife and me and our dogs on an outing before the publication of your book. Let me know if you were able to download the 6 pages from the Hemmings Classic (or perhaps you have obtain copy of the issue ).
Sorry this email is so long – when talking about this car, I get carried away.

With kind regards, Sincerely, Nevy Clark

To see more amazing pictures of Tom Lyle Williams Maybelline Paige Detroit, known as the most Beautiful Car in the World, visit Hemmings Magazine with the links below

Note, The picture of Tom Lyle, Mabel and their father TJ Williams in the Paige in the Hemmings article, is owned by the Maybelline family and should have been given proper credit.