June 18, 2022
Hooray for Hollywood!
I excitedly “take in” the massive movie backdrop from Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece,
North by Northwest.
Recently, while in South Florida, I stumbled upon some information about a truly unique exhibit (the first featuring these gigantic pieces of art) at the Boca Raton Museum of Art called Art of the Hollywood Backdrop, Cinema’s Creative Legacy. I was immediately intrigued. I love classic movies!
Boca Raton Museum of Art’s brochure for their unique movie backdrop exhibit
Ready for a little Hollywood magic, my son and I set out to see what this Hollywood exhibit had to offer. I must admit, I was in awe at the very first sight! The expansive, and beautifully painted, backdrop from Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest (in my opinion, his best film) was there, stretched out in all its glory before me. It was beautiful.
My son and I pose before the massive and beautiful Mount Rushmore movie backdrop.
To think that those who painstakingly painted these gigantic beauties did so anonymously, working behind the scenes during Hollywood’s ‘”golden age” and beyond. The Boca Raton Museum of Art wants to “recognize them for the masterful illusions they made.”(as stated in their write-up of the exhibit).
It was equally exciting to think that I stood close to the very same backdrop that Hollywood legend, Cary Grant, had once used! Yep, I was just a little starstruck!
The Mount Rushmore backdrop was used in this scene starring
Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint in North by Northwest.
Another view of this iconic 91 foot-wide movie backdrop from the museum’s upper level,
The skill of the artists is amazing!
This backdrop is on loan from the Texas Performing Arts Hollywood Backdrop Collection at the University of Texas.
When viewing this “tapestry” from Marie Antoinette (1938), I was flabbergasted to discover that it is actually a painting, and not a real tapestry! Another surprise awaited me when researching for this blog post! I learned that this piece was also seen in the film North by Northwest during the auction scene, twenty-one years later!
This “tapestry” was used in the auction scene in North by Northwest,
having been used before that in Marie Antoinette.
My DVD copy of this Hitchcock classic.
North by Northwest (1959)
While attending a huge, annual, church community’s rummage sale this week, I spied this.
I just HAD to take a photo to add to this post! :O)
No Cary Grant here, unfortunately, though.
I wonder if this piece sold?
Singin’ In the Rain
The fun continued as we continued to immerse ourselves in the movie world of backdrops. The Singing’ in the Rain backdrop was another of my personal favorites, complete with an area for selfies including a couch and a headless dummy, just like in the film.
You can watch a clip of Donald O’Connor’s (and the dummy’s) rollicking song and dance, “Make ’em Laugh”, here.
The “Make ’em Laugh” dummy and I, having a nice visit :o)
This backdrop is on loan from the Motion Picture Academy in
Donald O’Connor performs his memorably entertaining
“Make ’em Laugh” song and dance sequence.
This photo is courtesy of the Boca Raton Museum of Art.
You guessed it, I have a DVD copy of this movie, too!
Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
The Sound of Music
The final two backdrops that I share, surprised me, as they came from the movie The Sound of Music. Knowing that The Sound of Music was filmed on location in Salzburg/Austria, I did not expect to see a backdrop for this movie, let alone two! I am guessing that the backdrops were used upon the film’s completion of location shooting, when back in California.
You can read about the movie locations of The Sound of Music, here and here.
The backdrop for Salzburg, as seen out the convent window.
My son and I enjoy the mountains of Salzburg. :O)
The backdrop for the Von Trapp’s back terrace.
An actual location shot of the Von Trapp’s back terrace in Austria.
This photo is courtesy of the Boca Raton Museum of Art.
Yep, I have a DVD copy of this one, too! :o)
The Sound of Music (1965)
There were no original Disney backdrops on display in this exhibit,
but this photo and quote were prominently displayed.
This Walt Disney quote was displayed prominently at the beginning of the museum exhibit.
It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.
Thank you for the Boca Raton Museum of Art for their generous sharing of information.
Read more about this wonderful exhibit, and its history, here.
Watch this six-minute CBS Sunday Morning program for a brief history of, and about preserving movie backdrops, here.
The Brown Derby
After walking around and enjoying the backdrop museum exhibits, I get hungry. When I get hungry, I think of Hollywood, and when I think of Hollywood, I think of the famous Brown Derby! And when I think of the famous Brown Derby, I naturally think of of their often re-created Cobb Salad!
The Brown Derby, note that the building is shaped like a derby/hat, on Wilshire Blvd.
Let’s back up just a little bit, and discuss this once hat-shaped establishment. The Brown Derby Restaurant is, alas, now only a “blast from the past”. But, during its glory days, The Hollywood Brown Derby Restaurant was known as the hangout for celebrity movers and shakers.
(There were actually five Brown Derby Restaurants at one time in the Los Angeles area. Read about those, here.) Now, The Brown Derby only exists in The Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World. And it is here that one can
dine on a truly spectacular Cobb Salad!
The delicious Cobb Salad as served at Walt Disney World’s
The Hollywood Brown Derby.
A recipe card from Walt Disney World for Cobb Salad
According to The Brown Derby Cookbook (My son kindly gave me a copy one year for Christmas.) the Cobb Salad was hastily arranged from leftovers by the restaurant’s owner, Bob Cobb. Finding an avocado in the refrigerator, he chopped it up, along with lettuce, celery, tomato, bacon and salad dressing. A few days later, he made it again, but added more ingredients, perfecting it into the now famous Cobb Salad.
According to The Brown Derby Cookbook,
(My son kindly gave me this copy one year for Christmas.)
the Cobb Salad was hastily arranged from random ingredients found in the refrigerator
by the restaurant’s owner Bob Cobb.
And, if you have never seen it, check out The Brown Derby episode called L.A. at Last! (1955) of
I Love Lucy.
It’s my favorite I Love Lucy episode.! (Season 4, Episode 17)
Ingredients Needed for This Recipe
The basic ingredients needed to make Cobb Salad
The Brown Derby Cobb Salad
1/2 head iceberg lettuce
1/2 head romaine lettuce
2 medium tomatoes, chopped with seeds removed
1 1/2 cups cooked turkey breast, diced
3 eggs, hard-boiled, slice or dice
1/2 cup blue cheese, crumbled
6 strips crisp bacon, crumbled
1-2 tablespoons chopped chives
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 cup red-wine vinegar
Juice of 1/4-1/2 lemon
1/2 tablespoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon English mustard, if you have it on hand
1/2 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cups salad oil
Chop all greens very fine and arrange in salad bowl.
Cut tomatoes in half, remove seeds, and dice fine.
Also fine dice the turkey, avocado, & eggs (or slice eggs).
(If you like, you can now just mix it up, add the dressing, and eat it, or…)
Arrange the above ingredients, as well as the blue cheese and bacon crumbles, in straight lines across the greens.
Arrange the chives diagonally across the above lines.
Present the salad at the table, then toss with the dressing (below).
Place on chilled plates.
Blend all ingredients except oils, then add olive oil and salad oils and mix well.
Blend well again before mixing with salad.
Keep under refrigeration.
Cooking with Gammy
Eric Carle’s, The Very Hungry Caterpillar was a particular favorite of one of my son’s in his toddler years. It was a “blast from the past”, then, as I settled down to read this children’s classic with his precious two-year old daughter/my granddaughter. Making a craft and a donut caterpillar was just
” the icing on the cake”. (See what I did there? hee hee)
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
To recreate this delicious donut caterpillar, “glue” together
mini chocolate-covered donuts with frosting.
Add vanilla white chocolate discs for eyes, and use pretzels for the antennae and a mouth.
This construction paper caterpillar was made with strips of green paper taped together,
a red circle taped on the front for a head, and embellished with glued on green eyes and brown antennae.
Allow for the paper sections to be colored and decorated prior to assembling.
Made Me Smile :O)
How could I not smile when this sweet, sweet note arrived in my mailbox today?!
My five year-old granddaughter dictated it to my son, and he wrote it down verbatim.
I love it! I have been smiling ever since I opened this!!! :o)
It was a delight to view the magical The Wizard of Oz on the big screen on June 5th!
(I also enjoyed seeing it, here, in 2015.)
These two little bunnies greeted me on a recent walk in my neighborhood.
Always a soft touch for Disney Park-related recipes, and with an Amazon gift card “burning a hole in my pocket”, I was happy to find this goodie, Ashley Craft’s The Unofficial Disney Parks Epcot Cookbook, on my doorstep this week! Can’t wait to try out a few of the delicious looking recipes!
I had to chuckle when I read this! Ha
From the Archives
Check out these related blog posts from the past, below.
Just click “here” after the blog title, and enjoy.
A recreated scene from The Wizard of Oz on ( the former ) The Great Movie Ride
at Walt Disney World in 2014.
Dole Whip Mama, or Rubbin’ Elbows with Mickey, January 2019, here.
Rick Springfield and Floating cars…Another Glorious Visit to Walt Disney World!,
April 2019, here.
My Birthday with Disney, April 2016, here.
A Girls’ Disney Weekend, February 2015, here.
We’re Off to See the Wizard (of Oz movie), January 2015, here.
Annette’s Big Family Vacation Scrapbook:…Disney World!, July 2014, here.
Walt Disney World Really Cooks!, July 2013, here.
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A view of the iconic “Hollywood” sign in 2015.
See more about that trip, here.
I think the Boca Raton Museum of Art was created for you!!! What a great thing to see!
Love the story about how the Cobb salad was created.
Looks like you had a wonderful visit with your son and family!
You may be right, Michelle! :o)
Annette, as always I enjoyed your blog. I loved the back drops. Very interesting. Glad you and the son could go. You two look as if you were having a good time.-Renee Kayser
Thank you, Renee! It is so good to hear your positive feedback about my latest post.
The exhibit was so fun!
Really enjoyed this blog… very interesting! You have so much information! Will have to read it again and find out more things and check out the Cobb salad dressing recipe! Yum….
Thank you! It was such a fun exhibit! Let me know what you think of the Cobb Salad! :o)
Your blogs have such a sweet inquisitive joy with them. Thank you for sharing these details that are so important in your life – I’d love to go to the museum one day! ~Kim
Thank you for reading, Kim,
and for your sweet feedback.
I do strive to put joy in each post, as I believe that we can all use a smile each day. :o)