April 08, 2016

The Golden Boy Blogathon - A William Holden Celebration - Apartment for Peggy (1948)

Thanks to Virginie for hosting the blogathon. I love William Holden's work. Please visit Virginie's fine blog, The Wonderful World of Cinema.

I'll be focusing on William Holden and his 1948 film Apartment for Peggy. The film also stars Jeanne Crain, Edmund Gwenn, Gene Lockhart, Griff Barnett, Randy Stuart, Betty Ann Lynn, Marion Marshall, and Pati Behrs. I'm also adding a treat for those who love to listen to William's radio work: his performances on Lux Radio Theatre, Screen Directors Playhouse and Suspense. :) Listen to the radio programs via the player below.

Lux Radio Theatre

"Our Town" - May 6, 1940 - William Holden, Martha Scott
"I Wanted Wings" - March 30, 1942 - Ray Milland, William Holden, Veronica Lake
"Christmas Holiday" - September 17, 1945 - Loretta Young, William Holden, David Bruce
"Dear Ruth" - April 26, 1948 - Joan Caulfield, William Holden, Billy De Wolfe
"Apartment for Peggy" - February 28, 1949 - Jeanne Crain, William Holden, Edmund Gwenn
"Dear Wife" - February 19, 1951 - William Holden, Joan Caulfield, Edward Arnold, Mona Freeman
"Sunset Boulevard" - September 17, 1951 - Gloria Swanson, William Holden, Nancy Gates
"Union Station" - April 7, 1952 - William Holden, Nancy Olson, Lyle Bettger
"Submarine Command" - November 17, 1952 - William Holden, Alexis Smith
"Appointment with Danger" - January 19, 1953 - William Holden, Coleen Gray
"High Tor" - June 1, 1953 - William Holden

Screen Directors Playhouse

"Remember the Night" - July 19, 1951 - William Holden, Nancy Gates Director: Mitchell Leisen


"Blood on the Trumpet" - November 9, 1950 - William Holden with special trumpet effects by Ziggy Elman
"Report on the Jolly Death Riders" - August 27, 1951 - William Holden
"Needle in the Haystack" - November 9, 1953 - William Holden
"The Outer Limit" - February 15, 1954 - William Holden

William Holden Fast Facts

Born: William Franklin Beedle, Jr. on April 17, 1918 in O'Fallon, Illinois
Died: November 16, 1981 (age 63) in Santa Monica, California (He suffered a laceration to his forehead and bled to death, after he slipped on a throw rug and hit his head on a table. Claims that he was intoxicated at the time are disputed.)
Father: William Franklin Beedle, Sr. (1891 - 1967)
Mother: Mary Blanche Beedle (née Ball; 1898 - 1990)
Brother: Robert Westfield Beedle (1921 - January 5, 1945) (Navy fighter pilot - Killed in action in World War II.)
Brother: Richard P. Beedle (December 26, 1924 - July 1964)
Wife: Brenda Marshall (born Ardis Ankerson) (1941 - 1971) (divorced)
Adopted: Virginia Gaines (born to Ardis Ankerson and Richard Huston Gaines on November 17, 1937)
Born: Peter Westfield "West" Holden (November 17, 1943 - June 2014)
Born: Scott Porter Holden (May 2, 1946 - January 21, 2005)


Academy Awards

1951 - Nominated - Best Actor in a Leading Role for Sunset Blvd. (1950)
1954 - Won - Best Actor in a Leading Role for Stalag 17 (1953)
1977 - Nominated - Best Actor in a Leading Role for Network (1976)

Primetime Emmy Awards

1974 - Won - Best Lead Actor in a Limited Series - The Blue Knight (1973) - For playing: "Bumper Morgan."

Walk of Fame

Motion Picture - On February 8, 1960. At 1651 Vine Street.

William Holden Photos

Did You Know?

Nicknames: The Golden Boy, Bill, Golden Holden

A hygiene fanatic, he reportedly showered up to four times daily.

He was a Boy Scout.

He enjoyed fireworks displays.

Holden was vice president of the Screen Actors Guild and Parks Commissioner for Los Angeles.

He was so grateful to Barbara Stanwyck for her insistence on casting him in Golden Boy (1939), his first big role, that he reportedly sent her flowers every year on the anniversary of the first day of the filming.

Brian Donlevy was his best man when Holden married Brenda Marshall in 1941. A Congregationalist Church service was planned in Las Vegas. Since William and Brian were still filming The Remarkable Andrew (1942), there were delays and it was 3 a.m. before they arrived for the ceremony. By that time the minister had long gone to bed. It was 4 p.m. Sunday before another preacher could be found to perform the wedding. After they were married, they had a champagne breakfast and hopped a plane back to Los Angeles so Holden and Donlevy could wrap up shooting, and Brenda was off to Canada to film some location footage. It would be three more months before they would have a real honeymoon. (One mishap after another postponed it, including the two of them having to undergo emergency appendectomies!)

Holden did not legally change his name from Beedle until he joined the USAAF in 1942.

For a time in 1943, Holden shared an apartment in Ft. Worth, Texas with baseball superstar Hank Greenberg while both of them were serving stateside in WWII.

Although it is thought by some that J.D. Salinger got the name for his hero Holden Caulfield in The Catcher in the Rye when he saw a marquee for Dear Ruth (1947), starring William Holden and Joan Caulfield, Salinger's first Holden Caulfield story, "I'm Crazy," appeared in Collier's on December 22, 1945, a year and a half before this movie came out.

Considered himself to be a moderate Republican, although he was never involved in any political campaigns and never endorsed a candidate. In 1947 he joined the Committee for the First Amendment to oppose blacklisting in Hollywood, and was later very upset by the blacklisting of his close friends Dalton Trumbo and Larry Parks.

Holden starred alongside Gloria Swanson in Sunset Blvd. (1950) and Judy Holliday in Born Yesterday (1950). Both actresses were nominated for the Best Actress Oscar for their performances in these films. Holliday won.

Holden acted with wife Brenda Marshall professionally for the only time in a December 9, 1951 Theatre Guild on the Air production of "The Lost Weekend."

He was the best man at Ronald and Nancy Reagan's wedding in 1952.

He won Best Actor for his role in Stalag 17 (1953). When accepting his statue at the Academy Awards, he simply stated, "Thank you."

He felt he didn't deserve the Academy Award for Best Actor for Stalag 17 (1953), and that the award should have gone to Burt Lancaster for From Here to Eternity (1953). His wife also felt that the honor was just a belated apology for snubbing his nomination for Sunset Blvd. (1950).

Holden starred alongside Grace Kelly in The Country Girl (1954) and Audrey Hepburn in Sabrina (1954). Both actresses were nominated for the Best Actress Oscar for their performances in these films. Kelly won.

A Japanophile, he befriended actor Toshirô Mifune on a visit to Japan in 1954. After seeing the film Mifune was working on at that time, Samurai I: Musashi Miyamoto (1954), Holden offered to distribute the film in America. The producers agreed to let Holden record a narration to explain the film when it was released in America. This addition led American critics to wrongly think that Holden had recut the film for American distribution.

He turned down Henry Fonda's role in Mister Roberts (1955).

Toward the Unknown (1956) was the only movie made by his production company, "Toluca Productions."

He was originally cast for the lead in The Rainmaker (1956). The role was eventually played by Burt Lancaster.

He turned down Marlon Brando's role in Sayonara (1957) in order to make The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957).

For The Horse Soldiers (1959), both Holden and John Wayne received $775,000 plus 20% of the overall profits, an unheard-of sum for that time. The final contract, heralded as marking the beginning of megadeals for Hollywood stars, involved six companies and numbered twice the pages of the movie's script. The film, however, was a critical and commercial failure, with no profits to be shared in the end.

He was considered for the role of "Maurice Novak" in Career (1959).

He turned down The Guns of Navarone (1961) because producer Carl Foreman wouldn't meet his fee of $750,000 plus 20% of the gross.

He was a favorite actor of First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy but disappointed her immensely when she discovered he was a Republican.

Holden was cast as Pike Bishop in The Wild Bunch (1969) after the role had been turned down by Lee Marvin, Burt Lancaster, James Stewart, Charlton Heston, Gregory Peck, Sterling Hayden, Richard Boone, and Robert Mitchum. Marvin actually accepted the role but pulled out after he was offered a larger pay deal to star in Paint Your Wagon (1969).

He appeared in nine films that were nominated for the Best Picture Oscar: Our Town (1940), Born Yesterday (1950), Sunset Blvd. (1950), The Country Girl (1954), Picnic (1955), Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing (1955), The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), The Towering Inferno (1974), and Network (1976). Of those, only The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) won in the category.

On the American Film Institute's 50 Greatest Screen Legends list, Holden was the Male Legend No. 25.

He was voted the 63rd Greatest Movie Star of all-time by Entertainment Weekly.

He was chosen by Empire magazine as one of the 100 Sexiest Stars in Film History (No. 57).

He appeared among the top ten box office stars six times, as ranked by Quigley Publications' annual poll of movie exhibitors, The Top Ten Money-Making Stars, the definitive list of movie stars' pull at the box office. He actually topped the list in 1956, two years after entering it at No. 7 in 1954, the year he won the Best Actor Oscar with his performance in Stalag 17 (1953). In 1955, he was ranked No. 4, then hit No. 1 for the first and only time in 1956, and then dropped to No. 7 in 1957 before rebounding slightly to No. 6 in 1958. After five straight years in the Top 10, he dropped off the list in 1959 and 1960, but reappeared in the Top Ten in 1961, ranked in eighth place. His 1961 appearance among the Top Ten Box Office stars was his last.

He moved to Switzerland for tax reasons in 1959, and did not return to live in Hollywood until 1967.

He was involved in a horrific road accident in Italy in July 1966. Holden killed another driver in a drunk driving incident for which he received an eight-month suspended sentence.

Holden said that, at some point, he lost his passion for acting and that it eventually just became a job so that he could support himself.

In the last years of his life he increasingly suffered from emphysema.

Held a press conference in late 1980 to deny newspaper reports that he had been diagnosed with lung cancer.

Although married to Brenda Marshall for over 30 years, they were actually separated for most of their marriage. At the time of his death, he was the companion of Patricia Stauffer.

Was an avid art collector. His private collection at his exclusive hilltop home in Palm Springs featured antique Asian art. Upon his death, the priceless collection was donated to the Palm Springs Museum of Art, where it is proudly displayed today.

Holden bequeathed $250,000 to lover Stefanie Powers, $50,000 to former co-star and lover Capucine, and $50,000 to lover Patricia Stauffer. The bulk of his estate was divided between ex-wife Brenda Marshall, their two sons, his stepdaughter, his sister-in-law, and his mother.

HR reported that Holden had signed to play the coach in That Championship Season (1982), but his death precluded that, and he was replaced by Robert Mitchum. Holden had also agreed to co-star with old friend Glenn Ford in "Dime Novel Sunset," which was never made.

Billy Wilder on Holden's death: "If someone had said to me, 'Holden's dead,' I would have assumed that he had been gored by a water buffalo in Kenya, that he had died in a plane crash approaching Hong Kong, that a crazed, jealous woman had shot him, and he drowned in a swimming pool. But to be killed by a bottle of vodka and a night table---what a lousy fade-out of a great guy!"

His ashes were scattered in the Pacific Ocean.

Please read about the history of the William Holden Wildlife Foundation by clicking here. Also, please consider a donation in his memory.

This small plaque on the grounds of the Mount Kenya Safari Club
is dedicated to the memory of actor William Holden.

Apartment for Peggy is a 1948 American comedy-drama film about a depressed professor whose spirits are lifted when he rents part of his home to a young couple. It was based on the novelette An Apartment for Jenny by Faith Baldwin in Hearst's International-Cosmopolitan (March 1947). Campus exteriors were filmed at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Apartment for Peggy does the handy trick of being very evocative of the 1940s while being rooted in the timeless theme of people finding a common ground despite their differences. I believe it's ripe for rediscovery.

Starring Jeanne Crain, William Holden and Edmund Gwenn, Apartment for Peggy is fascinating just from a historic angle, as a relatively realistic look at people coming together during America's World War II-era housing shortage. Although produced on a modest budget, the film was photographed in Technicolor with an autumnal-toned palette which enhance its peculiar 1940s ambiance.

William Holden as Jason Taylor in Apartment for Peggy

Written for the Screen by: George Seaton
From a Novelette by: Faith Baldwin - An Apartment for Jenny
Color by: Technicolor
Technicolor Color Director: Natalie Kalmus Associate: Clemens Finley
Sound Mix: Mono (Western Electric Recording)
Runtime: 96 minutes
Production Dates: Late December 1947 to mid-March 1948
Release Date: October 1, 1948
Music: David Raksin
Musical Direction: Lionel Newman
Orchestral Arrangements: Herbert Spencer, Maurice dePackh, Edward Powell, Urban Thielman, John N. Scott
Director of Photography: Harry Jackson
Art Direction: Lyle Wheeler and Richard Irvine
Set Decorations: Thomas Little and Walter M. Scott
Film Editor: Robert Simpson
Wardrobe Direction: Charles Le Maire
Costumes Designed by: Kay Nelson
Makeup Artists: Ben Nye, Ernie Parks, William Riddle
Hair Stylist: Kay Reed
Special Photographic Effects: Fred Sersen
Sound: E. Clayton Ward and Roger Heman
Produced by: William Perlberg and Darryl F. Zanuck
Production and Distribution Company: 20th Century-Fox Film Corporation
Directed by: George Seaton
Music: Selections from Clarinet Quintet in A Major, Third Movement, First Theme by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Listen to it on the player below. For the production, Mozart's Clarinet Quintet was rearranged for a sextet by Edward Powell and Urban Thielman, with a flute playing the clarinet part.

"Hail to Thee, Dear Alma Mater" - Music by H.S. Thompson - Special Lyrics by Charles Henderson
"I Dreamt I Dwelt in Marble Halls" from The Bohemian Girl - Music by Michael William Balfe - Lyrics by Alfred Bunn - Sung by Jeanne Crain (dubbed by Louanne Hogan)
"Honey" - Music by Richard A. Whiting - Played when Prof. Barnes seeks a will.
"In My Merry Oldsmobile" - Music by Gus Edwards - Played at the beginning of the used car lot scene.

Credited Cast:
Jeanne Crain as Peggy Taylor
William Holden as Jason Taylor
Edmund Gwenn as Prof. Henry Barnes
Gene Lockhart as Prof. Edward Bell
Griff Barnett as Dr. Philip Conway
Randy Stuart as Dorothy
Betty Ann Lynn as Wife
Marion Marshall as Ruth
Pati Behrs as Jeanne

Rest of Cast Listed Alphabetically:
Robert Adler as Mailman (uncredited)
Ronald Burns as Delivery Boy (uncredited)
Hal K. Dawson as Salesman (uncredited)
Helen Ford as Della (uncredited)
Paul Frison as Boy (uncredited)
Charles Lane as Prof. Collins (uncredited)
Henri Letondal as Prof. Roland Pavin (uncredited)
Therese Lyon as Nurse (uncredited)
Gene Nelson as Jerry (uncredited)
Robert Patten as Student (uncredited)
Crystal Reeves as Librarian (uncredited)
Frank J. Scannell as Salesman (uncredited)
Almira Sessions as Mrs. Landon (uncredited)
Ann Staunton as Nurse (uncredited)
Houseley Stevenson as Prof. T.J. Beck (uncredited)
Ray Walker as Carson (uncredited)
Robert Williams as Salesman (uncredited)

Credited Cast: Top Row: L-R - Jeanne Crain, William Holden, Edmund Gwenn
Middle Row: L-R: Gene Lockhart, Griff Barnett, Randy Stuart
Bottom Row: L-R: Betty Ann Lynn, Marion Marshall, Pati Behrs

Professor Henry Barnes, a widower who has been retired from a Midwestern university for eight years, telephones his close friend and fellow chamber music performer, law professor Edward Bell, and asks him to come see him. Henry explains that he needs help preparing his will as he intends to commit suicide. Although Edward rushes over and tells Henry all the reasons why he should not take his own life, Henry continues to feel he no longer is of any use to society. Edward points out that Henry has a lifetime of knowledge to impart via his writings, but Henry declares that when he completes his latest book in three weeks, he will do away with himself. When Edward relates this to his colleagues and fellow chamber music players, they are horrified. One of them, Philip Conway, a medical doctor, arranges to examine Henry and finds him in excellent health and not depressed or bitter. Henry tells Conway that he had a wonderful marriage and, although their son was lost in the war, has had a full and satisfying life. Henry claims that he has not been sleeping well and asks Conway for sleeping pills, but the doctor gives him only two. Later, while Henry is feeding pigeons in the park, young Peggy Taylor sits down on the bench beside him. She tells him that she and Jason, her husband who is studying chemistry on the G.I. Bill, have been looking for an apartment and are expecting a baby. Henry offers to mention their predicament to Edward, who is also the university housing administrator. After a philosophical conversation with Peggy about the pros and cons of suicide, Henry ponders whether he is really "living now." When Edward reveals that during the war two soldiers were temporarily billeted in Henry's attic, the effervescent and determined Peggy goes to Henry's house and talks him into letting her and Jason move into his attic. The couple causes some havoc in Henry's life, blowing fuses, interfering with his writing and adopting a dog, and Henry finds himself calling Philip for more sleeping pills. Peggy and Jason invite Henry to see what they have done to the attic, and he is amazed by the transformation. Over a cup of tea, Jason tells Henry he wants to be a teacher. Later, Peggy does some household chores for Henry and tells him about the gulf in education between G.I. husbands and wives. Peggy maintains that the wives need overview classes so that they can help their husbands, and has suggested to the university that Henry organize such courses. He protests, saying he wants to finish his book but, a few days later, finds himself in a converted Quonset hut in front of a large group of students' wives presenting a lecture on the basics of philosophy. The class is very successful, and Henry takes a new lease on life. When Jason discovers that Peggy hasn't been taking vitamin pills because they don't have enough money to buy them, he talks about quitting school and getting a job. As Jason is telling his chemistry professor that he is going to have to leave school, he is summoned to the the hospital and learns that Peggy has given birth prematurely and the baby has died. While Jason and Henry walk home, Jason asks him, "Why?" but Henry cannot answer. Later, when Henry visits Peggy in the hospital, he finds her in good spirits and tells her that a life wasn't lost, but merely exchanged, as she has saved him from suicide. Jason then leaves for Chicago to take a job selling cars, intending to send for Peggy later. Henry goes to see him at the used car lot and informs him that he can be reinstated and given a job as a teaching assistant, but Jason feels that a teaching job will not be enough for him. Back home, Henry discovers that Peggy plans to go to live with her sister. Unknown to Henry and Peggy, Jason has returned to take the make-up exams and, with the help of Henry's colleagues, passes all but still has to face chemistry. After Henry grows very despondent because Peggy and Jason are apart, and downs several of Philip's pills, Peggy tells his friends that he has taken a a lot of sleeping pills. The doctor, however, informs them that what he prescribed were not sleeping pills but pills that will merely make him slightly uncomfortable. Meanwhile, Peggy is walking Henry back and forth and filling him full of coffee when Jason comes home. Henry explains that he took the pills because they are leaving him. Jason challenges Henry to pull himself together by saying that he can think of many fellows, including Henry's son, who would like to have had the choice he has now. Moved by Jason's words, Henry gets up and starts walking on his own. Later, Henry changes the living arrangements in the house to give the couple more space. The chamber music group is performing once again in Henry's parlor when Peggy and Jason announce that they are going to try to have another baby.


A working title of the film was Apartment for Susie.

According to documents in the 20th Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department and the 20th Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection at the UCLA Arts--Special Collections Library, the studio purchased rights to Faith Baldwin's novelette in April 1947 for $10,000.

Exteriors were shot at the University of Nevada, Reno, in early February 1948.

The legal records suggest that the production may have taken a hiatus for two to three weeks in January.

Griff Barnett replaced Lee J. Cobb in the role of "Dr. Philip Conway."

Sequences featuring Ray Walker as the manager of the used car lot and Crystal Reeves as a librarian appear to have been shot but were eliminated from the final film.

Jeanne Crain was the devoutly Catholic mother of seven.

Edmund Gwenn is the only actor to win an Oscar for playing Santa Claus.

Gene Lockhart wrote the words to the song "The World Is Waiting for the Sunrise" which became a huge post-WWI hit. It was later recorded by Ted Lewis, Benny Goodman, and Duke Ellington; a version by Les Paul and Mary Ford became a million seller in 1951.

Griff Barnett frequently played doctors or lawyers.

Randy Stuart's best-remembered role is Louise Carey, the concerned wife of Scott Carey, played by Grant Williams, in the cult sci-fier The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957).

Betty Lynn played Thelma Lou (Barney Fife's girlfriend) on The Andy Griffith Show.

Marion Marshall was married to Stanley Donen and Robert Wagner.

Pati Behrs was a prima ballerina and a grandniece of Leo Tolstoy. She may be best known as the first of John Derek's wives.

A radio adaptation of the screenplay was performed twice on Lux Radio Theatre, first on February 28, 1949 with Jeanne Crain, William Holden and Edmund Gwenn, and on December 4, 1950 with Crain and William Lundigan.

Versions were also broadcast on the Screen Directors Playhouse on September 2, 1949 and on The Screen Guild Theater on May 31, 1951.

The first Lux Radio Theatre broadcast is the only one I could locate. Listen to it on the player below.

"Apartment for Peggy" on Lux Radio Theatre: February 28, 1949 - Jeanne Crain, William Holden, Edmund Gwenn, Griff Barnett, Alan Reed, Bill Johnstone, Howard McNear, Herbert Butterfield

Screen Captures of William Holden in Apartment for Peggy

Watch Apartment for Peggy


Virginie Pronovost said...

What a well detailed post! :D And the radio stuff is so cool! I haven't time to listen to it now, but I will certainly in the following weeks. Thanks so much for your participation to the blogathon!

The Metzinger Sisters said...

I saw only the first half of Apartment for Peggy and then had to return the DVD 9 it was overdue from the library ) but I enjoyed it very much. I've always liked Bill Holden's roles when he was younger ( prior to his Picnic fame ) and Peggy had a good heart to it. It was sad seeing Edmund Gwenn playing an old man looking forward to suicide however. THanks for adding the Holden radio links. Lux always pulled the same cast from the films for their programs and that's great. Speaking of radio....I recall an episode from Ozzie and Harriet where Ozzie returned from the theater after just watching Apartment for Peggy. Harriet asked him how the film was and he replied : "It was okay. The apartment wasn't much to look at, but Peggy was rather cute". Ha! The things one stores in one's memory.

Anonymous said...

This was a great post. I've never seen "Apartment For Peggy". Must check it out though.

I would also like to let you know that I've been asked to co-host a blogathon dedicated to Olivia in celebration of her centenary in July, and I would love to invite you to join in. The link is below with more details.



What an informative post!
I haven't seen Apartment for Peggy, but I really want to, because I love Jeanne Crain (and I like to style my hair like hers sometimes). It was a great post, you must have pu a lot of effort on it!
Don't forget to read my contribution to the blogathon! :)