Saturday, March 14, 2009

My connection to the Academy Awards

What would you do if you found a picture of a relative on eBay? You'd buy it, wouldn't you? Because I did!

This is my Uncle Costia. He had a pretty interesting life...and apparently enjoyed hamburgers. I don't have many pictures of him, and this is a good one. I wonder which restaurant he was in! This pic is testament to the fact that portion sizes have grown over the years. It's about the size of one you'd find on a value menu.

Here's his bio from Wikipedia:

Dr. Constantin Bakaleinikoff (1898 - 1966) was a Russian-born composer. He studied at the Moscow Conservatory, and following the Russian revolution he came to America with his older brother, composer Mischa Bakaleinikoff. Constantin Bakaleinikoff (pronounced back-a-LAIN-a-koff) worked as a conductor for the Los Angeles Philharmonic before beginning his Hollywood career as a freelance composer. Director Cecil B. DeMille's The King of Kings 1927 premiere at Hollywood's famed Grauman's Chinese Theater, where movie fans filled the boulevard, was hosted by D.W. Griffith and speakers DeMille and Mary Pickford. The audience was treated to a concert of film music "classics" conducted by Constantin Bakaleinikoff.

When sound movies came in, the Bakaleinikoff brothers became studio maestros. Mischa joined Columbia Pictures, while Constantin became a musical director at Paramount Pictures and then MGM. Constantin worked briefly at Columbia, and then for independent Grand National Pictures; he received an Academy Award nomination for scoring the James Cagney feature on Something to Sing About.

Bakaleinikoff soon became the senior musical director at RKO Radio Pictures, where he spent most of his motion picture career. He earned Academy Award nominations for his work on The Fallen Sparrow, Higher and Higher, and None But the Lonely Heart. On Alfred Hitchcock's Notorious (1946), starring Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman, Bakaleinikoff's score complements the director's elements of suspense and danger throughout the film.

Constantin Bakaleinikoff, always billed as "C. Bakaleinikoff," appeared on camera as himself in RKO's backstage musical Ding Dong Williams (filmed 1945, released in April 1946).

He remained at RKO until the studio folded in 1956. He was married to silent film actress Fritzi Ridgeway.

His brother Mischa was my father. And yes, I'm old - but not THAT old. My father was 68 when I was born. My mother was 39. It was Hollywood, what can I say?

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