Oh, The Places She’ll Go: A Map of Esther Williams’ Travels

When I think of Esther Williams, the pool at Michigan’s Grand Hotel always comes to mind! As one of the hotel’s many amenities, the pool is named after one of Hollywood’s most popular stars because the movie, This Time for Keeps, was filmed at the hotel. As I thought about this beloved place in the Great Lakes State, I started to wonder if there were other places across the country or the world where Esther left her legacy. I also thought about the places where Esther visited or frequented. This became the inspiration for my entry in Michaela’s Esther Williams Blogathon! My list consists of nine locations that share a connection with the actress herself. Each listing will feature facts and insight about that specific spot. I wasn’t able to visit any of these places due to the Coronavirus. Because of this, I had to include screenshots from my phone of photos I found on the internet. Most of the information in this list is from Esther’s Wikipedia page.


The Esther Williams Blogathon banner created by Michaela from Love Letters to Old Hollywood. Image found at http://loveletterstooldhollywood.blogspot.com/2020/06/esther-williams-blogathon-announcement.html.

Manhattan Beach

Location: Los Angeles County, California

Status: Active

If we’re going to talk about the places in Esther’s life, we need to start with the beginning of her story. Born in Inglewood, California, Esther visited Manhattan Beach with her sister, Maurine, according to Wikipedia. While it’s unknown which specific places Esther frequented, it’s safe to assume she would have found a way to partake in the sport that brought her joy. On the Parks and Recreation site for Manhattan Beach, I came across the page for Begg Pool. Offering classes and times for lap and recreational swimming, the Begg Pool provides swimmers with a place to learn new skills and grow as athletes. As I was explored Manhattan Beach’s Park and Recreation site, I discovered the offering of performance arts classes. I also came across the page for the annual Shakespeare by the Sea event. Having these acting opportunities available in Manhattan Beach makes a lot of sense when it comes to discussing Esther Williams. Because she became an actress after she became an established swimmer, the inclusion of acting and swimming in Manhattan Beach serves the best of both worlds.




Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen. Photo originally found at https://www.citymb.info/departments/parks-and-recreation/aquatics.

Los Angeles Athletic Club

Location: Los Angeles, California

Status: Active

On Wikipedia, there is a picture of Esther at the Los Angeles Athletic Club that was taken in 1939. The site also lists her as one of the club’s notable members. When I explored the official website of the Los Angeles Athletic Club, I got the impression the club served as a place for athletes to take their sport seriously. It would make sense for Esther to spend her time at this location, especially since she was an Olympic hopeful. Similar to Manhattan Beach’s Begg Pool, the Aquatics facility at the Los Angeles Athletic Club offers swimming classes. They also provide a conditioning club and a clinic.  Looking at the photo of the pool itself, the main takeaway is the simple style this space boasts. The black and white color palette makes the area seem like it is frozen in time, with the design choice of stripes bringing a sense of elegance. These elements create a facility that feels as timeless as the actress who went there!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Los_Angeles_Athletic_Club (the club’s official website is included in this Wikipedia page)

Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen. Photo originally found at https://laac.com/athletics/aquatics/.

Treasure Island

Location: San Francisco, California

Status: Active

In the year, 1940, Esther starred in a water spectacle called ‘Aquacade’. This show was held during the Golden Gate International Exposition in San Francisco. The official location of this exposition was Treasure Island, “an artificial island in the San Francisco Bay and a neighborhood in the City and County of San Francisco”, according to Wikipedia. If you’ve never visited this island or had no idea this location existed until you read this article, you might think of the famous ‘Pleasure Island’ from the beloved classic Pinocchio. However, Treasure Island is nothing like the island from Pinocchio’s story. In fact, it serves as a community that could be similar to your own backyard. The island’s official website lists many resources that will sound familiar, such as a bike shop and restaurants. What I find interesting is how an extraordinary event like the Golden Gate International Exposition was held on an island that seems ordinary. It would be fun to travel back in time to see Treasure Island transformed into an elaborate world stage!



Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen. Photo originally found at https://www.kqed.org/forum/2010101854779/massive-redevelopment-underway-for-treasure-island.

The Beverly Hills Hotel

Location: Beverly Hills, California

Status: Active

Wikipedia states that one of the clauses in Esther Williams’ contract with MGM was “that she receive a guest pass to The Beverly Hills Hotel where she could swim in the pool every day”. After watching a video featuring this pool on the hotel’s website, I definitely see the appeal of this location! Similar to the Los Angeles Athletic Club’s Aquatics facility, stripes are a design staple around the pool. They can be found in the seat cushions and the table umbrellas. Pink, green, and white serve as the the pool area’s color palette. Cabanas surrounding the pool showcase this palette beautifully. With the accent wall boasting a green leaf pattern, the two surrounding walls are a solid pink. A crème sofa and chair serve as seating options in this space. Wood furniture completes the overall look, capturing a classic style that has stood the test of time!


Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen. Image originally found at https://www.dorchestercollection.com/en/los-angeles/the-beverly-hills-hotel/the-pool/.

The Esther Williams Pool

Location: Mackinac Island, Michigan

Status: Active

Another hotel pool Esther frequented that joins this list! Mackinac Island’s Grand Hotel was the filming location for the 1947 film, The Time for Keeps. Because of Esther’s involvement in the movie, the pool has been officially named the Esther Williams Pool!  Tanda Gmiter from MLive writes how Esther Williams and her film benefited the hotel’s longevity. The years when World War II took place were difficult for Mackinac Island’s crown jewel. The article states “during those lean war years, the Grand Hotel faced the same dismal predicament shared by many resorts: A long-term lack of paying guests”. However, a chance encounter would change the course of history for the hotel and those associated with the movie. Tanda says “someone connected to the film had seen a little 10-minute travelogue featuring the island that was done in 1944. When they were scouting sites for the Williams’ film, Mackinac seemed like a natural fit”. Since the release of The Time for Keeps, Grand Hotel has experienced years of success and has become an icon in Michigan.



Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen. Photo originally found at https://www.mlive.com/travel/2018/07/how_a_hollywood_star_in_a_swim.html.

Cypress Gardens

Location: Winter Haven, Florida

Status: Preserved

The 1953 movie, Easy to Love, was filmed in this particular destination, “where a swimming pool in the shape of the state of Florida had been built specifically for the film”. Wikipedia says “Cypress Gardens was a botanical garden and theme park near Winter Haven, Florida that operated from 1936 to 2009”. It was the Sunshine State’s first theme park, boasting attractions like water skiing, dinner cruises, and garden tours. This location was included in a 2014 list from the National Register of Historic Places.  Easy to Love was not the only Florida-filmed project Esther worked on, as she starred in multiple movies and television programs from the ‘50s and ‘60s. While the theme park has been closed and replaced with another one, Legoland Florida, the botanical garden is preserved inside the new park. In fact, it is included as one of their featured attractions!





While the Florida shaped pool still takes residence in Legoland Florida, it’s now used as a fountain. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen. Image originally found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tiBkULOrf7Y.

Wembley Arena

Location: London, England

Status: Active

According to Wikipedia, Esther “starred in an aqua-special at Wembley Stadium in London”. A photo from 1956 reveals the event actually took place at Empire Pool, which is located near Wembley Stadium. The website Television Obscurities shares how this event was meant to serve as a part of an on-going tour lasting from 1956 to 1958. Poor reviews for the 1957 show caused this tour to be cut short. While I wasn’t able to find any photos of this event and a recording of the event itself hasn’t resurfaced, the Empire Pool is still part of the English community. Now known as the Wembley Arena, this venue hosts concerts covering a variety of musical genres. The arena is located in Wembley Park, a hub for attractions, entertainment, and leisure activities.


If you want to learn more about the aqua-special, you can visit the website, tvobscurities.com, and type Esther’s name into the search bar located at the bottom of the page.

Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen. Photo originally found at https://wembleypark.com/attractions/the-sse-arena-wembley/.

The Raleigh Hotel

Location: Miami Beach, Florida

Status: Active

2010 saw the introduction of the Raleigh Hotel’s Esther Williams suite. This room “incorporates a beach summer theme”, with a basic color palette of white and beige allowing pops of color to be seen. Bright hues of blue, peach, and teal are found in pillows, towels, and curtains. There are three separate areas within the suite: the bedroom, the bathroom, and the main sitting area. Like the pool at The Beverly Hills Hotel and the Los Angeles Athletic Club’s Aquatics facility, the overall design of the suite captures a moment in time. While the style in this space is simple, it does help carry the consistency of the hotel. Its chic and vintage aesthetic make this location appear photogenic.




Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen. Photo originally found at https://www.suiteness.com/suites/united-states/florida/miami/the-raleigh-hotel/the-esther-williams-suite.

The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel

Location: Los Angeles, California

Status: Active

As we come to an end in our journey through Esther’s travels, we return to the place where we began: California. When Esther attended the first annual Turner Classic Movies Classic Film Festival, there was a screening of her film, Neptune’s Daughter, at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel’s pool. This choice was fitting, since she spent a lot of time around pools during her life. The style around this area is much simpler than The Beverly Hills Hotel’s pool area. However, it works with its respective hotel’s interior designs. The white pool chairs with the hotel’s official monogram promote a more classic flare that is carried throughout the hotel. It lets the pool itself be the focal point, with the light and dark shades of blue complimenting the chairs surrounding it. This space provides a memorable view from the various suites that are offered. With the hotel itself surrounding the pool, it makes this feature as celebrated as Esther Williams herself.


Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen. Photo originally found at https://www.thehollywoodroosevelt.com/pool/tropicana-pool-cafe.

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: Sister of the Bride Review

Before I saw Sister of the Bride, I was originally going to post my review of Moulin Rouge!, in honor of receiving 110 followers on 18 Cinema Lane. But since I haven’t reviewed a Hallmark movie in about two months, I decided to review the latest film from the “June Weddings” line-up. As for the Moulin Rouge! review, that will come as soon as possible. Over these past two years, I have not been a fan of the last film that has premiered in the “June Weddings” line-up. My Favorite Wedding was less-than-stellar and Yes, I Do became one of the worst Hallmark movies I’ve ever seen. So, when I learned that Sister of the Bride would be the last movie in this line-up, I set my expectations very low. The synopsis and the trailer seemed too ridiculous for my liking. However, I still wanted to give this movie a fair chance and watch it with an open mind. Did I finally find a final “June Weddings” movie that was good? Let’s read this review of Sister of the Bride before anyone “speaks now or forever holds their peace”!

Sister of the Bride poster
Sister of the Bride poster created by Crown Media Family Networks and Hallmark Channel. Image found at https://www.crownmediapress.com/Shows/PRShowDetail?SiteID=142&FeedBoxID=845&NodeID=302&ShowType=&ShowTitle=Sister+of+the+Bride.

Things I liked about the film:

  • The acting: The acting in Sister of the Bride was, for the most part, good! I have seen Becca Tobin’s acting performances in A Song for Christmas and Love at First Dance. While I haven’t really been a fan of these Hallmark films, I’ve noticed that Becca always puts in the effort to give the best acting performance she can. In Sister of the Bride, Becca’s acting performance was pleasant to watch! Because of this, it helped her character be as likable as she was. I had also seen Ryan Rottman in Christmas Wonderland before watching Sister of the Bride. His acting performance in both of these films was good! Ryan’s character had the right amount of charm to make him a pleasant individual.


  • The lessons and messages: As I’ve mentioned in my reviews of other Hallmark films, relatable and interesting lessons and messages can usually be found in Hallmark’s stories. There were some lessons and messages in Sister of the Bride that I was made aware of while watching the film. One in particular was how fruit tarts were the favorite dessert of the Founding Fathers. I’m not sure if this is accurate information. But if it is, I would find this to be a fascinating tidbit. A message that I liked seeing within this movie was about thoughtfulness, specifically in relation to the characters of Ben and Stephanie’s father. I won’t spoil it for anyone who hasn’t seen this movie yet. But I thought this part of the story was very touching and heart-felt.


  • A unique location: In most of Hallmark’s movies, the story takes place in a fictional, suburban setting. The location in Sister of the Bride was Palm Springs, Florida. This was a great change in scenery because it’s not often for a Hallmark movie to take plan in this state. From the palm trees to the sunny weather, it looked different from some of the other Hallmark movies within this line-up of films. It shows what each of the states has to offer when including important elements to a given story!

Group of People Waving American Flags in Back Lit
Children holding American flags during a sunset image created by rawpixel.com at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/people”>People photo created by rawpixel.com – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

What I didn’t like about the film:

  • A limited incorporation of Independence Day: In Sister of the Bride, Stephanie wants to get married on Independence Day. While this holiday did play a role in the film, it felt like an underappreciated supporting character. There were Independence Day decorations, as well as a festival. But it didn’t feel like the holiday had as big of a significance as other holidays did in previous Hallmark movies. This seemed like the network made a weak attempt at making up for the lack of new, Independence Day content.


  • Too many subplots: I said in the introduction that this film’s synopsis and trailer seemed too ridiculous for me. The reason for this is how many stories were incorporated into the overall narrative. When I watched Sister of the Bride, I discovered that there were about six subplots found in this movie. This felt like too much was going on in the film, preventing me from focusing on one specific subplot. If there would have been one or two main plots with an additional subplot, the overall story would have been much more cohesive.


  • A dose of awkwardness: Throughout Sister of the Bride, there were a few moments that came across as awkward. A perfect example is this is anytime Stephanie’s father made antagonizing comments about Ben. I was confused as to whether it was supposed to be funny or just show that Stephanie’s father didn’t like Ben. Either way, these moments always came across as awkward.

Beautiful wedding dance
First wedding dance image created by Teksomolika at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/newlyweds-dancing-at-their-wedding_983404.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/wedding”>Wedding image created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

My overall impression:

I’m happy to say that Sister of the Bride is better than My Favorite Wedding and Yes, I Do! But, at the same time, Sister of the Bride could have been a stronger film. This story had some interesting ideas that I thoroughly enjoyed seeing in this movie. However, the overall project was held back by having too many stories to keep track of. I’ve seen almost all of the “June Weddings” movies from this year. Compared to last year’s line-up, the 2019 collection of “June Weddings” movies were much stronger! Out of all the films that I’ve seen in this particular line-up, The Last Bridesmaid is still the best one, in my opinion. It’ll be interesting to see how next year’s “June Weddings” collection compares to the movies that aired this year.


Overall score: 6.1 out of 10


Have you seen the movies from Hallmark’s “June Weddings” line-up? Which one is your favorite? Let me know in the comment section!


Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: Wild Oranges Review + 95 Follower Thank You

18 Cinema Lane received 95 followers last week! To all of my followers, thank you for helping me achieve this milestone! Your interest in this blog means a lot to me. Because I now have 95 followers, I can review a film that was released 95 years ago (in 1924). One day, when I was scrolling through Turner Classic Movies’ (TCM’s) schedule, I discovered a film called Wild Oranges. Before choosing this movie for this post, I had never heard of this title. In fact, the only silent film I’ve seen prior to the aforementioned movie was The Kid, starring Charlie Chaplin. So, I thought this would be a good opportunity to expand my cinematic horizons. According to the pre-movie commentary, Wild Oranges was one of the first movies to be filmed on-location as well as having a smaller cast. These facts interested me into seeing how they would work within the overall context of the film. Before I begin this review, I would just like to share that I actually ate oranges while watching Wild Oranges (I thought it would appropriately fit the occasion).

Wild Oranges poster
Wild Oranges poster created by Goldwyn Pictures. Image found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Wild_Oranges_(film_poster).jpg

Things I liked about the film:

  • The acting: Because Wild Oranges is a silent movie, the actors have to rely on body language, facial expressions, and actions/behaviors to portray what their characters are saying and feeling. All of the actors in this cast accomplished their goal of doing just that! The acting performances in this movie played an essential role in telling this story, helping to fill in the blanks when words were not available. These performances were also well-rounded, adding to the intrigue and investment of the film. Looking back, I believe the most memorable performance in this movie came from Charles A. Post as the film’s antagonist, Iscah Nicholas! Despite the unheard dialogue, Charles effectively conveyed the nasty and disturbing nature that his character contained. This performance truly added a sense of suspense and dread whenever he appeared on-screen.


  • The scenery: As I mentioned in the introduction, Wild Oranges was one of the first movies to be filmed on-location. According to TCM’s pre-movie commentary, this movie was filmed in Georgia and Florida. Filming on-location was the right decision, as it gave a sense of realism to the movie. The natural elements of the scenery, from the forests to the dilapidated home of the Stope family, added a haunting feel to the overall atmosphere. Even the beauty of the beachfront was captured very well within the lighter moments of the film. This element made Wild Oranges a wonderful sight to see!


  • The use of title cards: While the body language, facial expressions, and actions/behaviors of the actors helped carry the story, there were times when title cards were necessary. In Wild Oranges, title cards were used to not only highlight the dialogue between the characters, but also to transition between scenes. These title cards provided some depth to the narrative, as it explained things that the acting performances couldn’t. Having the title cards be presented on illustrations of oranges trees was very creative. It also fit with the continuity of the film.

Forest in Georgia image created by Roger Kirby at freeimages.com. “FreeImages.com/Roger Kirby.”

What I didn’t like about the film:

  • A limited amount of title cards: While I liked the use the title cards in Wild Oranges, I thought that the amount of them was fewer than I’d expected. Some scenes were accompanied with very few title cards to support the dialogue or other details within the narrative. This left me guessing as to what was going on in the film. It also debunked my personal stereotypical view of title cards in silent films, where title cards are used to explain everything. Wild Oranges definitely could have benefited from the use of more title cards.


  • The run-time: At an hour and twenty-eight minutes, I felt that Wild Oranges was a little too long. Sometimes, there were scenes that went on longer than they should have. Two examples of this are a fight sequence between the antagonist and protagonist as well as a boating scene. If these scenes were a little bit shorter, it would have had a big impact on the overall run-time. In my opinion, this movie should have been, at least, an hour.


  • An unclear connection between Nicholas and the Stope family: While watching this movie, I was really confused about the connection between Nicholas and the Stope family. Sure, Nicholas was in love with Millie. However, Nicholas was allowed on the Stope family property without any issues. Even though Millie revealed more about Nicholas’ character to John Woolfolk, it didn’t explain what his connection was to her family. The only thing I was able to do was guess this connection as I continued watching the film.

Oranges in tree image created by Jose Luis Navarro at freeimages.com. “FreeImages.com/Jose Luis Navarro.”

My overall impression:

The silent film genre is one that I don’t watch often. The two reasons for this are 1.) Silent films are not as easily available as other genres and 2.) The on-screen events might be confusing to decipher without dialogue. Despite these concerns, I ended up having an enjoyable experience watching Wild Oranges! Part of this has to do with the fact that I was able to provide my own personal commentary to the film. Besides this, the movie itself stands on its own, thanks to the merits found in the film. The various creative pieces came together to tell a cohesive story. The historic choices that were made, such as filming on-location, ended up working in this film’s favor. It gave the project a special uniqueness that helped make the film so memorable. If you haven’t seen silent films before and would like to give them a chance, I think Wild Oranges is a good introduction to the genre!


Overall score: 7.6 out of 10


Have you seen any silent films? Would you want to give silent films a chance? Put your thoughts in the comment section!


Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Word on the Street: Hallmark Channel’s “A Gift to Remember” will receive a sequel and other Hallmark-related movie news

When it comes to Hallmark related movie news, most of my topics have been based on things that I found on What’s Filming, a Canadian website that lists the production dates for upcoming movie and television projects. However, I recently found some interesting pieces of movie news on IMDB and a news article from Florida. All of these stories in this Word on the Street post are about projects that are either confirmed or speculated to be Hallmark movies. While two of these movies will likely premiere during the Christmas season, one of them has no known seasonal affiliation. As usual, I will report on the movie news and share my thoughts on each news story. So, let’s begin talking about these exciting movie details!

Rows of red seats in a theater
Empty theater photo created by rawpixel.com at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background photo created by rawpixel.com – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

While doing research for a potential Word on the Street topic, I came across an upcoming Hallmark film that was listed on IMDB. It looks like 2017’s A Gift to Remember will receive a sequel! According to the official IMDB page for the film, some of the cast members from the first movie will return for the continuation. At this time, Hallmark has not made any announcements about this film or its potential release date. I am surprised that out of all the Christmas movies that were released on Hallmark in 2017, A Gift to Remember would be the one to receive a sequel. I haven’t seen this film, but based on the synopsis, the story doesn’t seem to lend itself to a second chapter. However, I felt the same way when Christmas in Evergreen received a sequel. The film, Christmas in Evergreen: Letters to Santa, exceeded my expectations. It was not only the best newly released Christmas movie I saw last year, but it was also one of the best movies I saw in 2018!

You can check out the official page for “A Gift to Remember 2” on IMDB.

Cute Christmas image created by freepik at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by freepik – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

Yesterday, I found an article from the website, WFLA 8. In this article, it was reported that a Hallmark movie called “Love in the Sun” would be filming in the Safety Harbor area. According to WFLA 8, the movie is “a G-rated love story and Safety Harbor will be depicted as the female star’s hometown”. No other details have been revealed about the film. Off the top of my head, I can’t recall a Hallmark movie that has been filmed in Florida. So, this change in scenery will be very interesting to see when this movie finally premieres. Because this film will be a “love story”, it is likely that “Love in the Sun” will be a Hallmark Channel production.

If you want to check out the reference from this story, you can visit this link:


Happy sun image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by freepik – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

Earlier this month, I talked about an upcoming Christmas movie called “A Ring for Christmas”. The reason why this movie was speculated to be a Hallmark film was because the network was referenced in several Instagram photos containing the hashtag #aringforchristmas. Recently, I came across the official IMDB page for this film. While it’s still unknown if this project will belong to Hallmark, we now know what the movie will likely be about. Featured below is the film’s synopsis that was found on “A Ring for Christmas’” official IMDB page.


“Spoiled single girl Angie Moore gets cut off 25 days before Christmas. When she discovers the existence of a sizeable trust fund that she will inherit once she gets married, Angie decides to find a man to marry – by Christmas”.


Personally, I would be surprised if this became a Hallmark movie. Based on the synopsis, it sounds like the protagonist is very deceitful and self-centered. This is quite different from the friendly and down-to-earth personalities that are usually seen from Hallmark protagonists. Not only has the official cast been listed on the IMDB page, but also an expected release date. As of late March 2019, “A Ring for Christmas” is scheduled to premiere on December 19th. Both the release date and synopsis could change as time goes on.

You can check out the official page for “A Ring for Christmas” on IMDB.

Jewels sparkle in the golden wedding rings lying on the leather
Fancy jewelry image created by Freepic.diller at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/wedding”>Wedding photo created by freepic.diller – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

What are our thoughts on these movie news stories? Are you excited about any of these movies? Share your thoughts in the comment section!


Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen