Friday, March 20, 2009


by Luella O. Parsons
Hollywood, March 20, 1932

George Eastman’s death recalls the opening of his motion picture theater in Rochester. I had the pleasure of being personally conducted through this house which, at that time, was the finest theater in America. A private train brought us to the town he had made famous and the opening was an event I shall never forget. An art gallery containing valuable and fine paintings and a concert room built to encourage good music, stand out in my memory. Mr. Eastman was always doing generous things for the people of his town and this theater was built so that those who love beautiful things might see them. I commented on a beautiful painting that was hung in a bad light and he never rested until we tried it in a dozen places. At that time he gave me an interview although he was shy of the press and hated publicity.


The pitiful story of Mary Nolan should melt the heart of any judge. Mary Nolan never had the chance given other girls. Her mother died when she was 3 years old and her father when she was 9. She was put in an orphanage and raised with 800 other poor, homeless children. When this girl, as Imogene Wilson, went out into the world at 16 with a face so beautiful that men were attracted, she didn’t have a chance. There was no one to tell her anything about the world, and when at 18 she fell in love with Frank Tinney and their romance became sensational front page copy, the name Imogene Wilson was notorious. As Mary Nolan she tried to stage a comeback. She is still trying but if she goes to jail she will be through. As long as the money is paid the jail sentence could be suspended without any loss to anyone. I’d like to see the girl get another chance, and I believe the people who give her another chance will be happier for doing so.


An advance copy of “House for Sale” is on my desk. Elissa Landi, the author, is reported to be the granddaughter of Empress Elizabeth of Austria. Miss Landi herself has never stated whether or not this story is true, but she is generally supposed to be the direct descendent of Empress Elizabeth of Austria and Leopold of Bavaria. Family hasn’t mattered to Miss Landi, who is headed for success in the movies, and who is an author of no mean ability. The first few chapters of “House for Sale” are unusually interesting, and glancing through the rest of the book I know I am going to read it all.


The word “Son” on a watch worn by Creighton Chaney is interesting his friends. He explains that it is part of a collection of jewelry that his mother gave him after the death of his famous father, Lon Chaney. “The watch,” said young Mr. Chaney, “had the single word Lon outlined in diamonds. My mother substituted an “S” for the “L” so the word became son. I like the studs very much, also the cuff links which were my father’s, but the watch is my favorite piece of jewelry.”


Headlines flashed the news last week that Greta Garbo had lost every nickel in the Ivar Kreuger debacle. Greta, who was as uncommunicative about this story as she is about all others, kept her well-known silence. Her manager, Harry Edington, however, talked for her. “Miss Garbo,” he said, “didn’t have a penny invested with Ivar Kreugar. Her money is all in good old American government and municipal bonds, with a Swedish investment to show her loyalty to her own country.” Greta has the reputation for living frugally and saving against the W.K. rainy day, so a loss of money would have been a real blow to her.


One of the letters of congratulation that pleased David and Irene Mayer Selznick the most was sent by Josephine Lovett Robertson. The Selznicks are expecting a little one in August and Mrs. Robertson wrote and said that she realized now that the movies are growing up because this would be the third generation in the movies. There are the two grandfathers, Louis B. Mayer and Louis J. Selznick, there is David, the father, and now, if there is a son, there won’t be anything much to do but follow in the footsteps of his grandfathers and his distinguished Papa. When Junior Laemmle was growing up and the young son of Jesse Lasky was still a boy we talked with great pride about two generations. Now with three we are indeed growing old.

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