Monday, February 23, 2009
From: Telling on Hollywood
By Robert Grandon
March 17, 1932
Keep your eyes peeled the next time you view a Joseph Von Sternberg production. In at least one scene of the film you will observe a black cat. It’s a superstition of Marlene Dietrich’s sponsor to flaunt Lady Luck in every film with this brunette kitty. Name a Hollywood star, and I’ll name a superstition.
Pola Negri has an animal complex, too. She sees to it that a “leetle peeg” is brought on the set before her first scene is shot.
“See a pin and pick it up,” is Helen Twelvetrees’ motto, so she always searches for a new pin on the way to a new production.
When Samuel Colt Barrymore walks on the Paramount set these days he carries on the “red apple” tradition of the Barrymore family, just as Mother Ethel and Uncles Lionel and John did before him… for every member of the Barrymore family in first appearance on the stage has carried a red apple.
Genevieve Tobin refuses absolutely to wear a green dress on the set or off… Tom Keane, you may know him as George Duryea – won’t ride a pinto pony in his westerns… a pinto is as poisonous to him as green is to Genevieve.
Thirteen is as lucky as unlucky as ever… Ralph Bellamy never carries money totaling at that figure either in amount or number of bills, coins, or both…
And Charles Farrell and Virginia Valli postponed their wedding one day when they found it was on Friday, the thirteenth.
Stage superstitions are many and time honored but Hollywood is originating its own.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
FILM ACTRESS TO WED TODAY
(Fenton/Dvorak photo appears
courtesy of www.anndvorak.com)
Hollywood, Cal. Mar. 17 (AP)
Friends of Ann Dvorak, who recently was signed for leading roles by Warner Brothers film studios, and Leslie Fenton, also of the screen, said today the couple planned to go by airplane to Yuma, Ariz., where they would be married this afternoon.
Miss Dvorak recently was selected to lead in “Central Park,” which is to be filmed in New York City. Fenton is well known as one of the younger actors in Hollywood, his performance in “What Price Glory?” having been generally acclaimed.
From Luella O. Parsons
Los Angeles, March 17
Hollywood is soon to gain Claudette Colbert as a regular resident. She moves here shortly and in the future her studio address will be the Paramount Studios on Melrose avenue.
This will be her second visit to our town. She came here last Fall to visit her husband, Norman Foster, and since that time he has commuted twice via airplane to see her.
The first Hollywood-made drama of Miss Colbert is “The Bride of the Enemy,” now being put in scenario form by Oliver Garrett. Little is said about the origin of the story but much is said about Miss Colbert’s role and about the part for Clive Brook.
The dignified, aloof Brook plays the male lead. We are for him 100 per cent if he will be a little less stiff and a little more human.
One of the nicest Hollywood weddings of this year or any other was that, yesterday, of Joan Bennett and Gene Markey. There was no grand air of seclusion, it was all so simple, so natural and so lacking in theatricals.
After the ceremony, Joan suggested that she throw her bouquet out the window to the hundreds of girls and boys who had been waiting since early morning to see her. “Everyone here is married,” she told Gene, “and it means so much to those people outside.” I regret to say when finally a girl in the crowd caught the orchids and Lilies-of-the-Valley only a few bare leaves remained.
But they saw Joan in her wedding dress, prettier than any screen bride when she stood on the balcony with her new husband at her side.
Constance Bennett took her flowers and threw them as she walked to her car, giving the crowd a big thrill.
If you happen to know an actress who looks like Greta Garbo send her address to Harry Rapf. He wants just such a leading lady to play opposite Clark Gable in “China Seas.”
“Flesh,” Edmund Goulding’s prize fight story for Wallace Beery, will be the next Beery vehicle. Jack Conway is to direct.
A surprising bit of news is that Florence Vidor Heifetz has been living in Beverly Hills with her two children for almost a week. Mrs. Heifetz is awaiting an interesting event and she came to California to have her baby born.
Meanwhile, her husband, one of the best known violinists in the world, is fulfilling a concert engagement in South America.
Before her marriage to Heifetz, Florence Vidor was one of the best known screen actresses. She retired at the time of her marriage and she has been one of the few who has steadfastly turned her back on pictures. She has two daughters, one by Heifetz and one by King Vidor, to whom she was formerly married.
Heard and overheard: Norma Talmadge has been suffering with a badly infected tooth in New York. She has had a trained nurse in attendance. There is a chance that Norma, whose legal residence is Los Angeles, may come here to file her divorce suit against Joseph Schenck. Several of the Reno divorces have been questioned and it seems both parties must take up a residence.
HARLAN CASE GOES TO JURY
Los Angeles, March 17 (AP)
A jury of seven men and five women began deliberation today on charges of drunk driving against Kenneth Harlan, former film actor, arrested last January 2 following a collision between his automobile and a milk truck.
The case was given the jury following brief arguments by counsel. Harlan, who denied he was drunk, claiming that if he appeared unsteady it was because of a loss of blood from a deep cut he had received in the accident, waited in court for the verdict. With him were his mother, Mrs. Martha Harlan, and Miss Patty Dobbs, actress, riding with him at the time of the collision. She testified Harlan had not been drinking.
NON-SUIT CLOSES M’LAGLEN TROUBLE
Los Angeles, March 16 (AP)
A non-suit has ended the legal differences of the McLaglen brothers, Victor, the motion picture actor, and Leopold, author, traveler and proponent of the Jiu-Jitsu system of wrestling. Leopold had sued Victor for $90,000 damages claiming his brother had maligned him.
The judge granted a non-suit shortly after the actor spoke in his own defense yesterday.
MOVIE ACTRESS WEDS
Santa Barbara, Calif. March 16 (AP)
Betty Bronson, motion picture actress, and Ludwig Lauerhaus of Asheville, N.C. were married here today by Superior Judge A. B. Bigler.
The couple left immediately by motor for the north, refusing to disclose their honeymoon itinerary.
When they applied for a marriage license, Miss Bronson gave her age as 22 and Lauerhaus his as 27.
She played the original role of “Peter Pan” in the movies several years ago.
FILM FOLK IN DIVORCE SUIT
Ethel Clayton, film actress, appeared in court in quest of a divorce from Ian Keith, her actor husband. Miss Clayton alleges that Keith acted in an “ungentlemantly” and “unhusbandly” manner by breaking up their furniture. In a statement issued after their third separation, Keith admitted that his conduct had “fretted Ethel.”
BRUNETTE SEASON IS PREDICTED BY STAR
What every brunette should have in her spring wardrobe was revealed in an interview, by Kay Francis, whose raven tresses and gray eyes are well known to film audiences.
“It looks like a brunette season to me,” declares Miss Francis. “Bright colored scarfs, suits with blouses that drape in gay colors about the neckline, and frocks capes of contrasting shades in lighter hues are among the offerings of spring fashion that enhance dusky complexions.
Miss Francis has taken advantage of the brunette turn of the mode for her current role with Fredric March in Paramount’s picture “Intimate.” As a chic New Yorker she wears, in the production, an array of costumes that offer a safe guide to the fashions of the spring and summer seasons.
“Every spring wardrobe should include one of the new high-waisted suits that is accented with a crushed collar and bow of fur or silk, a trim one-piece frock of lightweight wool, and a dashing coat that can be worn with both suit and frock,” states Miss Francis.
“Such colors and materials are blonde corduroy, tweeds in sapphire blue and velveteen in brown are the popular hues of early spring and are all particularly adaptable for brunettes.”
“Strong contrasts, which are never good for women with olive complexions and dark hair, are not used this spring. Gloves and accessories will blend in color with the outfits they accompany, and when scarfs or capes are in contrasting shades, the effects will soften instead of startling.”
According to Miss Francis, evening clothes for the spring will bring to the fore such new colors as orchid, sunset rose, corn yellow, flame, and pale water green.
INCE DEFENDANT IN DIVORCE SUIT
Los Angeles, March 17 (INS)
Lucille Mendez, actress, to-day had on file a suit to divorce Ralph Ince, film director and actor. They were married July 7, 1926. Miss Mendez charged that Ince objected to her continuing her profession as an actress after their marriage. She did not ask for alimony.
EX MRS. TIBBETT APPEARS ON RADIO
Mrs. Grace Mackey Tibbett, former wife of the famous baritone Lawrence Tibbett, who obtained her divorce several months ago, is now appearing in radio broadcasts in San Francisco. Her sketches consist principally of Hollywood life and Hollywood people. Following a brief stay in San Francisco and Hollywood, she will go to New York to be one of the regular B.B.C. contributors.
ORPHEUM WILL OFFER BILL OF COMEDY, DRAMA
‘Ladies of the Jury’ to Be Screen Feature,
With Vaudeville, Music Program
Constance Bennett in “Lady With a Past;” Gene Dennis, psychic; and the RKO vaudeville show, headlining Eddie Nelson, close at the Orpheum theater tomorrow night.
A special Gene Dennis matinee, for ladies only, will be held Thursday morning at 10 a.m. Those attending may stay for the regular show which follows immediately.
Starting next Friday, the Orpheum will present a comedy-drama that is different, “Ladies of the Jury,” starring this group of fun makers: Edna May Oliver, Ken Murray, Roscoe Ates, Kate Price, Robert McWade and Kitty Kelly.
Also on the program will be a picture with fifteen outstanding boxers of the country as the stars in “Can Jack Dempsey Come Back?” This feature boasts such names as Gene Tunney, Tom Heeney, Luis Firpo, Max Schmelling, Harry Willis, Benny Leonard and Jack Dempsey.
RKO vaudeville will be headed by Charlie Melson with Miss Irmanette in “The Screen Test.” Owen Sweeten’s band will do their stuff on the stage again next week in a presentation called “Joyous Days.”
A newsy Pathe Newsreel completes the program.
WILLIAM POWELL IS STARRED AT STRAND
“High Pressure,” William Powell’s second picture for Warner Brothers, will come to the Strand theater Friday for a run of two days.
For the last few appearances, Powell has played the part of a “ladies man” or gigolo. Before that he specialized in playing Philo Vance, the famous detective, or other characters mixed up in underworld doings.
At all times he has been suave, debonair and polished. In “High Pressure,” however, he is reported to be a man of action, a fast-talking, fast-working, super-salesman, a sort of combination Get-Rich-Wallingford and Raffles. He switches from Wall Street boardrooms to Park Avenue boudoirs without ever changing his pace.
Supporting Powell are Evelyn Brent, who played opposite him in “Interference,” one of the first talkies; George Sidney, a comedian who is returning to the screen after a long absence; Guy Kibbee, Evalyn Knapp, Maurice Black, Bobby Watson, Frank McHuch, Polly Walters, Ben Alexander, John Wray and several others.
The Vernons will appear specialty at a matinee Friday for women only in connection with the full program and will answer any questions pertaining to domestic or business affairs, the management announced.
Opening Sunday, Buster Keaton, Polly Moran and Schnozzle Durante will present “The Passionate Plumber.”
Thursday, February 19, 2009
March 16, 1932
By Robert Grandon
Sitting in the other night at the Club Seville in the wee hours of the other morning, the merrymakers became reminiscent… and before the session ended, pasts long forgotten had been remembered in detail.
Jack Barrymore, for instance, was only one of the famous stars who served his time as song-and-dance men. The production was “A Stubborn Cinderella,” which ran for many moons in Chicago. Jack did his bit opposite the heroine, Sallie Fisher, a prime favorite in her day.
Doug Fairbanks worked the same racket too. First of all, he was in “Fantana” with Julia Sanderson, participating in that famous duet “Just My Style”… Later, he was starred in “The Show Shop,” another musical, with Patricia (Pollyanna) Collinge.
You might not believe it to look at him, but Wallace Beery quit elephant training to become a chorus man… and he chorused so well that he was allowed to understudy Raymond Hitchcock in “The Yankee Counsul.” He still sings “All Dressed Up and No Place to Go.”
Ernest Torrence, of course, came from the musical comedy field, as did Reginald Denny.
But how many remember Mack Sennet as a chorus man? Well, he was… and in “Floradora.”
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
PICTURE STAR AND WRITER WED AT L.A.
Joan Bennett, Gene Markey Principals;
Bride Attended by Her Sister, Constance
Los Angeles, March 16 (UP)
A city accustomed to taking its news of film celebrities’ wedding from anywhere other than Hollywood, and at any time, flocked to the fashionable Town House, an exclusive residential building, today for another kind of premier starring Joan Bennett, film actress, and Gene Markey, writer, in a much publicized marriage drama.
Unlike the average Hollywood wedding involving familiar persons of the screen who scurried to Yuma, Ariz., or Las Vegas, Nev., and came back as Mr. and Mrs. So-and-so, the engagement of Miss Bennett and Markey has been widely broadcast.
To Miss Bennett, herself, her public credited the statement: “There shall be no secrecy about my marriage. Photographers, press and public are invited.”
From out of a conference between spokesmen for the younger daughter of Richard Bennett, the actor, Markey, publicity men, and the press, have come the details of the marriage at the exclusive Town House at 11 a. m., P. S. T.
Writer Gives Bride Away
The bride was given away by C. Gardner Sullivan, a screen writer and husband of Anny May Sullivan, Miss Bennett’s closest friend. She was attended by her oldest sister, Constance Bennett in the movies, and the wife of Marquis Henri de la Falaise in private life.
Captain Allan Clayton attended Markey, while presiding Judge B. Works of the Court of Appeals, officiated.
Miss Bennett, who had been married before and is the mother of a three and one-half year old daughter, wore a gown fashioned in white rough crepe. The bodice was trimmed about the neck and sleeves with alençon lace.
Invited guests included Marquise de la Falais, Mrs. C. Gardner Sullivan; Mr. and Mrs. W. K. Howard; Miss Marion Davies and William Randolph Hearst.
The couple left for a brief honeymoon by motor immediately after a wedding breakfast.
RUDY VALLEE BUYS BEVERLY HILLS HOME
Hollywood, Mar. 16 (INS)
A $100,000 Beverly Hills residence to-day had been purchased by Rudy Vallee, the crooner, his wife, the beautiful Fay Webb, daughter of a California police chief, announced before she departed for Washington D.C. to join Vallee.
The mansion will be christened “Three Palms.”
AUSTRALIAN ACTOR SCORES POINT ON BROTHER IN COURT
Los Angeles, Mar. 16 (AP)
The lone hand Captain Leopold McLaglen, 48, was apparently playing in the legal battle of the McLaglen brothers, was waved temporarily in triumph yesterday as one of his witnesses testified Victor McLaglen told him that “Leopold was no good.”
Leopold brought a $90,000 suit against Victor charging his brother with having damaged his reputation in Hollywood by saying Leopold was “unreliable and should be watched.”
The witness was Wellington Smith, an investigator employed by Captain McLaglen, an Australian actor.
“I went to see Victor in behalf of Leopold,” Smith testified, “and Victor told me that Leopold was no good. Victor said that the quota should be checked to see if Leopold was legally in this country.”
KENNETH HARLAN DEFENDS HIMSELF
Los Angeles, Mar. 16 (AP)
With a piece of chalk and a blackboard, Kenneth Harlan, former motion picture player, demonstrated to a jury today his version of a collision last New Year’s Day which brought about his arrest and trial on a charge of driving while intoxicated.
Harlan, denying that he was drunk, attributed the collision with a milk truck, to the winding boulevard on which he was driving. He said if the truck carried lights, he did not see them.
He said he had a cocktail hours before the accident and testified that if he had appeared unsteady it was because he had been weakened by a loss of blood from a deep gash in his wrist.
Doctor Denies Star Was Drunk
Dr. Reynolds Smith, police ambulance surgeon, testified that in his opinion the actor was not drunk when he treated him for injuries after the accident.
Miss Marvel Dobbs, Harlan’s companion at the time of the accident, said she did not see him take a drink while he was in her company and that she was with him nearly all of the evening.
PANTAGES TO PRODUCE OWN MOTION PICTURES
Hollywood, Calif. (Associated Press)
Alexander Pantages, theater magnate, announced today that within the next few months he would assume control of between 200 and 500 theaters scattered throughout the United States and produce his own motion pictures.
Pantages, who at the height of his career in the amusement business owned 60 theaters and had an operating agreement with 40 others, said his son-in-law, John Considine, Jr., and his elder son, Rodney Pantages, would be associated with him.
Pantages declined to say whether he had entered negotiations for the purchase of a Hollywood motion picture studio.
RECORD PRICE PAID FOR MOVIE
By Luella O. Parsons
Los Angeles, March 16 (Universal Service, Inc.)
The price paid Lady Mary Cameron for the title “Merrily We Go to Hell,” is said to be a record-breaker. Frank Orsatti sold it to Paramount and it will take the place of the original title, “I, Jerry, Take Thee Joan.” I am told there is so little left of the story its own mother wouldn’t recognize it. Zoe Akins has written an entirely new treatment and “Merrily We Go to Hell” will be the name. Another contract signed by Frank Orsatti on the Paramount lot is that of Slim Summerville. He goes into “Come On, Marines.” Remember him in “All Quiet on the Western Front”?
You couldn’t film a picture by the name of "Central Park" in Westlake Park, Los Angeles.
In other words, we do not agree with the classic remark made by a certain comedy producer that “a rock is a rock, take the western picture in Griffith Park.”
Warner Brothers evidently do not agree with that remark either, for they are sending the "Central Park" company to New York, headed by Mervyn Le Roy, the director.
Mervyn leaves next week and the company follows. Most of the scenes for this picture will be taken in the park where so many romances have developed and so many tragedies have occurred.
Ann Dvorak, under contract to First National, plays the lead and New York will get a chance to see her. She is a changed girl since she had her hair blondined. Maybe that is why she is getting all these roles.
Lights were ablaze last night at the Venice boulevard studio of Bryan Foy. He was shooting the first scenes for “And God Smiled,” an independent feature he is about to put on the screen. Mr. Foy is sure, if he turns out a good picture he will have no trouble in getting a release date. In fact, Universal already had put in a bid. Today is the time for all worthwhile independents to come into the fold, for a good picture is the only thing that really counts. Mr. Foy’s cast is interesting. He is trying to get Lila Lee for the lead. Beryl Mercer, Dickie Moore, Alec Francis, Alexander Carr, Hobart Bosworth (this is his third picture engagement this week), Lee Kohlmar, Mischa Auer comprise the cast, with Lew Seiler directing.
Perhaps it’s a good thing that Tay Garnett has been spending his vacation on his own boat. He gets a taste of the water that will help him when he directs two boat pictures. One of these will be “S. S. Atlantic” at First National starring Kay Francis, and the other, “S. S. San Pedro” at Universal.
Eileen Percy is at the Good Samaritan hospital following an operation for sinus trouble. What with her newspaper job and her chance to play a good part in “State’s Attorney,” Eileen’s sickness comes at a bad time, but we are assured she will be well in a short time.
Tallulah Bankhead doesn’t mind being reported engaged, but she would like to meet the man before she is credited with an expected husband.
A friendship in Hollywood that is interesting many people is that of the Pichel and Barrymore families. The two men met at the Radio Studios where Pichel is directing “State’s Attorney,” and now the children and wives have become close friends.
Marian Nixon is to be opposite James Cagney in his next picture, “The Main Event,” in place of Frances Dee, who was scheduled to be loaned by Paramount. And no mention whatsoever of Joan Blondell. Like “The Roar of the Crowd,” “The Main Event” is a prizefight story.
Ruth Chatterton returned to Paramount studios a few days ago. She visited her husband, Ralph Forbes, and had lunch with him. He is in a Paramount picture. What a royal reception she received.
Lilyan Tashman wires she is on her way home from New York. She has been gone for seven months.
Estelle Taylor has gone to Palm Springs to give the sun a chance to do its good work on her fractured vertebrae.
Hollywood gossip says that the good looking son of James and Lucille Gleason is lunching these days with pretty Frances Dee. Frances and Russell are both in “The Strange Case of Clara Deane.”
Spencer Tracy took his mother to a polo game to show her it was just a gentle sport. Three fellows were hurt in spills, two of them getting badly cracked ribs. Don’t ask Mrs. Tracy what she thinks of polo.
Vivienne Osborne is displaying a new Scottie, presented as a companion to the one she already owns.
Joan Bennett gave her prospective mother-in-law, Mrs. Eugene Markey, a luncheon on Tuesday. Mrs. Markey is returning to Chicago in a few days, and she has given her enthusiastic approval to her son’s choice.
Eddie Buzzell begs to state he is still at Columbia. You see, yesterday I gave him a job in “It Has to Be Big.” I really meant to write Eddie Quillan. Says Eddie, “Several papers copy your article so you see you weren’t only wrong yourself, but you made fibbers out of two other reporters.” Sorry, pals.
REBOUND FEATURE AT STATE THEATER
Ina Claire in “Rebound” will be the feature film at the State theater to-day.
As its name implies, the story deals with a girl who catches the man she loves on the rebound of his dismissal by another. The waxing and waning of their marital affections, the trials and triumphs of their life together, are treated in light comedy fashion.
Ina Claire, who played in the stage version of the play, is again seen in the stellar role, while Robert Ames plays opposite her.
Others in the cast include Myrna Loy, Hedda Hopper and Robert Williams.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
By Robert Grandon
March 15, 1932
It used to be that Hollywood recruited from the stage, - but now-a-days, the stage is recruiting from Hollywood filmdom for its shows with never a bit of stage experience.
Most outstanding of all, of course, is Buddy – call me Charles, boys – Rogers. Buddy has signed to appear with Bert Lahr in a new Ziegfeld production, to sing over NBC network, and to conduct his own orchestra. He sings, dances, and plays seven instruments – and made his debut in the silent flickers.
Jean Arthur and Fay Marbe are listed in New York’s latest production of “Lysistrata.” Neither of them ever spoke a line in a theater – and the same holds good for Rod La Rocque, who has an important role in “Jazz City,” the Arch Selwyn-Carl Hemmer musical.
Lois Moran is appearing in the Music Box production “Of Thee I Sing,” playing the wife of the president of the United States. Lois was a dancer before she went screenie – and her newest boy friend, Douglas Montgomery, is appearing in “Fata Morgana.” His flicker name was Kent Douglas – and now Ona Munson has headed eastward.
Hollywood may soon be voicing the stage’s complaint of yesteryear: “they’re stealing all our material.”
Friday, February 13, 2009
Hollywood, March 15
Picture after picture is coming from the studios in the present cycle of films showing stars or leading ladies getting their ears boxed – and right well boxed, too. Or they are booted through a door on the set. Or they are turned across a table and spanked with a hairbrush or slipper. It seems that the point has been reached where no actress is acclaimed a success until she has been thoroughly smacked or paddled or placed in some humiliating and embarrassing predicament. All in the name of art!
Loretta Young was slapped by James Cagney in “Taxi!” and so soundly and realistically slapped that the episode was cut from some versions of the finished film. It wasn’t the slap which hurt but a whole series necessitated in retakes which almost broke up the friendship between Miss Young and Cagney. Her cheek was crimson when she wavered off the set and started toward her dressing room.
Evalyn Knapp was given the open palm by the same doctor of modern etiquette in “Smart Money,” and smacked repeatedly in the retakes. The sound of each blow was picked up readily by the microphone. Miss Knapp is a courageous person and did not whimper.
Nor did Joan Blondell wince when she took her position to be kicked through a door by Edward G. Robinson in the same production. Yet it did seem that she walked a little sideways when the retakes started.
Scenario writers appear to delight in making Jimmie Cagney treat ‘em rough. It will be remembered that he was called upon to push half a grapefruit in Miss Mae Clark’s face in a breakfast table scene.
“These scenario writers put their suppressed desires into script,” Cagney said. “They think of something that happened at home, write their ideas into the play, and leave the dirty work up to me.”
The most mortifying situation faced by a pair of players in recent pictures fell to the lot of Billie Dove and Chester Morris when they were making “Cock of the Air.” The script called for Morris to pop a champagne cork in Billie’s face, shower her with “giggle water,” box her ears with his open palm, and wrestle with her all over a room. Which was performed in the manner prescribed.
But when it came to turning her across a table and spanking her with a silver ladle – well, he just was not used to such measures. Neither was Miss Dove. But the scene had to be made, and made it was, completely and effectively, if somewhat painfully for Miss Dove.
Robert Montgomery was called upon to discipline Norma Shearer, it will be recalled, in “Private Lives.” And if you think that Norma cannot pull hair, slap and claw, when properly provoked, just remember that scene.
Joan Crawford got hers from Clark Gable in “Possessed.” It landed beneath one eye, and there was a retake or two.
This slapping business really has become an epidemic. Once started, it spreads to all circles.
You saw Miriam Hopkins slap Claudette Colbert in “The Smiling Lieutenant,” and presently saw Claudette smack Miriam.
You saw Wallace Beery slap little Jackie Cooper in “The Champ” and the tears come into the boys eyes as he slowly turned and walked away.