Wednesday, June 30, 2010
By Chapin Hall
Hollywood, Cal., April 24, 1932
British and other foreign made pictures will never seriously jeopardize the American product. This news, naturally cheering to Hollywood, was brought this week by Millard Webb, director of “Gentlemen of the Press,” “The Sea Beast” and a dozen or so other films, after a year of direction with British-Gaumont at their Shepherd’s Bush studios.
According to Mr. Webb, British conservatism reaches its peak in the English studios. Cost of production is limited to from $50,000 to $60,000 for their best pictures, almost a Poverty Row figure in Hollywood. From this producers expect a 6 per cent return on their money and are satisfied with such a profit. They realize that their films cannot compete in the world market, and they are content with the British Empire.
"The English producers don’t go after stories by their great authors,” Mr. Webb said. “They take old or inexpensive stories and do what they can with them. They miss timely subjects completely. Even if they make a topical film, under their producers’ agreement, they wait six months before they release it.
“They don’t make any great bid for American stars for two reasons: they can’t afford Hollywood prices, and they are influenced by tradition. When they made ‘Escape’ they cast Sir Gerald du Maurier as the 25-year-old lead. Sir Gerald is in his late fifties.
“But they knew that England would accept him in the part because he had always played such parts and, though he looked his age, tradition justified it.”
According to Mr. Webb, many of the English studios are poorly equipped. Gaumont gave him everything he asked for, however, except a yielding to tradition. The Shepherd’s Bush studios are the best equipped in Europe, he says.
Emil Jannings would return to Hollywood at the crook of a finger, Mr. Webb reports. The Ufa plant where Jannings works with Erich Pommer is a mausoleum of past grandeur. Little activity was noted in France by the American and the studios on the Riviera where Rex Ingram made pictures are empty. The Russian product, while stimulating technically, is so full of propaganda that it can never be of world-wide interest.
“We do many insane things in Hollywood, but after a year abroad I find it a pleasant insanity,” Mr. Webb concluded. “In spite of the restrictions producers place on us here, we have a free reign on new ideas. And the rest of the world seems not only to accept our pictures, but to like them.”
This week saw things happen at the RKO-Radio studios. On the heels of the election of Merlin H. Aylesworth of N. B. C. as president of Radio-Keith-Orpheum, David O. Selznick, local ranking head, announced that the time-honored supervisory system was to be abandoned.
Supervisors have always been the butt of Hollywood jokes and Hollywood complaints. They stand between the head of the studio and the writers and directors. Under the new system, writers and directors work directly under the production head of RKO. Mr. Selznick believes that original ideas will be encouraged and fewer restrictions placed on writers if they can go to the heads of the studio with their scripts.
Ann Harding finished her last picture, “Westward Passage,” this week and prepared for her next, “Just a Woman”; “State’s Attorney,” the John Barrymore play by Gene Fowler, went to the cutting rooms; “Bird of Paradise” with Dolores Del Rio is practically completed; “Hold ‘Em, Jail,” the last Wheeler and Woolsey comedy for RKO is in production; “Is My Face Red?” is shooting, as is the Constance Bennett film, “The Truth About Hollywood,” and progress is being made on Richard Dix’s newest, “The Roar of the Dragon.”
The status of Greta Garbo is still unknown here. This week she completed her last picture under her M-G-M contract, “As You Desire Me.” Her term ends about May 1 and unless Metro meets her demands, she will go to another studio. Reports from M-G-M indicate that they prefer to believe that if she does not re-sign with them she will return to Sweden; but rumor chasers say that she is anxious to work another year before retiring.
“Red-Headed Woman” continues to give M-G-M trouble. After some eight writers finally got a picture out of the story, stars began off the lead in the film. The character is a distasteful one. The studio doesn’t want to risk any of its own stars in it because of the public reaction and free-lancers hesitate on playing the part. However, Jack Conway is the director and it is possible that the lead will be chosen within the week.
In addition to “Red-Headed Woman,” M-G-M has an active Summer schedule planned. It embraces “Promiscuous” for Joan Crawford; an untitled yarn for Wallace Beery; “China Seas,” a story of Oriental pirates; an unnamed story for Marion Davies; “Downstairs,” by and with John Gilbert; Buster Keaton’s next, “Speak Easily,” from the Clarence Budington Kellard yarn, “Footlights.”
Paramount has fallen into the vogue for mature stars such as Wallace Beery and Marie Dressler, and is launching a constructive campaign to feature Alison Skipworth. Her first starring picture is “The Sporting Widow,” retitled from “The Countess of Auburn,” by Malcolm Stuart Boylan and Harvey Harris Gates. It is based to some extent on the life of a woman who has been much in the news in the last dozen years in getting out of prison and then getting right back in. George Barbier will play opposite Miss Skipworth.
“Merton of the Talkies” is about ready for shooting with Stuart Erwin as the lead and with William Beaudine directing.
Claudette Colbert has arrived from New York, the last of the Astoria stars to come West, to play with Clive Brook in “Bride of the Enemy.”
Anthony Veiller, former city editor of The Schenectady Gazette, is on the Paramount lot as a writer. A number of other newcomers have been signed by the company, including Charles Laughton, who arrived this week from England via Broadway to play with Tallulah Bankhead and Gary Cooper.
Fox continues to be active with a number of pictures currently in work at the Westwood studios. Will Rogers’s “Down to Earth” is well under way; “Week Ends Only,” with Joan Bennett and “Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm,” switched from Janet Gaynor to Marian Nixon, are shooting.
Colleen Moore arrived in town this week after a two-year absence to open on the legitimate stage with “A Church Mouse,” with which she has been touring on the Coast. While she has made no open bid for a return to pictures, the rumor has gotten about that she is willing. While other stars of much lesser importance have attempted come-backs without any high degree of success, Hollywood is watching Miss Moore with interest. She left the screen at almost the height of her career, and has kept aloof since.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
April 24, 1932
Lewis Stone, the bibulous Roger Chilicote in “The Wet Parade,” has had a long and distinguished career in pictures. His silver hair and kindly, intelligent demeanor have graced dozens of films from year to year. Never a star in his own right, his work in many silent films, including that worthy picture “Scaramouche,” attracted wide attention.
A fact not generally know about Mr. Stone is that he was a soldier who saw service in two wars. He was a Lieutenant and later a Captain in the Spanish-American War. He held the rank of Major during the World War and still holds this commission in the Army Reserve Corps.
He went to China after the Spanish-American War as a Captain in a Chinese cavalry regiment, on a commission from General Homer Lee, who had undertaken the task of modernizing the Chinese fighting forces. The post did not prove attractive so he returned to the United States and divided his time between the stage and a Western ranch.
He has been in pictures since 1917. Some of Mr. Stone’s recent appearances were in “Strictly Dishonorable,” “Mata Hari,” “The Phantom of Paris,” “The Sin of Madelon Claudet,” “Always Good-bye,” “The Secret Six,” “Father’s Son” and “Grand Hotel.”
The general understanding that Warren William, the title actor in “The Mouthpiece,” is a newcomer to films is not backed up by the record.
There is a yellowing newspaper item to prove that the same Mr. William made his cinematic bow a dozen or so years gone by in a serial, playing hero to Pearl White. But he was soon back on Broadway, where he continued to play in both contemporary and classic drama until the lure of Hollywood proved too much for him last year.
This actor was born Warren William Krech, which explains the unusual nature of his present last name. The date was 1896 and the place was Atkin, Minn. He was educated both publicly and privately, showed an aptitude for football and basketball, and exhibited some distaste for mathematics. His earliest ambition was to be a sea captain. He still loves the sea and actually owns a small schooner.
When he came to New York and saw the Great White Way he wanted to be an actor, and an actor he became. His first play was “Mrs. Jimmie Thompson,” in which he played the role of a pickle salesman. He made his success in a comedy called “Expressing Willie” and soon became one of Broadway’s leading young matinee idols.
His favorite stage role was in “Twelve Miles Out.” His talking pictures, all of recent vintage, include “Expensive Women,” “The Honor of the Familiy,” “Under Eighteen,” “The Captain’s Wife,” “Beauty and the Boss” and “The Dark Horse,” the last of which has not yet been released.
Sylvia Sidney is to be seen in “The Miracle Man” this week. The young woman has had a rapid rise in films since the day last year when she was given her big chance.
During Clara Bow’s trial and illness Miss Sidney was selected to replace Miss Bow in “City Streets.” She has been at the top ever since. But her career has not always been so easy.
Graduated from the Theater Guild School in New York at the age of 15, a slip of a girl weighing something less than 100 pounds, little Miss Sidney wore herself into a state of nervous exhaustion trying to get a job.
She landed finally with a part in “The Challenge of Youth,” but fainted in the middle of the first act on the second night of the play’s tryout in Washington. A physician, summoned from the audience, urged an immediate operation for appendicitis. She refused and finished out the Washington engagement. Then it was discovered she had torn a ligament in her right side in her fall. Another girl played her role when the show opened in New York.
During the run of another play, “That Old-Fashioned Girl,” Miss Sidney slipped and broke her ankle on the dressing room stairway, but completed the run of the play with her foot in a cast.
She appeared in “Crime” with a cast that included such prominent screen players of present day as Chester Morris, Robert Montgomery, Kay Francis and Kay Johnson. Her last Broadway stage appearance was in “Bad Girl,”
Then came the cinema phase of her career, Miss Sidney’s leading film appearances to date have been in “Street Scene” and “An American Tragedy.”
As the heroine of “The Famous Ferguson Case,” Joan Blondell finally achieves the distinction of a leading role, after a long career of injecting merriment into subsidiary roles.
Her theatrical and cinematic pedigree is so long that it is a bit of a shock to discover she is in her early twenties.
Like James Cagney, with whom she has frequently appeared in the last year, she was born in New York City, into a family of actors. Her father, Eddie Blondell, the original “Katzenjammer Kid,” spent more than forty years on the stage. Her mother, sister and brother also were stage folk.
She faced an audience for the first time as a babe in arms – her mother’s arms. Her first twelve birthdays were celebrated in as many different countries. The longest stay was in Sydney, Australia, where she spent six years, and made quite a reputation as a singing and dancing comedienne.
Returning to America with her family, she joined a stock company in Dallas, Texas, and then moved on to Broadway for a part in “Tarnish,” She put in a season with the Ziegfeld Follies and appeared subsequently in “The Trial of Mary Dugan,” with Ann Harding; in “Penny Arcade” with James Cagney, and two or three other plays.
The Warners brought Miss Blondell and Mr. Cagney to Hollywood to act in their stage roles in the screen version of “Penny Arcade,” and they have been with that company ever since.
Miss Blondell’s most successful appearance was in “The Public Enemy.” Then Samuel Goldwyn borrowed her because he needed another blonde for “The Greeks Had a Word for Them.” In recent months she has appeared in “Union Depot,” “Blonde Crazy” and “The Crowd Roars.”
William Haines, who stars in the J. P. McElvoy film, “Are You Listening?” was one of the prize cut-ups of the silent screen before the microphone came along. Now he has turned light comedian and has begun to regain a measure of his old popularity.
The perennially youthful Mr. Haines is a Virginian and his father was a broker. William made his first public appearance as a choir boy in the old Trinity Episcopal Church in Staunton. He ran away from home when he was 14 and worked successively in a powder factory, a wholesale dry goods house, a department store and a rubber company.
For a while he was an assistant bookkeeper in the offices of S. W. Straus. While with Straus, one of Sam Goldwyn’s employees stopped him on the street and had him take a test. He won a “new faces” contest conducted by Mr. Goldwyn and went to Hollywood to appear with Eleanor Boardman.
His first screen appearance was in “Three Wise Fools,” in 1922. Another film was “Brown of Harvard.” He had the distinction of making himself heard with Lionel Barrymore in “Alias Jimmy Valentine,” which was M-G-M’s first experiment with the microphone. His most recent films were “Remote Control” and “A Tailor-Made Man.”
It is no shock to film devotees to find that a picture with the title of “Amateur Daddy” was Warner Baxter for its leading figure. Since his appearance with Janet Gaynor in “Daddy Long Legs” last year, Mr. Baxter is easily identified with the gentle side of the screen romantics.
Yet in his long film career he has been a villain of no common order of badness and he has a professional touch with a shotgun or revolver.
His birthplace was Columbus, Ohio, and he had his eye on the stage almost from the beginning. He started with juvenile theatricals and was a veteran of the footlights by the time he emerged from high school.
He was a salesman for a while, but soon joined the Burbank Stock Company remaining with that group for seven years. Oliver Morosco sent him East to be featured in “Lombard, Ltd.” He married Winifred Bryson on the opening day of that show in New York.
After several more Broadway appearances he went to Los Angeles, met Elmer Harris and was offered the lead in a Paramount picture, “Her Own Money.” He had scarcely started work in the picture before Morosco called him for rehearsals in the stage production. He had to work night and day for weeks.
Mr. Baxter’s recent pictures have included “The Arizona Kid,” “Renegades,” “Doctor’s Wives,” “Behind That Curtain” and “In Old Arizona.”
Thursday, June 24, 2010
April 24, 1932
The studios of the Fox Film Corporation are occupied with twelve pictures and are rapidly nearing completion of the forty-eight pictures which will be seen between now and August. Four of the twelve pictures are ready to be placed in production, three are being filmed and five have been completed and are in the cutting room.
Of the twelve pictures, five have been adapted from plays, five from novels and stories and the two remaining are scenarios.
The stories of two of the pictures are already familiar to many.
“The Trial of Vivienne Ware” is in production under the direction of W. K. Howard, with Joan Bennett heading a cast of eighteen players. It is believed to be the first motion-picture adaptation to be made from a radio mystery play.
“Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm,” which has been put into production with Marian Nixon and Charles Farrell, under the direction of Al Santell, is another film with a familiar story. The character originally appeared in “The New Chronicles of Rebecca,” a series of short stories by Kate Douglas Wiggin, which were later novelized by the author under the title of “Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm.”
In October, 1910, it opened as a play at the Republic Theater in New York, with Edith Taliaferro in the title role. Some years later Mary Pickford appeared in a silent film based upon the story.
Homer Croy has prepared a screen play for Will Rogers titled “Down to Earth,” Mr. Croy is the author of one of Rogers’s most popular pictures, ”They Had to See Paris,” and wrote his current picture as a sequel to the uproarious adventures of the homespun philosopher in the capital of France.
To obtain the material for another original story, “While Paris Sleeps,” which has been completed with Victor McLaglen in the principal role, the Fox company selected Basil Woon to prepare it because of his experience as a newspaper correspondent in Paris. To authenticate his information, the company sent him to Paris, from which he returned with the story and sketches of characters and places little known to the traveler.
The three remaining plays include “The Woman in Room 13,” by Samuel Shipman and Max Marcin, in which Elissa Landi will be featured; “Society Girl,” which recently ended a New York engagement, in which James Dunn and Peggy Shannon, a newly signed actress, will appear, and “Young America” which Frank Borzage is now directing, with Spencer Tracy and Doris Kenyon in the leading roles.
The novels and stories in and ready for production include “Almost Married,” by Andrew Soutar, made with Violet Heming; “Scotch Valley,” by Mildred Cram, with Warner Baxter and Marian Nixon; “Careless Lady,” adapted from the short story, “Widow’s Might,” by Reita Lambert, for Joan Bennett and John Boles, and an as yet unpublished novel, “Man About Town,” by Denison Clift, a story of Washington intrigue.
Douglas Fairbanks Jr.’s new picture, scheduled to enter production later this month, is entitled “Revolt,” and is the work of Mary McCall Jr., it is announced by First National. He will play an officer in the Imperial Army in the film, which has for its background the Russian revolution. The picture will be directed by William Dieterle, producer of “The Last Flight.”
Following the finishing of “The Jewel Robbery,” Kay Francis will act in “S. S. Atlantic,” which is based on a story by James Ashmore Creelman and Robert Lord. Frank McHugh and Warren Hymer will also be seen in “S. S. Atlantic.”
Thursday, June 17, 2010
By Luella O. Parsons
Los Angeles, April 23
All anyone talks about in Los Angeles, it seems to me, is the Olympic games. Just wait until the games, the theaters will be filled, business will boom and empty houses will be rented. Not being a politician, I don’t like to say that it will take something more than the Olympic games to change conditions but I know plenty of women who are going to vote a different ticket this year just to see what happens.
Oh, dear, I didn’t mean to even mention politics for I know nothing about it. What I am aiming at is the Olympic games story written by Joe Mankiewicz for Paramount. It’s called “On Your Mark,” and Jack Oakie is the chief athlete with Eddie Cline directing.
Chatter in Hollywood: Did you know that Joan Blondell is really a brunette? She blondined her hair again and again to play those vamp roles on the screen and she finally grew tired of being a peroxide blonde so she donned a wig and let her own hair turn back to its natural color. I think Joan would be foolish to try to change her personality and its exactly what she would do if she goes back to her own natural dark hair.
That reminds me, Percy Westmore, chief adviser at First National on makeup, is not signing with Warner’s again. Just a little matter of salary, that’s all.
Still another story of makeup. Clark Gable had his hair grayed for “Strange Interlude” and the girl who was sent out from Jim’s beauty parlor was in the seventh heaven of delight.
A NEW CONTRACT
Small chance of Wallace Beery leaving Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer when so many plays have been sought for him. But anyway, it’s interesting to know that Wallace has a brand new contract and I hear it whispered, a raise in salary. His next picture under the new contract is the Russian Soviet story which has been in preparation nigh on a year at M-G-M. Don Isaac Levine spent weeks on it and other writers have contributed their best talents.
A couple of contracts were also handed out at Paramount yesterday. Stephen R. Douglas was given a long-term sentence as a Paramount director. He has been in the business since Hector was a pup but just lately he has been promoted to directing. Waldemar Young also has a new contract. What with the studios cutting down, anyone who gets a new contract these days is just plain in luck.
Want to hear what Marlene Dietrich’s answer was to Florenz Ziegfeld when he asked her to go into his “Follies”? “I will let you know a little later.”
There is trouble at Paramount. B. P. Schulberg wants one story and Josef von Sternberg wants another. Marlene strings with Sternberg and refuses to take another director. Seems as if Marlene and von Sternberg come pretty near dictating their own terms these days.
“Shanghai Express” is the biggest sensation London has seen. The lines in front of the theaters are enormous. The picture is making money and will be in the end one of the biggest money-makers Paramount has ever had. That is why von Sternberg chooses to select his own story.
MRS. MENJOU’S POPULARITY
Clive Brook is authority for the story that Kathryn Menjou is one of the most popular women ever to be entertained by royalty in England.
Said Clive: “I was born and brought up in England, but it remained for Adolphe and Kathryn to introduce me to people I had heard but never met. They liked Mrs. Menjou’s sense of humor, her beauty and her naturalness.”
Kathryn is on her way back to Hollywood and when she gets here, what stories she will have to tell us.
Corinne Griffith and Walter Morosco, who were sailing with the Fred Niblos and Richard Barthelmess are remaining in England. Corinne’s picture, “Lily Christine,” opens there at a big charity function where seats are selling at $50 per.
The John Miljans have welcomed a son. He is being called John Miljan, Jr. and the cigars and ginger ale have been on papa at the M-G-M studios.
Jack Dempsey is a gentleman. I said it once and I’ll say it always. When he saw his former wife, Estelle Taylor, in the theater he stopped to shake hands with her.
HERE AND THERE
Wonder if you know that William Le Baron is going to produce four features independently? He is now dickering for a story and when he finds it he will make it at the Pathe studios, which he will lease. The picture will be financed and released by RKO. Mr. Le Baron’s contract at Radio still has several months to run and I imagine he will make a picture in the interim (good word, isn’t it?).
Udet, the German flying ace, will accompany Dr. Fenck and his expedition to make “Iceberg” in Greenland. He just put his John Hancock on a contract.
Paramount has signed Walter De Leon to work on “Merton of the Talkies.” He authored “Bamboo Tree” and “Dewdrop Inn.”
Mike Levee is leaving Friday for New York. He says the screen guild has prospered beyond his wildest expectations.
FILMS OF HOLLYWOOD
Last season we were flooded with books dealing with Hollywood. This coming season we are going to have an avalanche of screen plays dealing with the same town.
Charlie Rogers has just purchased “I Can’t Go Home,” by Jack Lait. It is the tale of a girl who comes to Hollywood and gets so fascinated with the promise of a movie career that she never leaves. Mr. Lait’s story will be published in over 200 newspapers and finally in book form. He and Charlie Rogers have gotten together on the purchase of two of his books, “The Girl Without a Room” and “I Can’t Go Home.” The same actress will be starred in both, an opportunity, Charlie says, for a newcomer.
TWO RADIO PURCHASES
“The Sun Also Rises,” to star Constance Bennett is more than just a mere rumor. The book has been purchased and Rowland Brown is now reading it and discussing treatment, for he will direct her.
Some of the censorable angles will have to be removed but it is fundamentally a splendid story and should give Connie an excellent vehicle.
“The Moon and Sixpence,” the other important Radio purchase, is being put into proper shape and yesterday it was whispered that Dolores Del Rio will play the beautiful native girl who falls in love with an artist. John Barrymore and Dolores Del Rio together should be a great combination.
Sunday, June 13, 2010
TWO RECORDING SYSTEMS TO SOLVE “ASIDES” PROBLEM IN FILMING OF “STRANGE INTERLUDE” BY O'NEILL
Lips of Players Will Remain Motionless as They React to Their Thoughts Which Will Be Heard
By Dan Thomas
Hollywood, April 23
How will the “asides,” or audible thoughts, be handled in the filming of Eugene O’Neill’s “Strange Interlude”?
For weeks that has been the leading topic of conversation around Hollywood. It was more than a year ago that Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer purchased the screen rights to the O’Neill play. Production was scheduled to start immediately but had to be postponed because of the difficulties encountered in working out a plan for the handling of the “asides” – which after all are the important part of the play.
On the stage this was accomplished by having the characters pause in mid-action and speak their thoughts to the audience.
For instance, one character might smile and extend his hand to another in greeting.
“How are you, old chap?” he would say with obvious cordiality.
Turning aside to the audience, he would speak his thoughts:
“Insolent fool… I’d like to throw him out on his head.”
Obviously some other means for handing the “asides” had to be devised. The play ran five hours and audiences just won’t sit through a picture of that length.
The picture actually is in production now with Norma Shearer and Clark Gable playing the leading roles. But since considerable secrecy is being maintained, there is still plenty of speculation as to how the “asides” are being handled.
After considerable sleuthing, I managed to get some first-hand information about the intricate process being used although I can make no report about its effectiveness.
The handling of the “asides” will be done in this manner. The players will speak their regular lines and then react to the thoughts which will be heard, although the players’ lips will remain motionless.
To accomplish this, two recording systems must be employed throughout the entire production. And each scene is actually filmed twice.
First the scene is shot with the players speaking the oral lines and the thoughts as well and acting accordingly. The dialogue is timed to a fraction of a second. The recording is done on film and also on a wax disc.
Then the scene is remade, this time the players speaking only the oral lines. During the period when the “asides” are to be expressed, the actors simply pantomime. The thoughts recorded on the wax disc then are reproduced through a loud speaker and re-recorded.
The disc is perfectly synchronized with the sound recording apparatus and is playing all the time the scene is being recorded for the second time. However, the director can eliminate all but the “asides” by means of a cut-out button. But everything must be perfectly timed so that the “asides” will come in at the proper moment.
WARREN WILLIAM FAVORS SMITH FOR PRESIDENCY
Star of “The Mouthpiece” Is Greatly Interested in Politics
Staccato vignette of Warren William, soon in “The Mouthpiece” at Warner’s Strand:
Born Warren William Krech in Atkins, Minn., in 1896. His father sprang from German parentage and his mother from English. Earliest ambition was to be a sea captain. He still has this ambition, owns a small schooner and hope to sail it to the South Seas.
Decided to become an actor when he came to New York on a visit and saw the plays and the Great White Way; later he returned to New York and enrolled in the American Academy of Dramatic Art.
First play was “Mrs. Jimmie Thompson,” in which he played the role of a pickle salesman. Shortly after, he scored in “Expressing Willie.”
Made his celluloid debut in a serial, playing the hero to Pearl White.
Favorite screen actors are Barbara Stanwyck, Edward G. Robinson, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., and John Barrymore.
Favorite playwrights are Ibsen, Sir James Barrie, Ferenc Molnar and Phillip Barry.
Likes good music and favors Wagner and Puccini, intensely dislikes jazz bands. Favorite authors are Dickens and Conrad. Enjoys travel.
Happily married for a number of years and declares that marriage is no actor’s handicap.
Greatly interested in politics; is a great admirer of Al Smith and favors him for the Presidency.
Dislikes interviews and crowds. Does not like to play cards and is not interested in indoor sports. Dislikes seeing an “s” on the end of his last name.
During his early days in New York was often mistaken for Georges Carpentier. Now his appearance is often compared to John Barrymore’s. While William disagrees, this comparison does not bother him.
AIR TRIP FROM RENO NETS ACTRESS CONTRACT
Hollywood, April 23
Flying over from Reno while awaiting her divorce, Paulette Goddard, former actress, ultimately landed a Hal Roach contract. She left the stage about two years ago.
Miss Goddard is the first member of a potential stock company at the Roach studio.
PETE LEAVES ROACH
Culver City, Calif., April 23
Harry Lucan and his circle-eyed dog Pete, are leaving Hal Roach after having been under contract for five years. Financial disagreement caused the separation.
BAXTER CAREER BASED ON ILLNESS
Sickness of Vaudeville Actor Led Film Star to His First Stage Job
An accident took Warner Baxter, seen in “Amateur Daddy,” from the business of selling plows to becoming an actor. As a youngster he had harbored the idea of becoming a thespian but his mother persuaded him to go into business.
His first job was as salesman for a farm implement concern. Dorothy Shoemaker, who was doing a vaudeville act, had the accident. Her partner became ill and she was about to cancel her engagement. Another salesman who knew of Baxter’s ambitions heard of it and persuaded her to substitute his friend.
Baxter remained in the act for four months before again going into business. He made little money and eventually joined a stock company which was headed for Hollywood.
Baxter failed to get into the movies and turned seriously to stock company work. For seven years he stayed at it, the majority of the time appearing in Oliver Morosco’s shows. While he was playing on the Los Angeles stage Elmer Harris saw Baxter and got him to appear opposite Ethel Clayton.
He had only average success in the movies until the talkies came along. Then he got the opportunity to play the part of the Cisco Kid in “In Old Arizona,” and had his popularity redoubled.
“BUGLE SOUNDS” TO HAVE “GRAND HOTEL” TREATMENT
Hollywood, April 23
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s successor to “Grand Hotel” as an all-star production will be a Foreign Legion story which may have the title, “The Bugle Sounds.”
It will be Raoul Walsh’s first directorial assignment on the M.-G.-M. lot, and the picture, it is said, will be made on a scale of magnitude approaching the seven-star “Grand Hotel.”Production is expected to start in June.
Walsh is working over the script, which has been in the studio’s possession for a long time but held until it could be given proper attention and production.
“The Bugle Sounds” is the title which M-G-M originally announced for a picture starring the late Lon Chaney. Later, it was reported Wallace Beery would be shown in the story.
BEHIND THE SCENES IN HOLLYWOOD
By Harrison Carroll
Hollywood, April 23, 1932
If you can believe Eddie Cantor, the strangest will on record has been drawn up by his friend and fellow-comedian, George Jessel.
This whole thing is an elaborate gag.
Under its terms, Jessel disposes of some $75,000,000, many times his actual fortune.
He leaves million dollar bequests to every actors’ fund, $50,000 to a head waiter, several hundred thousand to each of Cantor’s five daughters and dozens of other staggering sums.
The details of the bequests are worked out with elaborate care. For instance, the head waiter must not touch the principal of the inheritance and the future husbands of Cantor’s daughters are not to share in their good fortune.
“The thing is so funny, everybody will laugh for a week after George dies.”
Your Daily Gossip:
Harold Lloyd is using Gloria Swanson’s old make-up table. The central mirror is encircled by tear-drop clusters of lights. On Harold’s dressing table is an autographed picture of Alfonso of Spain. Harold, by the way, has hundreds of autographs from celebrities.
During his vacation, Lionel Barrymore has done paintings of the oil dock at San Pedro, the desert flowers near Mojave and a scene from the Verdugo Hills.
Ted Fiorito, the music maker at the Frolics here, may be going to the Hotel St. Francis in San Francisco before long. Madge Evans and Tom Gallery were dancing to his music again the other evening. They were chaperoned by her mother and brother. This supper club is building a large open-air garden in preparation for the Olympic games’ visitors.
Ronald Colman is roughing it on a ranch near here.
Ran across Jack Oakie at 4 a.m. in the Brown Derby. He was with a willowy brunette and wore a cutaway and top hat. Very fancy.
Hollywood’s central casting bureau boasts of being able to supply any type of help needed at the studios. R-K-O almost stopped them with its demand for a man who could rattle off baby-talk in Chinese. He was needed on “The Roar of the Dragon,” set where they’re using ten slant-eyed infants. The casting bureau finally made good.
LEW AYRES’ RISE
Carl Laemmle, Jr., has just taken up Lew Ayres’ third option which promotes the young star into the large salary class.
Lew has done extraordinarily well in Hollywood. When he made “All Quiet on the Western Front,” both Louis Wolheim and John Wray were billed above him. Now he is one of Universal’s two official stars. (Tom Mix is the other.)
During the young actor’s stay at the Laemmle studio he has never had two similar roles. In a couple of instances, “All Quiet” and “The Doorway to Hell” he was killed at the end of the picture.
Universal now plans to use him in only four pictures a year. They already have six stories planned ahead of him. “Shanghai Interlude” will be his first, and, following that, “Laughing Boy.”
DID YOU KNOW?
That Boris Karloff once worked in a flour mill at Vallejo, Cal.?
LOUISE CARTER CAST
Veteran New York Stage Actress Has “Broken Lullaby” Role
A veteran New York stage actress and playwright, vacationing in California, recently figured in “one of those things” that happen in Hollywood.
Ernst Lubitsch, Paramount director, after a week’s futile search for the exact type of actress he had in mind for the part of the mother in “Broken Lullaby,” heard of Louise Carter, invited her to make a test, and two hours later notified executives that she was the player he wanted in his first dramatic talking picture.
With 33 years’ stage experience, Miss Carter has played hundreds of roles. She is author of more than a score of plays, three of which were produced on Broadway. She starred in her production of “Clouds,” Taylor Holmes, father of Phillips, the boy in “Broken Lullaby,” was co-starred in Miss Carter’s most recent play, “Joy of Living.”
One of Miss Carter’s best known roles on the New York stage was in “The Dybuk.” She played an 80-year-old Jewish woman. When Miss Carter, born in Iowa of French ancestry, made up in character to convince Lee Shubert she looked the part, he signed her with the exclamation: “You’re a picture of my grandmother.”
BEAUTIES NEW TO TALKIES SEEN IN “FLESH IS WEAK”
Heather Thatcher and Nora Gregor Seen in Montgomery’s Support
Two actresses new to the American public make their debuts in support of Robert Montgomery in the latter’s new starring film, “But the Flesh is Weak.”
The two newcomers are Heather Thatcher, a popular favorite with English theatergoers for years, and Nora Gregor, who was a stage player with Max Reinhardt’s Vienna company before coming to this country to work in pictures.
Miss Thatcher has been an outstanding footlight favorite in England, where she appeared in “Oh Daddy,” “Sally,” and other notable successes. She was born in London, and first attained fame on the musical comedy stage.
Nora Gregor, who has the other feminine lead, originally came to this country several years ago to appear in foreign versions of talking pictures for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
Born in Gorizia, Italy, the daughter of an artist-jeweler, she finished her education in Vienna. There, too, she made her motion picture debut in “The Man Who Laughs.”
In Hollywood she played Norma Shearer’s part in the German version of “The Trial of Mary Dugan.” She also appeared in “Olympia,” the German version of John Gilbert’s “His Glorious Night,” and in “Seeing Hollywood,” an original German talking picture.
Alice White, blonde screen star, appearing in person, is the topliner of a triple headline show.
It was a year ago in June that Alice, with some misgivings, left Hollywood for a “brief” tour of personal appearances in the East. At that time, personal appearances by stars were looked upon doubtfully by theatrical managers, for many of the “silent” film crop had tried their hands at it and proved themselves ornamental, but not entertaining.
However, Alice made her bow and proved that she could do something. Her dancing with William Moffa, still her partner, was such a sensation that she has been in vaudeville ever since and is having a hard time breaking away to return to the Coast for some film engagements this summer.
CONWAY TEARLE IN PRIZE RING BEFORE THEATER
Blood Told, However, and Actor Turned to Footlights
The stage beckoned… the prize ring as well… but blood has a way of telling, and so Conway Tearle, seen in “Vanity Fair,” became an actor.
Tearle was born in New York City, but went to England, his parents’ native land, for his education. He attended Carlisle and Winchester schools. His early ambition was to be a pugilist, and he followed the ring for two years before taking up acting.
Tearle’s family has been on the stage since 1712. One of his ancestors played in support of Mrs. Sarah Siddons. Another, William Augustus Conway, was a famous Shakespearian actor. His father, Osmond Tearle, was a noted classical actor of the English stage, and his brother Godfrey Tearle, was long one of the most popular figures before the footlights of England. Conway’s own first appearance on the stage was at the age of 5 at the Academy of Music in New York City.
His pugilistic career was terminated when he accepted an engagement at the Drury Lane Theater in London. Later, he was leading man at the Garrick and Imperial Theaters. His London experience was in support of such famous stars as Sir Charles Wyndham, Mary Moore, Ellen Terry and Lena Ashwell. In 1907 he appeared with Ethel Barrymore, Billie Burke, Julia Marlowe, Viola Allen, Emily Stevens, Helen Mencken – in fact, he has played in support of every outstanding woman who has graced the American stage in the last two decades.
In 1915, Conway made his great hit in the film world with his interpretation of the hero in “The Common Law,” in which Clara Kimball Young starred.
This was such a success that he was soon signed to play the leading roles in other motion picture productions. His best known early efforts were in “The Foolish Virgin,” “The Reason Why,” “She Loves and Lies” and “The Way of a Woman.” Mr. Tearle was leading man for most of the popular film stars, appearing in support of Mary Pickford, Anita Stewart, Constance Talmadge and Norma Talmadge.
NANCY CARROLL SINGS IN PALACE FEATURE
For the first time since the Technicolor musical – “Follow Thru,” Nancy Carroll sings in her Palace picture, “Wayward.”
The name of the song, the only one in the picture, is “What’s the Difference?” It was written by John W. Green, Paramount’s New York studio staff composer, author of “Body and Soul” and other song hits.
A sun parlor, beautifully decorated with flowers and ferns, is the setting for the song. A negro orchestra in the background plays the accompaniment.
“X Marks the Spot,” with Lew Cody is also shown.
“LOST SQUADRON” PLAYING RIVIERA
What is a Hollywood stunt man’s greatest fear? Sounds rather silly to ask such men who daily laugh at fate by crashing airplanes and performing suicidal stunts for the camera a question like this. Dick Grace, ace flier and author of “The Lost Squadron,” a story of the making of movie thrills, confided in Richard Dix, star of the picture, that these hardy men do have fears.
“The greatest fear I have,” said Grace, “Is driving an auto in traffic. And I knew one fellow in our group who slept on the floor because he was afraid he’d fall out of bed and get hurt.”
On the same program is Conway Tearle, Carmel Myers and Frances Dade in “Pleasure.”