Tuesday, January 11, 2011


May 1, 1932

Zasu Pitts, who has a habit of popping out of unexpected corners in films, is contributing her latest comedy bit to “The Trial of Vivienne Ware,” now at the Roxy.

Although Miss Pitts is only a meek 32 years of age, she is one of the real veterans among the Hollywood troupers. She drew her first laugh in Parsons, Kan., on a bleak January day in 1900, and she was still a tiny tot when the family migrated to Santa Cruz, Cal.

Her introduction to the pictures was auspicious enough – a role in support of Mary Pickford in “The Little Princess.” That was in 1917.

Miss Pitts is married and has one child of her own, a daughter. When Barbara La Marr died, Zasu Pitts adopted her son.

At the moment, two of her films are awaiting release. The first is a comedy, “The Unexpected Father,” in which Miss Pitts is featured with Slim Summerville. The second is “Destry Rides Again,” Tom Mix’s first talking picture.

When Boris Karloff was enrolled to play the unctuous religious editor in “Five Star Final” he made the part one of the most disagreeable characterizations of the year.

Then he entered the cast of James Whale’s “Frankenstein” and interpreted the monster of that nightmarish story in a way that made the picture houses of the land ring with startled screams.

His new role in “Behind the Mask,” is in the same tradition. This is all by way of introduction to the interesting fact that Mr. Karloff in private life is an Englishman of excellent education.

His birthplace was London and the year was 1887. He took his schooling successively at Uppingham, Merchant Taylor School, and Kings College, London University.

Arriving in America after appearing on numerous London and European stages, he played stock for a time and finally attracted the attention of Hollywood with his stage performances in “The Virginian” and “Kongo.”

Before he blossomed out cinematically in “Five Star Final” he appeared in such films as “The Deadlier Sex,” “Criminal Code,” “Graft,” “Donovan’s Kid” and “The Public Defender.”

Robert Montgomery, who surmounted the handicap of a silver spoon in the process of becoming one of Metro-Goldwyn’s bright young men, is making his latest bow in “Letty Lynton” with Joan Crawford.

He was born in Beacon, N. Y. in 1904, and educated at the Pawling School and became accustomed at an early age to traveling in style on the Continent. The death of his father, Henry Montgomery, a vice president of the New York Rubber Company, when Robert was about 16, brought the discovery that the family fortune had shrunk.

The lad first went to work with his brother as a mechanic’s helper on a railroad. Four months later he sailed on a Standard Oil tanker as a deck hand. On his return he roomed with a lad who was getting his start in show business, and the two set out to buck the theater together.

After seventy-two weeks of stock, young Mr. Montgomery reached Broadway and appeared in “Arleen O’Dare,” “Dawn,” “Garden of Eden,” and other plays.

His first cinema role was in M-G-M’s “So This Is College” in 1929, and he has been with that company ever since. Subsequently, he played with Wallace Beery in “The Big House,” with Norma Shearer in “The Divorcee,” with Greta Garbo in “Inspiration,” with Constance Bennett in “The Easiest Way,” and with Joan Crawford in “Our Blushing Brides.”

Last Spring he was featured in his own right in “Shipmates.” The young man’s recent appearances have been in “Private Lives,” “Lovers Courageous” and “But the Flesh Is Weak.”

Now that he has arrived at the mature age of 6, Master Dickie Moore can explain his proficiency as an actor on the basis of an experience of five years.

The mite, who is to be observed in “So Big” this week at the Strand, made his film debut at the age of 11 months with a part in John Barrymore’s picture “The Beloved Rogue.”

Not long after that first plunge into dramatics he played with Richard Barthelmess in “Son of the Gods,” appearing as a Chinese infant, with make-up and all.

John Richard Moore, Jr. is his real name in private life and he was born right in Los Angeles in 1925. Dickie has a French-Irish background.

His present ambition, or one of them, is to take his part home with him at night and learn it for the next day’s shooting the way the big folks do. The system now is for the director to read the lines to him. Dickie memorizes them and then toddles out in front of the cameras.

He is three feet four inches tall, has brown eyes and blonde hair. He is under contract to Warner Brothers and has recently appeared in “The Star Witness,” “Union Depot,” “Manhattan Parade” and “Old Man Minick.”

Roscoe Ates has stuttered his way through yards of celluloid and sound track in recent years. His educated stutter is to be listened to at the Mayfair this week in “Roadhouse Murder.”

A native of Hattiesburg, Miss., he started out in life as a soda fountain attendant at 50 cents a week and, being an ambitious lad, worked himself up to motion picture operator at $1.50 a week.

The orchestra leader took a fancy to young Roscoe and sent him to Dana Musical Institute, where he graduated as a violinist. His facility with a bow won him a billing on the Keith Orpheum circuit, where for many years he was a familiar and merry figure,

His stuttering finally reached the ears of film executives and Mr. Ates was induced to enter films. One of his most successful characterizations was in “Cimarron” last year. Recently he has been seen in “Politics,” “Too Many Cooks,” “The Champ” and “Ladies of the Jury.”

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