Tuesday, January 31, 2012
May 8, 1932
As long ago as 1917, Doris Kenyon, who supports Spencer Tracy in “Young America,” was making films as a star for the old Pathe company.
Beginning as an ingenue, Miss Kenyon went by easy stages to the top of the heap in both stage and screen, and now she appears every once and again in roles that are becoming appropriately more mature.
Miss Kenyon's father was James B. Kenyon, editor and poet, and her ambitions as a girl were literary. She entered Barnard College and studied languages and music with a view to preparing herself for a writing career.
But after a year in college she found herself in Victor Herbert's “Princess Pat” with the awful responsibility on her young shoulders of speaking two lines every evening. After that she took a flier into films, but returned to the stage in a little while to learn more about the art of acting.
For Al Woods she appeared in “The Girl in the Limousine” and “The White Villa.” With Leo Carrillo she played in the Selwyn production of “The Love Chef” in Chicago, and then, in 1922, William A. Brady featured her in Owen Davis's “Up the Ladder.”
About the same time she collaborated with her father on a book of verse. When she returned to the films it was to stay, and she appeared in many forgotten silent pictures of the last decade.
Last Fall Miss Kenyon played Betsy Hamilton opposite George Arliss's Alexander Hamilton in the film of that name. Other pictures in which she has recently been seen were “The Road to Singapore,” “The Ruling Voice” and “The Bargain.”
Miss Kenyon is the widow of Milton Sills, that sturdy hero of the films who died in 1930.
Aline MacMahon, who is looking bored and omniscient at the same time these days as Warren William's secretary in “The Mouthpiece,” is relatively a newcomer in films. She left Broadway last year and appeared in “Five Star Final” - also in a secretary role.
Miss MacMahon first arrived in New York with her parents from Pennsylvania, where she was born. She matriculated at Barnard College and immediately became interested in college dramatics.
Somebody from the Neighborhood Playhouse group of that day saw her in one of the amateur productions and started her on a theatrical career. With the rest of the Neighborhood company she appeared in “The Grand Street Follies” at the end of each season, and it was in the 1924 edition that she contributed an impression of Gertrude Lawrence that brought her uptown and a part in, of all things, “Artists and Models.”
Soon she returned to drama in a revival of “Beyond the Horizon,” and subsequently appeared in “Spread Eagle,” “Her First Affair,” “Daylight Saving,” “Maya,” “Winter Bound” and finally in the Los Angeles production of “Five Star Final,” which was just a short jump to the Warner studios.
Fame being capricious at best, the story of how Pat O'Brien came to play the Hildy Johnson rold in “The Front Page” and thereby leap into the middle of Hollywood's shifting spotlight need astonish no one.
The young man, represented just now with “The Strange Case of Clara Deane,” had another part altogether in the road company of the newspaper play. A telephone call from Hollywood demanded to know if he was the actor in “The Front Page.” Answering in the affirmative, he was whisked away to the star role in the picture version, almost, he insists, before he had a chance to explain.
Not, it should be strenuously added, that Mr. O'Brien was an unknown. Only a few months before he had been named in a poll of theatrical critics as one of the ten best actors on the American stage, and he played the lead in Gilbert Miller's “Tomorrow and Tomorrow” just prior to this departure for the West Coast.
Mr. O'Brien was born and brought up in Milwaukee, dabbled in law and football, and served in the navy before he took up the stage seriously.
Then came the inevitable vaudeville tour and various excursions into stock, and finally Broadway in earnest.
He played a heavy in “A Man's Man,” the lead in “Gertie,” a comedy villain in “Henry Behave,” a bootlegger in “You Can't Win,” a gunman in “Danger”; and any number of character men in “The Nut Farm,” “This Man's Town,” “Coquette,” “The Up and Up,” “Broadway” and “Overture.”
Among his recent film endeavors have been “Scandal For Sale,” “Hell's House,” “Flying High” and “Consolation Marriage.”
In the cast of “State's Attorney” is a young woman named Jill Esmond who came over from England to assist Noel Coward and Gertrude Lawrence in the Broadway presentation of “Private Lives” and stayed on in this land to try her luck in the films.
Miss Esmond has an excellent background for a career in make-believe. Her father, Henry V. Esmond, is the author of “When We Were Twenty-one” and other plays. Her mother, Eva Moore, was a favorite in the English theater for many years.
Miss Esmond was a girl of 14 when she made her first stage appearance, playing the whimsical Wendy in the whimsical “Peter Pan” at London's St. James Theater.
In 1924 she toured in “Eternal Spring,” and played the lead in “Pollyanna.” The following year she appeared with her mother in “Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary” and also in Noel Coward's “Hay Fever.”
Subsequently Miss Esmond was in “All the King's Horses,” “Cat's Cradle,” “Puss in Boots” and “Outward Bound.” Her longest engagement came in 1928, when she accompanied John Galsworthy's “Bird in Hand” to New York and Chicago after its English run.
Then she made a picture at Elstree studios outside of London. She came to New York with the “Private Lives” company convinced that she was not the type for the part of Sybil Chase, but New York, including the local RKO office, thought otherwise, and now she is in the films.
Laurence Olivier, her actor-husband, has also been adopted by Hollywood.
Last Fall she appeared with Ruth Chatterton in “Once a Lady.”
George Bancroft's physique is no camera trick. Hollywood's leading burlyman, now to be seen in “The World and the Flesh,” stands six feet two and weighs close to 195 pounds. Mr. Bancroft will celebrate his fiftieth birthday in September.
He was born in Philadelphia. At the gentle age of two, little George allowed himself to be carried on the stage of the Forepaugh stock company, which needed a baby to complete its cast. But the stage did not take with him.
At fourteen he looked older than he was and succeeded in joining the navy. The outbreak of the Spanish-American War found him a gunner on the U. S. S. Baltimore, from which deck he took part in the Battle of Manila Bay. He served in the Boxer Rebellion, and in 1900 reached the turning point in his career when the Oregon struck a submerged rock off Chefoo lighthouse, near Pekin.
Young Bancroft, then attached to another vessel in the fleet, volunteered to dive under the hull of the stricken vessel to discover the extent of the damage. For that little job the Navy recommened him for an Annapolis appointment.
Dissatisfied with the restricting atmosphere of the military school, he decided to try his had as a professional entertainer, having won a fair reputation among his messmates as a song and dance man.
He toured in vaudeville for a while, doing a blackface bit and impersonations. Once he played Uncle Tom in one of the “Uncle Tom's Cabin” companies.
On Broadway he appeared in “The Trail of the Lonesome Pine,” “Paid in Full,” “The Rise of Rosie O'Reilly” and others.
It was his work as a brutal mountaineer in the picture “Driven” that brought him to the attention of James Cruze, when the director was casting “The Pony Express.” He created a new type of villain in Hollywood, and became so popular that film audiences began to resent seeing him always come to a bad end. So he become a hero.
Some of Mr. Bancroft's pictures are: “Underworld,” “The Rough Riders,” “Thunderbolt,” “Old Ironsides” and “The Mighty.”
His most recent films were “Scandal Sheet” and “Rich Man's Folly.”
On the day the United States went to war with Spain, taking with it the above-mentioned Mr. Bancroft, William Lee Tracy was born in Atlanta, Ga., across the street from the Capitol building.
Now, as a welcome recruit from the stage and one of the principal players in “The Strange Love of Molly Louvain,” he bears the familiar name of Lee Tracy, without the William.
His father worked on the railroad and the family jumped around the country with him. The lad liked railroading better than books and at a sufficiently early age left a St. Louis school so he could go to work with his dad.
Becoming older and wiser, he went to Union College at Schenectady to be an electrical engineer. The World War broke that up. Mr. Tracy emerged with a commision as Second Lieutenant.
He joined a vaudeville act, graduated into a New England reperatory company, and having learned the business arrived in due time on Broadway in “The Show Off.”
Jed Harris saw him in another play, “Glory Hallelujah,” and put him squarely on the road to success by enlisting him in the cast of “Broadway.” When that play finally closed, Mr. Tracy was a somebody.
In 1929 he went to Hollywood and made “Big Time,” following that up with “Liliom,” “Born Reckless” and “She Got What She Wanted.”
Returning to Broadway, he appeared in “Oh, Promise Me” last season, and “Louder, Please” in this waning season.
Now he is back in Hollywood and the present film is the first product of a union with the cinema that is beginning to look like an indefinite leave of absence from Broadway.
He insists, nevertheless, that he is a trouper first and last, and that the cinema will not hold him for more than three or four months in any given year.
Just now Mr. Tracy is making “Blessed Event” at the Warner studios.
Sunday, January 29, 2012
Star Plays His Records on the Set All Day Long
A one-minute vignette of Joan Crawford who has the title role in “Letty Lynton”:
Born in San Antonio, Tex., golden brown hair… Blue eyes large and round…
Worked in department store… Then danced in chorus…
Has figure of a goddess… walks pigeon-toed… is strong in her likes and dislikes…
Always goes up to strange babies and talks to them… Goes to beach daily for sun tan…
Is critical of own work but sensitive to criticism… Has long mahogany colored nails… Favorite color all shades of blue…
Gets that way too sometimes…
Favorite singer Bing Crosby… Has all his records and plays them on the set all day…
Always adored Barbara La Marr but never knew her…
Never sits idle and makes hook rugs incessantly… Loves tennis and backgammon but hates bridge…
Has every dress made tighter… dislikes cheap jewelry and affected people… Loves dramatic roles best… Is petrified at own previews… Loves her home and changes furniture annually… Has pajamas by the hundreds…
Hates to be waited on by servants… has five… Is petrified at making personal appearances… Gets fan mail by the thousands… Loves to sit for photographs… Usually destroys most all…
Loves ice tea, tomato soup and corn flakes… Practices singing daily… Always loses her gloves…
People always try to sell her things… Pronounces been, “bean”… says thank you eternally… Drives a sharp bargain in business… Has enthusiasm of child… Hates to make plans;
Fears disappointments… Afraid of the dark.
FEATURED PLAYER FEELS POISE WILL WIN OFFICE POST
By Dan Thomas
Hollywood, May 7
A girl who isn't afraid of losing her place in the movies!
That, ladies and gentlemen, is quite a statement – one that can be said of few in pictures, regardless of sex.
Consider for a moment what happens to a girl when she enters pictures. To begin with, if she is at all successful, she earns far more money than she ever could as a stenographer, bookkeeper or whatnot. She leads an exciting life. Result – after a taste of such a life she just can't go back to an ordinary dull existence and the thought is not a pleasant one.
After Year's Success
Cecilia Parker is one who is different. After a year of success – she has a contract and plays featured roles – Cecilia says:
“If anything should happen to make me drop out of pictures right now, I feel as though I would be much ahead of the game for the experience I've had,” the young actress told me. “Of course I hope to be able to carry on for some years yet. But there is no telling when one's picture life will come to an end. And when mine comes I won't cry – I will be glad to have had a taste of it.
Would Seek Office Job
“The first thing I would do if I were forced out of pictures would be to look for a job in an office. I believe that the poise and experience I have acquired in pictures would be of help to me in getting such a job, too. Poise is just as important in an office as anywhere else, although most girls don't seem to consider it so.
“Or I might get married. I expect to do that anyway when the right man comes along.”
Let's hope that Miss Parker's views on her screen career won't change. Our observation has been that actors and actresses die very hard and are miserable once their popularity starts to wane. To take Cecilia's attitude means pleasant years ahead.
ACTRESS PLAYS MOTHER ROLE FOR FIRST TIME
Loretta Young, who will be seen next Tuesday in “Play Girl,” a Warner Brothers and Vitaphone production, has for four years worked steadily going from one play to another, and portraying a variety of characters which ranged from the pampered daughter of the rich to gangster's moll and Chinese flapper.
But in “Play Girl,” she portrays the mother of a baby for the first time.
It might not have seemed strange if Loretta had rebelled at the part, but she loves it. “I have always been unusually fond of babies,” she says. “When I was a child playing with dolls, they were always baby dolls. When I cut paper dolls, those too were small children, and they were usually from the colored advertisments of some popular magazine. Cute babies. Fat healthy babies. I loved them all, and pasted their pictures into a large, loose-leaf scrap book. I still cherish it and even today, when I see some extraordinarily appealing baby picture in a magazine, I cut it out and add it to my collection.”
The baby in “Play Girl” for which Loretta Young and Norman Foster act as parents is a tiny one, but gives every evidence of becoming a bouncing child.
Loretta, so the baby's mother said, handled it expertly.
Others in the cast of “Play Girl” are Winnie Lightner, Guy Kibbee, Noel Madison, Dorothy Burgess, Mae Madison, Nadine Dore, Aileen Carlisle and James Ellison. The director is Ray Enright.
GRAND HOTEL PREMIER FINDS STARS ON HAND
Mrs. Clark Gable Almost Trampled On By Girls
By Dan Thomas
Goings on about town: The premier of “Grand Hotel”... and why not with so many stars in the picture... Garbo, Joan Crawford, the Barrymore brothers, Wally Beery, Lewis Stone, Jean Hersholt...
Garbo and John Barrymore the only ones of the cast not present... Garbo never shows in public... and John had to go fishing... at least that's what Will Rogers said.
Rogers acted as master of ceremonies... thereby insuring success for that portion of the evening... he had one good crack... “Louis B. Mayer is a very close friend of President Hoover's – in fact, a few months ago he was about the only friend Hoover had.”
Plenty Of Big Lights
Just before the show went on it was announced that Garbo would appear in person to take a bow after the picture... and then Wally Beery came on garbed in a burlesque dress... it was very bad... the entire audience started to walk out on the stunt.
Never since the opening of “Hell's Angels” have I seen so many of those big lights in front of a theater... dozens of them... and what a list of who's who in the audience... Everyone in town who could scrape up a dress suit and the price of admission attended... of course young Doug was there with Joan Crawford... and making no attempt to conceal his pride in her...
Edmund Goulding and his wife also present... what a job of directing he did on the picture... he'll be writing his own ticket for a long time as a result of it.
Stars, More Stars
Norma Shearer and Irving Thalberg, coming in late...
dozens of girls almost trampling on Mrs. Clark Gable in their frantic efforts to get Clark's autograph...
Jack Oakie doing his best to protect his mother from the crowd...
Karen Morley, all dressed in white, with Billy Bakewell... and pretty Gene Stratton looking almost like a painting in her black gown,
Constance and Joan Bennett, with their husbands, together as usual...
Jean Harlow, with the famous platinum tresses now red, causing everyone to look twice before recognizing her...
Bob Montgomery doing a stag act with Reginald Denny and Elliott Nugent and their wives... Mrs. Bob is in New York...
Dick and Jobyna Arlen wondering if football tactics might be of some use... Larry Olivier and Jill Esmond following right behind them.
Marlene With Hubby
Seldom have I seen so many men with their own wives... Marlene Dietrich with her husband... Al Scott wishing Colleen Moore was with him... but she's just a poor little working girl in the theater across the street these days...
everyone trying to get across the street to the Roosevelt at the same time after the show... and finding the exits too small... but arriving eventually... to stay as long as Harry Halstead and his gang can be persuaded to keep the music going.
IRVING THALBERG CREATIVE GENIUS OF GRAND HOTEL
At the opening in Los Angeles Friday night, April twenty-ninth, of the amazing picture “Grand Hotel,” Mr. Will Rogers, with his accustomed cleverness and verbal gracefulness, mentioned the actors in the play, one after another, and mentioned the director and the many whose names were on the program and some who were not.
All of these good people so complimented arose and bowed and basked in the spotlight and received the kindly plaudits of the audience.
One young man with a fine sensitive face and the fire of genius in his eyes, sat quietly unnoticed and unheralded throughout the entire evening.
And he was the one person who was mainly responsible for the marvelous success which everybody was enjoying on this wonderful occasion.
The actors were notable. No one denies them the credit which is their due, but if this or that actor had not played his part, some other actor would have been found to play it equally well.
Moreover, remarkably able as the director was and the scenario writer, too, still if these competent people had been absent, some other competent people could have been discovered to take their places.
But who can find another Irving Thalberg, the brilliant creative mind back of this great picture and so many other of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s splendid productions?
Perhaps only those who work with him fully appreciate what the genius of Irving Thalberg meant to “Grand Hotel” and what it means to the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer institution and to the whole moving picture industry.
Mr. Thalberg has the admirable modesty of genuine merit, but next time we hope that this modesty will not prevent SOME mention and SOME spotlight and SOME proper recognition of the man who is the most interesting and the most significant figure on all such occasions.
ORPHEUM TO FEATURE “BEN-HUR” IN SOUND AND PARTS IN COLOR
Screen spectacle which passed out with the coming of the talkies may be seen in all its glory with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's return showing of “Ben-Hur,” conceded to be the most spectacular film in the world.
The picture, in which Ramon Novarro plays his greatest role, is now augmented with sound effects and will be shown at the Orpheum theater for two days, starting Tuesday.
“Ben-Hur” was directed by Fred Niblo, and the history of its three years in the making both in Italy and California, at a cost of four million dollars, is a real life odyssey of enterprise and adventuring, culminating with the completion of the gigantic Antioch circus and race course and the filming of the great chariot race between the Jew, Ben-Hur, and the Roman, Messala.
The addition of sound makes the spectacular nature of these gigantic scenes even more vivid and impressive for in the chariot scenes the audience is now able to hear the thrilling cheers of the spectators. The effect of sound is again made apparent in the terrific sea battle in which the shouts of the wounded make for an alarming realism.
General Lew Wallace wrote “Ben-Hur” half a century ago and its success as a novel was followed in 1899 by its dramatization. The stage spectacle has since become known as the most widely produced offering in the world and the fact that no year goes by without a production of the spectacular Wallace drama in some country or other has given it the title of the world's most immortal story.
Among scenes which current talkies cannot duplicate are those of the Wise Men and the Star of Bethlehem, Jerusalem under Roman occupation, the amazing sea battle between Greeks and Romans, the brilliant chariot race, the hero's assembling of his Galillean legions, the finding of his mother and sister in the valley of the lepers and the miraculous healing wrought by the Divine Power. Many of the scenes are done in color.
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
By Louella O. Parsons
Hollywood, May 8
Colleen Moore is opening her gorgeous home in Bel Air. It’s one of the show places in California and she hasn’t lived in it for over a year. During the time she has spent in New York, Palm Beach and other points East and South, the Martin Flavins rented it. Now that Colleen is married, she yearns to play hostess again.
When she returned to California she was indifferent to motion pictures. She was determined to continue her stage career. She felt she had had too many heartaches during the early days of the talkies, when her experience as one of the screen’s most successful stars seemed to count for naught.
But it’s all different now.
Three film companies came after her and, after all, California is home and Colleen has many friends here and she loves the movies.
No Jokes For Garbo
You cannot make light of Greta Garbo to the film colony and get an approving smile. You cannot imitate her threat to “go home," and find any of the film stars who think you are funny. Greta Garbo is one star whose work as an actress is respected.
Will Rogers discovered that when he urged Wallace Beery to dress as Garbo after promising the audience at the opening of “Grand Hotel” that Garbo had consented to appear.
Rogers was big enough to admit his mistake and to come right out in the open and take the blame, and it takes a pretty big person to do that. He was astounded by the storm of criticism that followed the hoax.
Jack Can Come Back
Jack Gilbert’s little announcement that he intends to become a director started something. Telephone calls, telegrams and eager friends all tried to tell him that he is making a mistake. I wonder.
Jack, in his heyday, was the most important male star we have ever had, with the possible exception of Rudolph Valentino. He is still a great actor.
If he wants to step out of character for a brief time and direct a picture he is perfectly justified. It needn’t mean that he is through with acting forever. He can come back and his little directorial experience won’t do him any harm.
On Camping Trip
Oh the great outdoors! Robert Montgomery and Reginald Denny are planning a three-day camping party at Denny’s luxurious cabin in the San Bernardino mountains. Bob is to play the lead in Marion Davies’ picture and he is trying to figure out how he can get three days and still be on the job.
Irving Pichel has bought three acres in Flintridge and will build a farmhouse home.
Gary Cooper is all set for a beach house. Some of his friends suggested that he ought to have a party for the chimpanzee that he brought back with him. Gary waxes enthusiastic over the chimp, which he says has a very sweet disposition. Being used to Lupe Velez’s temperamental outbursts, maybe the chimp seems mild.
New York has its Dutch Treat club, but leave it to Hollywood to have its West Side Asthma and Riding club. You should have read the list of members, headliners all of them. The only phony thing about it is the title. The members are Groucho Marx, Don Marquis, Don Ogden Stewart, Homer Croy, Buddy Desylva, Allen Rivkin, Harry Brand, Ted Cook, Jimmy Gleason, Harrison Carroll, Chic Sale and a number of other literary lights.
Someone suggested the title ought to be changed, but, as Groucho Marx said, “It wouldn’t be fair to the people who have resigned. They might want to join again and find it’s the same old West Side Asthma and Riding club.”
The Film Babies
Where are all these gay parties at the beaches? I spent Sunday at Santa Monica and I was never so surrounded by babies and baby conversation since Parsons Jr. was in the nursery.
Barbara Bebe Lyon held open house. Marlene Dietrich brought over her little daughter Maria Sieber, all dressed in silk pajamas.
“I washed my hands in chloroform,” Maria confided, “so I could hold the baby.”
Marlene explained that she meant a disinfectant.
Irving Thalberg Jr., his blond curls in ringlets, had his picture taken with Barbara, but he didn’t think much of her or the camera, either. He kept telling his mother that he wanted to see Sammy Goldwyn and even though she is Norma Shearer to fans, she is only mother to him.
BETTE DAVIS GETS PART IN BARTHELMESS FILM
By Louella O. Parsons
Los Angeles, May 7
Little Bette Davis, blond, young and with ability, has been elected to take the place of Marian Marsh at Warner Bros. Fox is dickering at this very moment with the Marsh girl. Marian, according to report, will go to Fox on a contract now being negotiated.
Bette has a great chance if she will put herself in the hands of a capable makeup man. She gave a great performance in “Seed” and one was not distracted by over-beaded eyelashes and over-rouged mouth.
She plays opposite Barthelmess in “Cabin In the Cotton” and she won that role after innumerable tests were shown Barthelmess. Hardie Albright has one of the chief roles. Michael Curtiz directs.
Jack Oakie, sweater and all, will soon have a trip to New York. He has been signed by Charles R. Rogers or will be signed for one of the leads in “Madison Square Garden,” the picture in which Jimmie Gleason will do his comedy stuff.
Well over 3000 feet of film were shot of the Garden when Charlie was in New York, by special permission of and in association with W. F. Carey of Madison Square fame.
Despite all this fight atmosphere, “Madison Square Garden” will not deal solely with the pugilistic game. There will be hockey, bicycle races and many other forms of sport.
The latest up to to-day on the Nancy Carroll-Paramount scrap is a compromise. Nancy, it appears, was getting bonuses in addition to salary, which gave her a fat weekly pay check. In the general cutting down order it was decided to remove the bonus and hand Miss Carroll a flat salary.
At first she refused, but according to a friend of hers, she and Paramount have reached an agreement whereby she receives $1000 a week. The one thing Nancy asks for is better stories, and that she is promised. She feels her roles haven't been good the past year. And there is something in what she says.
Hollywood - Watch out for this one! Pola Negri is going to write a book entitled “My Confessions.” And Pola says she is going to tell everything, leaving nothing untold. What a sensation it should create.
Also, Ann Harding has resumed her piano lessons. Well, it must be getting rather quiet around the house these days at that.
John Boles has swapped his horse for a bicycle for the time being. He claims that he really gets more exercise on the bike. He wouldn't if he rode the horse in our fashion.
Clara Bow dropped in at the Paramount studio the other day to visit with some of her old pals. And didn't say a word about resuming her career – even when she was asked.
Now that they have gone nautical, Bill Seiter and Laura La Plante are wondering what to call their new yacht. Bill sort of favors “The Panic.”
And we hear reports of a romance budding between Barbara Weeks, pretty Wampas Baby Star, and Alex Tiers, wealthy man-about-town.
Helene Near Altar?
More love rumors – these concerning Helene Costello, just back from Europe, and Harold Haas.
And right on top of that comes the report that Nancy Carroll's latest marriage is beginning to wilt.
Jack Gilbert is getting to be his old self again. Don't know what causes it but I hope he holds out long enough to put that old personality on the screen.
Suggestions for song numbers in the forthcoming Wheeler and Woolsey opus, “Hold 'Em, Jail” - “Sing, Sing You Sinners,” “Just a Gigalo” “My Time Is Your Time” and “Wrong Number.” What d'ya mean, not so good?
“One Eye” Connelly, that gentleman who used to crash the papers so much because of his gate-crashing activities, now is the unofficial greeter outside the Brown Derby each day at lunch time. That's one gate he doesn't seem to be able to crash, however.
Chico – Bridge Expert
They can keep him in a hostpital if they want, but they can't keep Chico Marx from playing bridge. It's a laugh to watch him, too. Someone has to hold and play the cards for him. Chico simply doing the bidding and giving instructions on which cards to play. He's lucky, too.
But the studio isn't so fortunate. While he's winning at bridge, the studio is losing thousands through holding up production on the new Marx film.
How's this for speed? Glenn Tryon came home from the harbor where he had been puttering around with his boat, at five o'clock the other day. Scattered all over the house, to make sure he would see one of them, were notes from his wife saying, “You don't know it but you're acting as master of ceremonies in San Diego tonight.”
At six o'clock Glenn boarded a plane. At seven he was in San Diego. And at seven-thirty he was on the job. And did he wow 'em!
NAGEL TELLS NEEDS OF MOVIES
By Louella O. Parsons, Motion Picture Editor, Universal Services
Los Angeles, May 7
With many of the most virulent symptoms diagnosed and remedies skillfully suggested for the current ills of the motion picture theaters, Conrad Nagel returns to Hollywood.
He returns after five months touring the country. He has seen small houses filled to overflowing, while huge, expensive theaters remain empty. He has talked with theater owners who have not felt the bitterness of unoccupied seats and he has heard lamentations from theater owners who have suffered the pangs of poverty.
What’s the remedy? “Give the people good pictures and not too much vaudeville,” says Mr. Nagel, “and you will see a return of the old days.
“If I owned a theater I should separate vaudeville and motion pictures. They obviously do not belong together. Certainly, vaudeville, that failed as an entertainment, is not a crutch on which the movies should lean.”
A little thinner, much wiser and with much valuable information, Conrad returns, after having made over 700 addresses. He played five shows a day, he talked to women’s clubs, Parent-Teachers’ associations, and he debated with censor boards throughout the country. He went to stay five weeks and remained almost half a year.
Why? Because he was doing such intelligent work both Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and the Hays office urged him to continue.
Censor boards are not as black as many of our film writers have painted them, according to Conrad. “I found them a definite asset in Ohio,” he said. “They seek to do their duty and often they have been criticized for passing scenes that are considered harmful by women’s clubs.
“In most cases they only try to fulfill their duties. In a few states they take advantage of their position and openly fight motion pictures. I was asked to debate on Hollywood and censorship with a woman censor who had been widely publicized as fighting motion pictures. She had been noticeably unfair and she had misinterpreted everything about films and film folk.
“Our debate was staged in a hall occupied by the local women’s clubs and by the parent teacher association. I warmed up to my speech and I prepared a defense against some of her accusations that seemed irrefutable. Apparently they were irrefutable, for after I received applause for my efforts she disappeared and although we were supposed to debate, she refused to answer me.
“Most of the old ballyhoo methods of advertising in the front of theaters has disappeared. However, once in a while it confronts you,” said Conrad. “While I was in the East Eddie Cantor and George Jessel were doing a phenomenal business wherever they appeared. They would clear as much as $45,000 a week.
“I visited a small town in New York state and saw on a small theater the words ‘Eddie Cantor and George Jessel tonight’ and then in much smaller type, so small that you had to get very close to the sign board to read, ‘but not at this theater.’
“The inhabitants were so incensed at the hoax the theater owner had to close and leave town. I saw very little evidence of this type of advertising. A few isolated theater owners called attention to a coming attraction with sign boards suggesting sex angles where none existed, but this belongs more to main street and the five cent houses than to respectable neighborhoods.
Saturday, January 21, 2012
JOAN CRAWFORD EXTORTION PLOT PROVES TO BE SCARE
Hollywood, Calif., May 7
Joan Crawford, celebrated screen star, was greatly relieved to-day to learn that she had not been a victim of an extortion plot.
After questioning a mysterious eastern youth who had sought an appointment with the screen star, police announced he had been released when they had determined there had been no attempt on his part to extort money from Miss Crawford.
Advised of this fact, Miss Crawford determined to drop the case.
POLA NEGRI SAYS SHE WILL WED IN SUMMER
Cleveland, O., May 7 (UP)
Pola Negri, film star, confirmed reports upon arrival in Cleveland today for a vaudeville engagement, that she will be married either in July or August.
She declined to reveal her prospective husband's name although she declared he was an American and had been married before.
NANCY CARROLL AND STUDIO SETTLE ROW
Hollywood, Calif., May 7 (INS)
Although unconfirmed by the Paramount studio today, friends of Nancy Carroll, film actress, said she had patched up her differences with Paramount and would receive a salary of $1000 a week without bonuses hitherto given her.
The studio also was said to have promised her better stories.
ANN HARDING LEAVES RENO
Reno, Nev., May 7 (INS)
Within 24 hours after she had arrived in Reno by airplane, Ann Harding, blonde screen star, was zooming back to Hollywood today with Reno’s “friendliest” divorce decree.
Two hours after her “love” divorce decree had been granted from Harry Bannister, her actor husband, Miss Harding, after bidding her erstwhile husband an affectionate farewell, sped away in her trim green speed monoplane in which she had made the journey here from Hollywood.
For several minutes before her plane left, Miss Harding and Bannister walked about the airport holding hands and seemingly loath to part. Finally, after an affectionate embrace, she started her journey back to filmland where her meteoric rise in pictures wrecked their “ideal marriage.”
ETHEL CLAYTON PLEA FAILS
Los Angeles Judge Rules She Must Accept Divorce Decree
Los Angeles, May 7 (AP)
Ethel Clayton, film actress, must accept the divorce decree awarded her from Ian Keith, actor, even if she does not want it.
Miss Clayton, to whom the decree was granted some time ago, later decided she did not want it. She said she wanted separate maintenance only until she received $4500 under a property settlement and petitioned to set aside the decree.
Superior Judge Dudley Valentine yesterday ordered the divorce decree regularly docketed in the County Clerk's office. Attorneys for Mr. Keith had requested the action.
MARY ASTOR SAILS FOR SOUTH SEAS
Los Angeles, May 7 (AP)
Bearing Mary Astor, film actress and her husband, Dr. Franklyn Thorpe, Hollywood physician, the 35-foot yacht Henrietta sailed today for a cruise of the South Seas.
Prior to its return in August, the yacht will be put in a Honolulu Harbor for the birth of an infant to the couple.
SENNETT DROPS DIRECTION OF CHARLES MACK FEATURE
Hollywood, May 7
Mack Sennett has withdrawn from direction of the Charles Mack feature, which was a Moran and Mack picture until Moran dropped out of the cast. He will engage a director and be content with supervision.
NILS ASTHER GETS PASSPORT, RETURNS
Tijuana, Mexico, May 7 (INS)
Nils Asther, Swedish motion picture actor, has returned to Hollywood today after being detained in Mexico for 10 days because of failure to bring his American passport with him, officials announced. The passport was sent him from Hollywood and Asther left at once. He passed the time fishing in Ensenada.
DOLORES DEL RIO RETURNS TUES.
After an absence of two years, owing to illness, Dolores Del Rio returns triumphantly to the screen in a glamorous role. The star makes her belated celluloid appearance in RKO-Radio Pictures' “Girl of the Rio.”
Featured with her is Leo Carillo, rapidly becoming an outstanding screen star.
Miss Del Rio's appearance is a fortuitous one in that she selected a story which affords in plot structure, atmosphere and treatment a fit setting for her talents as an actress.
She plays the role of “The Dove,” who is forced by circumstances to dance and sing in a riotous cafe just across the border from the United States.
DOROTHY JORDAN DEVELOPS INTO CAPABLE ACTRESS
Evolves from “Just a Sweet Little Southern Girl”
The evolution of Dorothy Jordan from “Just a Sweet Little Southern Girl” into a young lady beginning to show talent as an actress has required about three years of hard and steady work.
She went to Hollywood originally under contract to Fox, which then was signing all the promising stage people it found as well as many who showed little promise. After a brief trial, Dorothy was judged to be of the latter group and was released.
Her uncertainty and humiliation were relieved by a self-sought role in “The Taming of the Shrew,” and after her first picture with Ramon Novarro at M-G-M she was placed under contract – still a sweet little Southern girl.
Since then, Fox, the studio that turned her down, has been borrowing her, notably for “Young Sinners” and more for “Down to Earth” with Will Rogers.
In the interim Dorothy, as sweet as ever but less naïve, has begun to develop as an actress. She considers one of her best roles that of "The Roadhouse Murder.”
STEAKS HOLD GERMAN MOVIE STAR IN U. S.
New York, May 7 (AP)
Dita Parlo, German movie star, likes to watch Americans eat steaks. And she likes the steaks, too, especially the New York night club thick kind.
She mimicked the method today, with vigorous motions of teeth and hands.
She likes them so well, she confided, she deliberately missed three Bremen-bound liners and began giving this city as her permanent address.
JOAN BENNETT WANTS MILLIONS
No greater tribute can be paid to the romantic theme of “She Wanted a Millionaire,” the Fox photoplay which marks the first screen appearance of 1932 of Joan Bennett, than the fact that five members of its cast were caught in the web of cupid during the making of the picture.
In the picture, Miss Bennett marries James Kirkwood and as the film ends she is shown preparing to marry her co-star Spencer Tracy. At the same time that she was portraying these screen romances Miss Bennett was enacting a real life romance and before completion of the picture she announced her engagement to Gene Markey, the writer.
James Kirkwood, too, had an affair of the heart and returned to the studio one day with a new bride, Miss Beatrice Powers, the young woman you will see in the beauty contest sequence of the picture as Miss Germany.
IT TOOK FILMS TO MAKE HERBERT A TRAMP
“The movies made a tramp of me!”
Hugh Herbert is not the only actor singing that song – only he means it differently.
Since Hugh deserted his typewriter for the grease paint at RKO Radio Pictures' studio he has played a tramp in five different productions – beginning with the railroad hobo in “Danger Lights.”
In “The Lost Squadron,” he shares hobo honors with Richard Dix and Joel McCrea. They play three returned aviators who “ride the rods” to Hollywood and become stunt flyers.
HIS ENNUI MADE COOK AN ACTOR
Sheer ennui made an actor of Donald Cook, former stock favorite, now seen in “The Trial of Vivienne Ware.”
He might have been a banker. In Portland, Ore., his home town, he started out as a clerk in his uncle's bank, doing the jobs most young bank clerks do. It bored him, irritated him besides because he felt that no matter what he accomplished, it would be attributed to his relationship to the head of the bank.
One day he left, bound for New York. It took him three years to get there. En route he worked at whatever he could find. He got jobs in stockyards, in lumber camps, in a business college, sold vacuum cleaners and mincemeat and other commodities, and all the time got nearer his goal.
In Kansas City, working by day, he played parts in community theater at night. A year later he was on Broadway, and his troubles were over. He has been “at liberty” rarely since.
About two years ago he came to Hollywood, partly to visit relatives on the coast, principally at the call of romance. His marriage to Frances Beranger, step-daughter of William DeMille lasted briefly. “We didn't hit it off” is his only comment.
GEORGE BARBIER IS AGAIN CAST WITH MAURICE CHEVALIER
George Barbier, jolly king of “The Smiling Lieutenant,” is a member of the cast of a Maurice Chevalier starring picture for the third time in his brief film career. He was one of the first actors to be assigned a featured part in “One Hour With You,” when casting staff made their selections.
It was in Chevalier's “The Big Pond” that Barbier made his film debut while working on the Broadway stage.
Since signing a picture contract following his appearance in “The Smiling Lieutenant,” Barbier has appeared in five Hollywood productions: “Twenty Four Hours,” “Girl About Town,” “Touchdown,” “No One Man,” and “Intimate,” all within four months.
His rapidly increasing list of films gives promise of a screen record comparable to that he held on the stage in playing more than 750 roles.
“One Hour With You” also has Jeanette MacDonald, Genevieve Tobin, Charlie Ruggles and Roland Young predominantly cast.
ZITA JOHANN, HUNGARIAN BEAUTY, MAKES FILL DEBUT IN “STRUGGLE”
Actress Was Theater Guild Leading Lady When Only 19
Zita Johann, who makes her cinema debut in D. W. Griffith's “The Struggle” was born in Hungary, but came to the United States as a child of nine. Her father was an officer in the Hungarian Hussars, and in her childhood was stationed at the sizeable city of Temesvar, in the should of Hungary.
At 19, she became one of several leading women to Basil Sidney in the first road tour repertory company the Theater Guild sent out. Only a brief experience in stock had preceded this. George Bernard Shaw's “The Devil's Disciple,” Leonid Andreyev's “He Who Gets Slapped” and Ibsen's “Peer Gynt” were included in the repertoire.
Followed a succession of stock engagements, interspersed with metropolitan and road engagements. Nineteen twenty-seven brought a long road tour in “The Cradle Song,” the play from the Spanish, which Eva Le Gallienne had produced with her Civic Repertory Company in New York.
In the fall of 1928 she appeared in a play of Tennessee rural life called “Rope.” Then came her selection by Arthur Hopkins to create the heroine in Sophie Treadwell's “Machinal.”
This play had its New York premier early in September, 1928. The critics proclaimed her a new-found genius of tragedy. Then the films beckoned. The young actress went to Hollywood – there to remain for six months without playing a part or making even one scene. She returned to New York and was playing in “Tomorrow and Tomorrow” when signed by Griffith.
PARAMOUNT HAS 'MIRACLE MAN'S' TALKIE VERSION
Only Half of Principals in Silent Film Are Remembered
Only half of the six leading players in the silent production of “The Miracle Man” 13 years ago are remembered by the general public today.
It is easily remembered that Betty Compson, Thomas Meighan and Lon Chaney worked in the original film, for they soon rose to stardom as the result of their marvelous portrayals.
Today, in the Paramount's talking version those parts go to Sylvia Sidney, as the girl crook, Chester Morris as the leader of the group and John Wray as the Frog, a fake cripple.
In the original film, Frankie Lee appeared as the crippled boy; Joseph Dowling as the patriarch and Monte Dumont as the pickpocket, parts which are now played respectively by Robert Coogan, Hobart Bosworth and Ned Sparks.
Of the original sextet, Miss Compson and Meighan are still film favorites, Chaney and Dowling are dead, Dumont plays character roles under the name John Dumont and Frankie Lee, grown up, no longer acts.
George Loane Tucker, director of the silent film, is dead.
Others who worked under Tucker's guidance in 1919 included W. Lawson Butt, Elinor Fair, F. A. Turner and Lucille Hutton. Their places in the new version are filled by Lloyd Hughes, Virginia Bruce, Frank Darien and Florine McKinney.
Boris Karloff also has a role in the Paramount's film, but who first created the part for the screen is unknown today.
GRAND HOTEL BOASTS FIVE STARS
“Grand Hotel,” Metro-Goldwyn’s most ostentatious production, is playing at the State theater this week, in the first road show engagement since the inception of talking pictures. Two shows daily are being presented, with all seats reserved.
“Grand Hotel” boasts probably the most imposing cast that has yet appeared in any single photoplay.
The five most prominent roles in the new film are played by Greta Garbo, John Barrymore, Wallace Beery, Joan Crawford and Lionel Barrymore.
Miss Garbo, now working in “As You Desire Me” at Culver City, plays Grusinskaya, the dancer. John Barrymore is the baron with whom she falls in love, and Wallace Beery has the role of Preysing, a German financial speculator. Miss Crawford plays Flaemmchen, a stenographer, and Lionel Barrymore has the much-discussed role of Kringelein.
Other roles are filled by Lewis Stone, Jean Hersholt, Purnell Pratt, Rafaelo Ottiano, Tully Marshall, Frank Conroy, Edwin Maxwell, Ruth Selwyn, and Kathryn Crawford.
In cinematic form, “Grand Hotel” was made under the direction of Edmund Goulding.
GANG PICTURE COMING FRIDAY
Howard Hughes has a bodyguard, an ex-Texas ranger, since the threat of gangland was directed at him during the filming of “Scarface.”
The fact is now revealed for the first time. One of his friends in Houston let the “beans out of the bag” last week in that city to a newspaper reporter there. It will be recalled that newspapers over the country several months ago carried stories about the message of one of Al Capone’s emissaries to the young producer, saying that the “big boy” wanted to see the picture before it was released.
“He can just put his money down on the line at the box office,” Hughes officially answered the man.
Throughout the filming of the gangland story, which makes no secret about being based on the life of Al Capone, two gangsters were seen around the studio. It was this which caused the bodyguard for young Hughes to be rushed to the coast. He insisted upon a Texas man, as a precaution against any possible connection with the underworld gang whose threat hung over his head.
Hughes is now reported to be somewhere between Bermuda and Texas, his Texas ranger bodyguard with him.
For awhile, he has left the litigation involving the release of “Scarface” behind him, and is preparing to return to Hollywood, defying the wishes of the censor board of the state of New York to change the final scenes in the picture before it can be released in that state. Hughes is going to release it, and fight the censor boards through injunctions in every town in New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio, in which it plays.
Scarface will be played at the Empire theater starting Friday, in the original version as produced by Hughes. It has just finished an engagement in New Orleans, in the original version, where reports say it has broken the records established by “Hell’s Angels.”
Hughes himself describes the picture as “a gang picture to end gang pictures.”
RADIO TRICKS SHOWN IN FILM
Mysteries of radio sound effects and the modus operandi of storms, bridge crashes, racing horses and other incidentals to broadcasted drama prove excellent comedy material for “Are You Listening?” an unusual picture laid in the atmosphere of a national broadcasting station. The film is based on the widely-read J. P. McEvoy radio story.
The “applause machine” with which handclaps are manufactured to create applause in the right spots in the broadcasts of musical numbers, the “thunder chute” in which cannonballs are rolled down a wooden frame to reproduce the roar of a storm, the “wind whistle” with which artificial gales are created – are all worked by actual radio broadcast experts in order to make the scenes as authentic as possible.
Some of their secrets are peculiar, as, for instance, the crashing of timbers, which is reproduced by breaking matches two inches from the microphone.
TWO PICTURES, VAUDEVILLE AT STRAND
Janet Gaynor, whose latest production, “Delicious,” comes to the Strand theater Sunday for three days, proves again that she is the exception to the “luxury and wealth” rule of the movies. In this picture, in which she is co-starred with Charles Farrell, she is again most appealing as the pathetic little figure surrounded by poverty and squalor through which her innate goodness and charm shine brightest.
The story of “Delicious” is consistent with this characteristic of Miss Gaynor except that her occupation is a little more than ordinarily unusual. She is, of all professions, a marmalade girl. Or was, before embarking in the steerage of a giant liner to sail for America to find a home with an uncle in Idaho.
Buck Jones, popular screen star, is the hero of the outdoor drama, “Ridin’ for Justice,” which is the second feature attraction on this program.
“Ridin’ for Justice” was directed by D. Ross Lederman.
Five acts of vaudeville headed by Bob (“Speed”) Myers as master of ceremonies, completes the bill.
CHIC SALE FILM RETURNS THURSDAY TO PALACE THEATER
“The Expert,” which comes to the Palace theater Thursday, presents in the leading roles two actors who were hits in “The Star Witness” – Charles (“Chic”) Sale and diminutive Dickie Moore.
Edna Ferber, author of the story, expressed great satisfaction with the choice of the team of Sale and Moore as the inseparable pals of the heartwarming drama. The lovable, if opinionated, old man who finds himself out of place in the city home of his married son and the waif who finds himself out of place everywhere constitute the roles played by Chic and Dickie respectively.
Lois Wilson, Earle Foxe, Noel Francis and Elizabeth Patterson are seen in the large cast.
THE BIG TIMER AT EMPIRE WEDNESDAY
A very human story of youth, its ambitions and disillusionments, its set-backs and come-backs is told in “The Big Timer,” the picture coming to the Empire theater Wednesday for a three-day engagement. It reaches greatness through its simplicity, sincerity and understanding.
Ben Lyon portrays the character of Cooky Bradford with a vitality and sympathy that make you like him even when he is being his dumbest, for, though Cooky is a wise guy, hi isn’t as smart as the girl who stands back of him.
Eddie Buzzell, directing his first feature, has made a very real picture. Thelma Todd is alluring as the Park avenue siren and various other colorful characters are cleverly interpolated.
LEW AYRES COMING TO MAJESTIC SOON
Lew Ayres will soon be welcomed back to the RKO-Majestic theater as co-star with Mae Clarke in “Night World,” hailed as an intimate expose of the “café racket” and the little-known but exciting activities of the people who live by it.
Supporting roles are enacted by Boris Karloff, Dorothy Revier, Dorothy Peterson, Hedda Hopper and Clarence Muse.
HARRY CAREY IN PLAZA PICTURE
Harry Carey will be back in the saddle at the Plaza theater again Sunday for a two-day stay in town in the role of a U. S. Cavalry officer in “Cavalier of the West,” the first feature production he has made since his return from Africa, where he went to play the starring part in “Trader Horn.”
“Cavalier of the West” is the first of a series of eight romantic melodramas that Carey will make for Weiss Brothers Artclass Pictures corporation. “Roped” is the second.
Lew Cody, veteran star of the screen, heads the cast of Tiffany Productions’ newspaper drama, “X Marks the Spot,” scheduled to show at the Plaza theater Sunday and Monday.
The producers have assembled a strong supporting cast with a comparative screen newcomer, Wallace Ford, in the principle supporting role.
Sally Blane has the leading feminine role, while the dependable Fred Kohler, for years under contract to Paramount, is the heavy spot.
MURDER MYSTERY COMING TO MAJESTIC NEXT SATURDAY
A murder that shocked the nation, “The Famous Ferguson Case,” is the new First National feature picture coming to the Majestic theater Saturday for a four-day engagement. It will get a peep into the real world behind the scenes of newspaper making, such as has never before been granted to the army of newspaper readers.
Joan Blondell plays the central role in “The Famous Ferguson Case,” She is assigned to write “sob stuff” for her sheet about the dreadful affair at Cornwall when the wealthy banker, Mr. Ferguson of New York, was found murdered under circumstances which point the finger of suspicion directly at Mrs. Ferguson and her close friend, Judd Brooks.
YOUNG, LILY IN RKO COMEDY
The comedy romance of a “just pretend” bride and her bachelor groom on a “make believe” honeymoon, “This Is the Night,” is featured this week at the RKO-Majestic theater.
Featured in the role of the synthetic bride is Lily Damita. She is ably supported by a cast that includes Charlie Ruggles, Roland Young, Thelma Todd and Cary Grant, a new and handsome screen hero.
In “The Is the Night,” Lily Damita is a beautiful but “broke” French actress who is engaged by Charlie Ruggles to pose as the wife of Roland Young, who has been caught in a gay mood with Thelma Todd, the wife of Cary Grant. Ruggles reasons that Grant’s suspicions will be allayed when he sees Young is very attentive to his own wife.
Complications arise when Young and Lily Damita are forced to join Grant and his wife on a vacation trip to Venice. Hilarious comedy situations arise as the synthetic bride and groom share the same sleeping compartments and later when they share the same hotel suite.
Thelma Todd becomes almost uncontrollably jealous when she observes that not only her bachelor friend, Roland Young, is falling in love with Lily Damita, but her husband and Charlie Ruggles, too. These complications resolve in a cyclone of farcial predicaments that end merrily.
The “Sultan of Swat,” Babe Ruth, heads the program of short film features in the first of his series of sport reel titles, “Slide, Babe, Slide.”
Other short subjects are the Frank McHugh newspaper comedy, “Extra- Extra,” and the RKO-Pathe News.