Sunday, October 5, 2008

January 24, 1932

Hollywood, which is prepared for almost anything, is not easily surprised, but it was surprised by James Cagney. The tough young man of “The Public Enemy,” “Smart Money,” and “Blonde Crazy” handed the studio people their first shock when he revealed that he neither drank nor smoked. A little later came another jolt. It was learned that Cagney, in his spare time, was learning the piano, his desire being to attain such proficiency as would enable him to play Bach.
And then when “Smart Money” was in production came the really big surprise. There was to be a gambling scene, and Cagney, appearing on the set to take part in it, said to one of the assistant directors: “You’ll have to explain all of this to me, for I don’t know one card from another.”
“What?” gasped the official, “Don’t you play poker?”
“No” repeated the actor firmly.
“Well,” said the assistant director, coming up for air, “there isn’t much to explain so far as the scene goes. All you’ve got to do is hold the cards like you hold the steering wheel of a car.”
“I don’t know how to drive a car,” said Cagney.
That was the climax, for in Hollywood even the six-year-olds drive. People thought at first that Cagney was spoofing them, but it was true.

Charles Farrell and Janet Gaynor will play the leading roles in the Buddy De Sylva picture “Have a Heart,” upon Miss Gaynor’s return from her European vacation. James Dunn, who was originally assigned to the role which Farrell will play, is scheduled to act with Marian Nixon in “Little Teacher.”

Buck Jones is an expert aviator and holds a first-class transport license and served all through the war as flying officer in the U.S. First Air Squadron. Jones is now appearing in “One Man Law.”

George Arliss’ next starring picture will be “A Successful Calamity,” from the stage play by Clare Kummer, it is announced. Grant Mitchell is the only player definitely selected as yet for the supporting cast, but the picture is in active preparation and rehearsals will begin within the next ten days.

Andy Devine has been engaged for an important supporting role in the first starring vehicle for Kay Francis to be made under her new contract with First National. To date other members of the cast are David Manners and Una Merkel. Title of this film has been changed from “Working Wives” to “Pleasure First.”

“Rich Man’s Folly” which will be the featured picture at the Strand Theater starting Sunday brings George Bancroft back to the screen after an absence of several months.
Bancroft acts the part of a big shipbuilder, a man of large affairs in the business world and a dominating personality. Robert Ames has the next important role. The leading feminine role is played by Frances Dee, who was leading lady to Chevalier in Playboy of Paris.”
Wheeler and Woolsey are on the program in a two reel comedy “Oh Cleopatra.” Dorothy Burgess is featured with the two comedians.

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