Saturday, June 13, 2009

March 29, 1932


Same Old Arguments Dished Up in Big Way to Benefit of Temple and New Movie

By George Beale, United Press Staff Correspondent

Los Angeles, March 29
Aimee Semple McPherson-Hutton and the motion picture colony got together last night and gave a super special production that only such a combination could offer.

The famous woman evangelist, generally credited with being a better showman than the best in Hollywood, argued the matter of prohibition with Walter Huston, well known screen actor.

As a debate, the points were much the same offered in any prohibition discussion, but Mrs. Hutton, the Kleig lights and the pageantry led some 10,000 people to stampede to the evangelist’s Angelus temple.

The winner of the event will be decided Thursday by a count of ballots cast by those present and meantime Mrs. Hutton took up a collection and Huston attracted a lot of attention to a prohibition picture in which he has just played a leading part.


Those who know the Angelus temple felt that Mrs. McPherson was pretty sure of a victory in the voting because she has a habit of winning, especially in her four square gospel home.

Then, too, she took advantage of an opportunity and offered one of her “stocks in trade,” to clinch her argument by introducing a reformed drunkard, gambler and drug addict, who said he had been “the biggest crook in my town until prohibition came along and Sister Aimee reformed me.”

The scene around the Angelus temple was somewhat reminiscent of the days of 1926, just before the then Mrs. McPherson returned from a long absence which she attributed to “Rosie and Steve,” kidnappers.

When the doors of the temple were opened, ushers were brushed aside and ropes, chairs, and people were knocked down in the rush for seats.
Although the temple ordinarily holds no more than 5300, there were fully 6500 inside.


Police estimated at least three thousand were in the streets outside and countless others listened in over three radio hookups from the temple. Such crowds were frequent after the kidnapping episode.

Huston presented his side of the argument first, reading carefully from a prepared paper. His references to his opponent as “a wonderful woman,” “a great personality” and “a charming lady” drew the greatest applause.

Another good hand went to him when without mentioning the Lindbergh kidnapping by name he brought it into his argument indirectly blaming prohibition on the gangster and said he felt it was a pretty bad “state of affairs when one of our greatest citizens must call on the underworld to help him recover his child.”


Huston held up Los Angeles, of which Hollywood is a part, as the horrible example of prohibition. He said:
“ In this great city we all love – not a lawless city – there were 1380 persons in every 100,000 of the population arrested for drunkenness during one year of prohibition.”

Mrs. McPherson-Hutton first appeared with her newly marcelled blond hair showing over a huge bunch of white lilies. She wore a white silk dress with a blue silk cape.
“Mr. Huston said there were bootleggers everywhere,” she shouted as the crowd laughed. “That might be a contrast because I don’t know a single bootlegger. Speakeasies might appeal to Hollywood, but not to us here. But I suggest someone give us the address of those bootleggers and when we’re through with this debate we’ll go out and clear them out.”


Approximately five thousand ballots were passed around. They are to be mailed to Angelus temple. The ballots bore a space in which the sender could apply for a free photograph of “Sister Aimee.”


London, March 29 (UP)
Gloria Swanson, American screen actress and wife of Michael Farmer, was suffering today from bronchitis at her Mayfair residence here.

Warner Brothers have taken the film rights to “The Mud Lark,” Arthur Stringer’s new novel, for the uses of Barbara Stanwyck who is now in vaudeville in the east with her husband, Frank Fay.

From Luella O. Parsons:

If Rudy Vallee still yearns to live in Hollywood where his wife, Fay Webb, is happiest, the chance is open for him. Warner Brothers have been negotiating with Rudy to play the lead in Rian James’ story, “Crooners.”

So far he has expressed interest in the offer and it has reached the point where it’s all a matter of money. “Crooners” is really the life story of Rudy Vallee, boy from Maine whose crooning into the radio won him world-wide fame. Rudy is said to be eager to play himself and will do so if he can arrange his stage engagements satisfactorily.

Agreed that no amateur could make a screen play out of Washington Merry-Go-Round, Columbia has handed the assignment to Maxwell Anderson. Late Friday night the deal was closed, with Anderson making plans to take a fast train to Hollywood.

Probably no more difficult assignment has ever been handed any writer. Washington Merry-Go-Round is a series of scorching attacks on every one of any importance in Washington. Even President Hoover is analyzed in decidedly frank language. It takes a man with Anderson’s dramatic ability to weave a play out of a story with no plot.

Anderson has to his credit such plays as “Elizabeth, The Queen” and “What Price Glory.”

Lupe Velez, having had her taste of Broadway success in "Hot Cha," the current Ziegfeld “Follies,” is now listening to a movie offer. The Fox company, it appears, would like to feature the colorful Miss Velez as Charmain in “What Price Glory.” Lupe likes the part that Leyla Georges played on the stage and Dolores Del Rio made so popular on the screen. Whether or not she can leave the “Follies” on a few moments’ notice is another matter. I do know she has been offered the role and is said to be favorably inclined.

Johnny Weismuller is one in a hundred and I’ll tell you why. The average actor who is engaged because he is a champion in some line or other, is usually a flop. Few of them get beyond the one-picture stage.

Johnny Weismuller made “Tarzan” and I’m told that it is quite a picture. Everyone who sees it says that it’s a yarn that holds the interest from beginning to end. Anyway, he has been signed on a new contract by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and a search is being made to give him another story on the order of “Tarzan.” Why not get Edgar Rice Burroughs to write another one?

Joseph Schenck knows a story when he reads one. That’s why he lost no time in buying “Happy Go Lucky,” an original Ben Hecht has written for Al Jolson. Al was all set to do “Sons O’ Guns,” but when he read the Hecht epic he agreed with Mr. Schenck that it is a swell yarn.

Lewis Milestone, who will be production boss at United Artists when he returns from New York, will produce the Jolson story for Mr. Schenck. Millie is expected back next week when he will go into immediate conference on the Jolson story and other U. A. productions.

Snapshots of Hollywood:

Charlie Farrell, tanned a deep brown, was lunching at the Desert Inn in Palm Springs with Virginia Valli. Charlie and Virginia have a house at the Springs and they have been hosts to many friends this past season.

Billie Burke, slim and amazingly youthful in appearance, was at the Desert Inn with her tall daughter, Patricia. She long-distanced Flo Ziegfeld and reports him improved in health.


Rupert said...

I so enjoy THE MIRACLE WOMAN with Barbara Stanwyck which has such a resemblence to the Aimee story. She was quite the phenom in her day!


GAH1965 said...

And it always amazes me that she achieved such sensational attention prior to the age of television.

I agree with you that Stanwyck was perfect in that role. But then so was Burt Lancaster a generation later in Elmer Gantry.