Saturday, February 13, 2010

April 17, 1932


She Keeps Name Secret, But He Is Believed To Be P. M. Chancellor

Chicago, April 16 (UP)
The “young Chicago millionaire” to whom Pola Negri admits she is engaged, is believed to be Philip Mathiessen Chancellor, who recently inherited an estate of $6,000,000, the Chicago Daily News said today.

Although the film actress, twice married to European nobles, kept identity of her fiancé secret, she said he is wintering at Montecito, Calif. The only eligible and wealthy young Chicago bachelor with an estate home in that suburb, so far as memories of society folk extend, is young Chancellor.

When Chancellor, now 24, inherited the estate of his grandfather in 1929, he went to the Dutch East Indies and caught snakes. That exploit climaxed such earlier ones as trying to learn to be an $18 a week police reporter.

When 19, he eloped with Helen Bainer, 16. The marriage was annulled.


Los Angeles, April 16 (AP)
A suit for divorce from Mrs. Gladys Frazin Banks, motion picture actress, who disappeared from her home last April 7th for five days and later was found suffering a nervous breakdown in a friend’s home, was filed to-day by Monty Banks, screen actor.

The suit, filed in the name of Mario Bianchi, Banks’ name in private life, charged that Mrs. Banks, known professionally as Gladys Frazin, humiliated and embarrassed Banks by “calling him on the telephone at his place of employment and quarreling with him over the telephone.”

He also charged that Mrs. Banks’ disappearance from her home last April 7th was not the first time she left him without notice.

They were married September, 1929 in New Jersey and separated last April 7th. There are no children.


Los Angeles, April 16 (UP)
Diminutive Joan Bennett, film actress, who couldn’t buy a regulation Sam Browne belt small enough to fit her, is to be made an honorary colonel of the 347th Field Artillery, United States Army.

Permission to pin the silver eagles on the actress’ shoulders was received to-day by Colonel Jean Allard Jeancon, who said the ceremony would be held at a Hollywood banquet, April 30th.

A tailor with an eye for making little women look soldierly in uniforms has been summoned by Miss Bennett, who recently married Gene Markey, scenario writer.


Los Angeles, April 16 (INS)
Mary Astor, film star, and her husband, Dr. Franklyn Thorpe, Hollywood physician, today applied for passports at the federal court. Miss Astor said that she and her husband planned to sail in May on their yacht, “The Henrietta,” for Tahiti, and would return several weeks later via Hawaii. Recent reports said the stork was expected at the Thorpe home.


Hollywood, Calif. April a6 (INS)
Rewarded for her stellar work in supporting roles of pictures featuring George Bancroft, Philips Holmes and other stars, Frances Dee, dainty brunette screen actress, today was given a new long-term film contract.


Hollywood, April 16 (INS)
Another vivid Norse beauty was claimed by movieland today. She was Harriet Hagman, native of Finland, here under contract for a film career, following her successes in New York stage productions. Miss Hagman is a willowy blonde.


Actress Now, However, Wants to Prove “A Good Wife”

Staccato vignette of Kay Francis, seen in Warners’ “Man Wanted”:
Her earliest ambition was to be a trapeze artist, her latest to be “a good wife”; Her husband is director Kenneth McKenna.

Born in Oklahoma City, she became a New Yorker at age 4. Her early education was received in convents. Later she attended Miss Fuller’s School at Ossining and from there went to the Cathedral School in Garden City, L. I.

She was prominent in school athletics. She was an excellent tennis player and she “dashed” the 100-yard dash in 12 seconds flat. She began to have a leaning toward the theater. She wrote a play and played the leading masculine role.

Upon leaving college she entered a secretarial school and took a course in typewriting and shorthand. When she completed her course she went to Europe for eight months and traveled through Holland, France and England.

When she returned to America she was determined to go on the stage. By a lucky chance she secured the role of the Player Queen in the “modernized” version of “Hamlet,” which was a New York success. Then she spent a season with the Stuart Walker Stock Company, playing in Cincinnati, Indianapolis and Dayton. Returning to New York she appeared on Broadway in “Venus,” “Crime,” and “Elmer the Great.”

Then the movies. She learned that a leading woman was being sought for Walter Huston in “Gentlemen of the Press.” She had played with Huston in “Elmer the Great.” There was a obstacle. The director wanted a blonde for the role, but Miss Francis’ tests were good. P. S. she got the job. Her work was so satisfactory that she was signed and sent to Hollywood.

She likes both the stage and the screen, but prefers the screen a little bit more. Her favorite stage role was in “Elmer the Great.” On the screen she prefers “Street of Chance.” She considers “The Marriage Playground” her worst picture. Outside of the drama she is most interested in literature. She says, “Because I know more about it.” Her favorite authors are Schnitzler and Ernest Hemingway, and she likes detective stories.


Hollywood, April 16 (Special Dispatch to the Herald)
Radio is going for novelty and adventure films in limited number. Merian C. Cooper, long with Paramount, will head this department with two pictures definitely assigned. These are “Eighth Wonderland” and “Most Dangerous Game.”

James K. McGuiness’ first writing assignment under abandonment of the supervisor system will be a script for Richard Dix with William Wellman directing. Willis Goldbeck, who supervised “The Roadhouse Murder,” drops supervision to return to writing,
His first will be a picture introducing Zita Johann, Broadway stage star, now under contract to Radio. Miss Johann’s last New York play was “Tomorrow and Tomorrow.”


New York, April 16
New York will compete with California as a motion picture producing center despite the closing of the Paramount studio on Long Island. Photocolor corporation, whose studio and laboratory are located at Irvington-on-Hudson, announces a schedule of six pictures for the 1932-33 season, all of them to be done in color.

The plan is a departure from the usual activities of Photocolor corporation. Hitherto devoted exclusively to laboratory work – printing and developing the color pictures of other producers, such as Columbia and Paramount – Photocolor is entering the production field because of the feeling that thus far no producer has used “color” to the full extent of its real value.

“There are plenty of color pictures being made,” explained Frank E. Nemec, president of the company, “but in nearly all of them the beauty of the color is lost to the audience, smothered by an uninteresting story, or by a bad production, or both, which fact the producer tries to camouflage by dabbing it with color. The day is coming when someone will produce a really great story in natural color and create as great a transformation in the talking picture industry as the sound of the human voice did to the silent picture of four years ago.

“The one great fact that the big producers in their mad scramble for quantity are overlooking is the stride toward perfection that ‘color’ has made in the last couple of years. Just as they overlooked the value of sound until Vitaphone forced it on them four years ago.

“From the very inception of the silent picture Western Electric has been experimenting with sound. They are still perfecting their sound devices. The voice and sound of the pictures of four year ago would be considered an atrocity today. Equally so have we been experimenting with color. No longer are we confined to the use of two colors – no longer do we have to resort to tinting and over-coloring as we did two years ago.”

All production activities of Photocolor will be placed in the hands of Myron C. Fagan, the playwright. In addition to being the author of such plays as “The Little Spitfire,” “Jimmy’s Women,” “Nancy’s Private Affair” and some ten other long-run hits, Fagan has also had wide experience in the motion picture making field, having spent a year on the Pathe lot in Hollywood.

He hopes to have the first Photocolor picture in production by June 1. Three of the pictures will be original works, one to be taken in Alaska, another in Hawaii and the third in Mexico. The remaining three will be based on stage plays, the rights to which are now being negotiated.


Actor Defines It As Standing Up for Rights in the Studios

Charles Bickford, “Bolshevik” of the films and featured in “Scandal for Sale,” is not “ex-Bolshevik,” Hollywood affirmative rumor notwithstanding.


“Bolshevism,” as practiced by the red-headed actor, is a paying proposition. Since the tall, truculent, uncompromising Bickford left the M-G-M contract fold to strike out on his own, he has made twice as much money.

“I’ve more than doubled my salary and my yearly income, I’ve played in pictures that have been great box office attractions and I think I’m twice as far along in my picture career as I was a year ago,” he says.

“East of Borneo” and “Pagan Lady” are two pictures particularly that are still cleaning up. Maybe they are not great artistic efforts, but they are good box office and they gave me the kind of roles I can and like to play.

Bickford left Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer some months ago after fighting for more than a year to be released from his contract. He had been, according to the gossip of the studio, the “bad boy” of the lot. He wouldn’t play in this picture and that. If he didn’t like a role, he not only said so, but refused to play it.

“If being a Bolshevik means standing up for your rights and refusing to compromise, then I’ve been one. And I have not changed a bit,” Bickford said.

“In New York, when a manager came to me with a play, I read it. If the role appeared to suit me, I played it. If it didn’t, I refused and waited for another one. I brought that very simple system with me to Hollywood. When a story was right, I said O. K. When it wasn’t, I refused it. And that, according to Hollywood, is red, red Bolshevism.”


An artisan at the Paramount studios has the faculty of representing the likenesses of screen players by arranging fragments of fabrics crazy-quilt-like. Tallulah Bankhead, at left, pieced out with various shades of blue, grey and black; George Bancroft, with rough woolen materials in tan, orange and brown, and Carole Lombard, cut entirely of woolen and linen.


Myrna Loy and Conway Tearle head the cast of Allied’s production of “Vanity Fair,” which Chester M. Franklin is directing from a script by J. Hugh Herbert. M. H. Hoffman is supervising the production. The cast includes Montagu Love, Herbert Bunston, Barbara Kent, Lionel Belmore, Mary Forbes and others.

Lupe Velez, who recently completed her work in the Spanish version of “Men In Her Life” has deserted the screen temporarily to appear in Ziegfeld’s new musical, “Hot Cha” in which she has an important role.


Shirley Grey, who plays opposite Buck Jones in “One Man Law,” is a born trouper. Miss Grey admits that while on the legitimate stage she enjoyed one night stands. Her “sticks” experience included two seasons on the road with George M. Cohan in “The Tavern.”


May Robson will play Joan Crawford’s mother in “Letty Lynton,” now in production at Culver City. Miss Robson has just completed a part in “Strange Interlude.”


Melvyn Douglas has been borrowed from Samuel Goldwyn by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer to play the leading male role opposite Garbo in her new starring picture, “As You Desire Me,” Lewis Stone and Erich von Stroheim are also members of the cast. Douglas has appeared in both stage and screen versions of “Tonight or Never,” and also played in “The Command to Love” and “Jealousy” on the stage.


Polly Moran has been signed to a new long-term contract by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Miss Moran’s most recent role was in Buster Keaton’s film, “The Passionate Plumber.” Next she will play with Marie Dressler in “Prosperity.”


Lionel Barrymore took a leaf out of Rembrandt’s book when he did a painting of himself. He accomplished the feat by looking into a mirror and using himself as a model.


Richard Arlen, Jack Oakie and Regis Toomey, who formed such a combination in “Touchdown,” again will be seen together in the forthcoming production of the aviation story, “Sky Bride.” The picture will be directed by Stephen Roberts from a screen play by Waldemar Young and Agnes Brand Leahy.

Richard Arlen is a Virginia boy, raised in Minnesota. He was 18 when he slipped away from St. Thomas College in St. Paul, went to Minneapolis, took an examination in the Royal Flying Corps, was accepted and sent to Winnipeg. That was in March, 1917, a month before the United States entered the war. By December, Arlen had his bars and in October of 1918 he was in England. But the Armistice was signed before he got to the front.

“When I got back home,” he told me between scenes of the college picture on which he was working, “I really intended to finish my college course, but I was unable to adjust myself. I decided that I might as well be a millionaire as not and went to the oil fields at Breckenridge, Texas, with that in mind. For a time I drove a truck transporting casings from the railroad to the wells. Finally I decided to get into the production end of the business by buying a likely and cheap oil lease. That was easier said than done.

“Then someone told me that I might have more luck in the Southern California fields. I arrived in Los Angeles in 1920, found the fields in a bad way, thousands of men out of work and no prospect for a newcomer. So I answered an advertisement in a newspaper and became a motorcycle messenger boy for a film printing laboratory. Not long afterward, while delivering film to the Brunton studios, a studio car hit my motorcycle and my leg was broken.”

Arlen was in the hospital for six weeks, but the picture people interested themselves in his welfare. Nan Collins, casting director at the studio, was among those who called upon him while he was recovering and it was she who suggested that he become an actor, via the extra route. Arlen took her advice and when he was released from the hospital began haunting the casting offices. For two years he managed to eat, as an extra and a bit player.

“Those two years were useful, however,” he continued, for I built up many acquaintances and friendships in the studios. In 1922 the American Releasing corporation offered me the lead in a picture called “Vengeance of the Deep.” Then I went back to extra parts. But a short time later Paramount cast me for a good small role in “In the Name of Love” and I got a player’s contract as a result.”

Arlen was in the clouds by this time, but he was given a neat jolt a short time later when he was cast for the leading role in support of Bebe Daniels in “Volcano,” only to be jerked out of the line-up after eight days. He was, quite frankly, ready to quit once and for all. But by this time he had met Jobyna Ralston and she took his affairs in hand.

“If it hadn’t been for her I would have quit pictures,” Arlen said. “If anyone had given me sympathy, I’m sure I would. But she shamed me for even considering it. I felt so cheap that I determined to fight it out.”

At all events, Arlen got the girl and presently he had much to be thankful to her for. A series of increasingly better parts followed this one great set-back, and then, after many tests and days of suspense, he was given one of the two featured leads in “Wings.” When the picture was over, Arlen was regarded as star-stuff, and Jobyna Ralston was Mrs. Arlen.

Arlen is next to be occupied with Chester Morris on a Marines picture.

From Luella O. Parsons:

Option days in the film colony aren’t what they used to be. They slip by unnoticed, often to the sorrow of the company and sometimes to the star. Madge Evans’ contract is up at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and she has not yet signed. A little matter of money that will probably be adjusted, for she is one of the most promising young actresses, and certainly M-G-M has done right by her in the way of stories. I am told she is negotiating with one of the other big companies, but I have an idea before she puts her John Hancock on the other contract she and M-G-M will get together again. Certainly it would be too bad for her to leave and it would be equally unfortunate for the film company to lose her.


Tala Birell may make “Glamour” for Universal rather than Emile Zola’s “Nana”…

Radio has definitely abandoned “Free Lady,” slated for Connie Bennett, deeming it too immoral…

Johnny Mack Brown will star in a talkie version of John Miles’ biography of Wild Bill Hickok…

Columbia is retitling Fannie Hurst’s “Park Avenue” as “Vanity Street”…

Wallace Clark, seen with William Gillette in “Sherlock Holmes,” will have a role in Columbia’s “Criminal Court”…

Tyrone Power, Jr. will have his first film role in “Tom Brown of Culver”…

Radio is testing Donald Wood, New York stock actor…

Universal will make “The Tie That Binds” as a serial…

Paramount executives have vetoed the importation of Henry Garat, French star, on the ground he might impair Chevalier’s popularity…

Selling discarded fan mail dug from studio ashcans is a new Hollywood racket; covers bring from 10 to 75 cents.

Rain, the play which made Jeanne Eagles immortal, is making what must be its thirteenth return visit to Broadway. Glenda Farrell of the movies is playing the part of Sadie Thompson.

It was first thought Helen Menken would be in the role, but she didn’t accept. Miss Menken owns the original Sadie Thompson costumes where were given to her by Miss Eagles just before her death.


Constance Bennett the much discussed RKO Pathe star, has realized her earliest ambition although it is only for the screen. When she was not more than five years old she decided that some day she would be a nurse. The white uniforms, particularly the caps, intrigued her childhood fancy.

Within a few years she had outgrown that ambition, but it was to be realized nevertheless. In the early sequences of her new Pathe picture “Born to Love,” due at the Bijou theater Tuesday for a three-day engagement, the blonde star plays an American war nuse in a London hospital.

Supporting Miss Bennett in this story of what the war did to a boy and a girl and another man are Joel McCrea, Paul Cavanaugh, Anthony Bushell, Frederick Kerr and Louise Closser Hale. Paul L. Stein was the director.


Strange forms in the dark, mystery and a plot of revenge are among the highlights of Tod Browning’s contribution to the screen, “Freaks,” which will open at the Strand Theater Sunday for three days.

“Freaks,” based on the story “Spurs,” is a mystery drama laid behind the scenes in a sideshow with strange freaks playing principal roles along with well-known actors.
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer gave it an elaborate presentation and gathered together a large group of sideshow freaks.

The cast, exclusive of the circus performers, includes Wallace Ford, Leila Hyams, Olga Baclanova, Roscoe Ates, Henry Victor and Edward Brophy.

The Hilton sisters, Daisy and Violet, Siamese twins, head the sideshow people in the cast, which includes Johnny Eck, the boy with half a torso; Randian, the living torso; The Snow Twins; Pete Robinson, the living skeleton; Olga, the bearded woman; and Koo Coo, the bird girl.

The other subjects on the program are Mickey Mouse in “Mickey’s Orphans,” a Christmas story; a sport reel, Athletic Page; Universal News and Andy Clyde in “Speed in the Gay ‘90s.”


Naturalness at all times is the quality Richard Barthelmess strives most for in his pictures. And he is said to have a singularly long memory for mistakes.

In his latest production, “Alias the Doctor,” which opens to-day at the Warner Bros. Theater in which he comes back to his Hungarian home after a stretch in prison taken in a spirit of sacrifice for another. The makeup department had spent several days trying to figure out the exact way to make him up for the pallor he would have had after such an internment.

But in a former picture, “Young Nowheres,” Dick had had to wear similar makeup, and he hadn’t liked the result at all. He was determined to avoid such a mistake this time if possible. But when he questioned the makeup artists they had nothing new to suggest.

At his own suggestion he had the cameraman for the picture take some tests of him without makeup of any kind, and they gave the exact result wanted.

So, if you want to see what a movie star looks like before a camera without any makeup, take a look at Richard Barthelmess in “Alias the Doctor.”

On the same program will be a comedy entitled “Sold at Auction”; a musical novelty, “Up on the Farm; Curiosity, Universal Newsreel and Roy Foster at the organ.


Leaping 10-foot chasms on horseback and bronco busting are just a couple of the things that Buck Jones excels in, as he proves in “The Fighting Sheriff,” his latest starring vehicle for Columbia.

The plot centers about Bob Terry, Sheriff of Red River, who tries to run down the mysterious master-mind of a hold-up gang. Bob doesn’t make much progress until Mary, sister of one of the bandits who has been killed, comes to town. Bob and Flash Halloway, proprietor of Hell’s Delight saloon, become rival suitors for Mary’s hand and, as such, frequently clash. During one of these clashes, Bob learns facts about Flash that arouse his suspicions. How, acting on this slim clue, Bob identifies Flash as the gang leader, brings him to justice and wins the girl he loves, gives impetus to the rest of the story.

As the Sheriff hero, Buck does some of the best acting of his career, and he is aided and abetted throughout by lovely Loretta Sayers, a newcomer to the screen, who has histrionic talent as well as beauty.

Supplementing the above feature with a carefully selected group of Empirettes consisting of a Mack Sennett comedy, entitled “Hold ‘er Sheriff,” and entertaining novelty sketch, “Mother’s Holiday,” and Fox Movietone News.


Picture patrons will be able to see D. W. Griffith’s latest offering at the Empire theater, beginning Monday for three days, when “The Struggle,” a United Artists picture, is presented in this city for the first time. This is the first picture which the celebrated director has made since his recent “Abraham Lincoln,” which latter film was declared one of the best 10 of the past season. “The Struggle” has created comment wherever it has been shown on account of its realistic scenes and dramatic power.

Anita Loos and John Emerson prepared the story for the screen. Hal Skelly, who rose to stellar heights with his magnificent performance in the stage play, “Burlesque,” and Zita Johann, another star of the speaking stage, who is now seen for the first time on the screen, share the honors in featured roles. Charlotte Wynters, Edna Hagan, an 8-year-old actress whose performance is said to be sensational, and Jackson Halliday and Evelyn Baldwin, who portray a pair of young lovers, carry the burden of the other leading roles.

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