Friday, October 8, 2010

April 30, 1932


Hollywood, April 30
Get ready for plenty of hot divorce rumors about Claudette Colbert and Norman Foster.

Having made most of her pictures in the East heretofore because of her stage engagements, Claudette has moved bag and baggage to Hollywood. In the future her activities will be centered here.

But Mrs. Foster, as she is known in private life, will not park her luggage in friend hubby’s home. They will dine together but Norman will continue to live in his hillside home while Claudette maintains her own separate quarters.

“I know this is going to cause a lot of talk around town,” Claudette told me. “But let them talk. Norman and I always have maintained separate homes ever since we were married. And I can’t see any reason for not continuing to do so. We get along beautifully that way. People eventually will get tired of talking anyway.”

The beautiful actress, who might even be called dazzlingly beautiful, is right. Hollywood has already started to talk. I haven’t heard a rumor fly so fast in a long time.

So far, however, they are just rumors. Whether a genuine rift ever will come is something only time can tell. But don’t be surprised at anything which happens in this town. At least a flock of reporters will be kept busy.

So much for the domestic situation. Right now Claudette is chiefly interested in getting settled, getting a car and getting to work on her new production. Fate, or perhaps it would be more correct to say the studio executives, have been rather unkind in their choice of stories for this actress, who really is deserving of better.

Miss Colbert might easily be placed in the same class with Tallulah Bankhead who was handed three impossible stories for her first three productions and still managed to come through a star.

Each deserves a better break. There is no better proof of their possibilities than the fact that they still are popular despite successions of pretty bad films.


Warners Refuse His Offer to Play in Three Films for Release

Hollywood, Cal., April 29
James Cagney, motion picture star, who has been suspended by the Warner Brothers studio because of his strike against appearing in more films until his $1,400-a-week salary is raised, today disclosed that he had made an offer to the company to “work in three more pictures without a cent of salary if, in return, the company would cancel the remainder of my five-year contract.”

The studio refused to accept Cagney’s offer. Another studio offered the Warners $150,000 to take over Cagney’s contract, but this offer also was refused.


Hollywood, April 30 (Special)
No matter how badly the two Bennett sisters, Constance and Joan, want to be pals, Hollywood seems determined to make them otherwise.

Although they work at different studios, there is a strong bond between the two girls. Socially they are thicker than peas. No matter where one goes, the other is usually there too. But instead of admiring this relationship, Hollywood is apparently trying to break it up.

Nothing causes hard feeling in this town quicker than professional jealousy. So the talents of the Bennett sisters continually are being compared. Instead of criticizing or praising one, she is invariably compared with her sister in an effort to show how much better or worse she is.

So far Connie and Joan have managed to laugh off these cracks and continue to be pals. But one of these days such cracks are apt to get under their skins. Let’s hope not, however.

The same thing happened to the Chaplins, Charlie and Syd. And it happened frequently to Wally and Noah Beery.

And while the Bennett family is in mind, an incident at Connie’s party the other night might be worth relating. Everything was peaceful.

One of the guests asked to see Connie’s adopted daughter. The two went upstairs and Connie opened the door to the nursery very quietly – when all of a sudden a great clanging of bells started.

Connie had forgotten all about the burglar alarm she had installed on all of the doors and windows of the nursery.

Naturally the whole house was in an uproar and right in the midst of it the maid approached the Marquis asking, “Did you ring, sir?”


Los Angeles, April 30 (UP)
Conviction of Daisy De Voe, former secretary to Clara Bow, red-haired movie star, on charges of grand theft of $825 from her employer, was upheld to-day by the district court of appeal.

Miss De Voe was admitted to $2500 bail several months ago after serving six months of an eighteen-month county jail sentence imposed as a condition of five years’ probation.


Hollywood, Cal., April 30 (AP)
Wallace Berry as a double for Greta Garbo fell flat early to-day with a Hollywood audience that had waited for some time to get a view of the elusive Swedish actress.

The event took place at the premiere showing of the film “Grand Hotel,” which stretched into the early hours of the morning.

Will Rogers, actor-humorist, served as toastmaster and had introduced the principal members of the cast – excepting Garbo who has yet to make her first public appearance in Hollywood or elsewhere.

“At the close of the show, ladies and gentlemen,” Rogers told the audience of first-nighters who paid $5 a seat, “I will introduce you to a little girl who never before has made a public appearance.”

The crowd murmured. At last Garbo was going to make an appearance, it was whispered among the spectators.

At the close of the film, Rogers again took the stage. He made a prolonged introduction for “the little girl.” And then down the aisle walked Wallace Beery with a blonde wig and dress on.

Most of the audience walked out before Beery reached the stage.


Los Angeles, April 29 (Associated Press)
Speeding seems to be the tie that binds the Will Rogerses and the Douglas Fairbankses.

Less than two months after his son, Will Rogers, Jr., was arrested near Palo Alto for speeding an automobile, Rogers, the humorist, was tagged today for traveling 44 miles an hour in a 20-mile an hour zone.

A week ago Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. was tagged for speeding by a motorcycle policeman who said:

“Like father like son, eh?”

The same motorcycle cop had arrested Fairbanks, Sr., film actor, two years ago for speeding.

Rogers, Sr., ordered to appear Thursday before a Beverly Hills justice of the peace, said he had just purchased a new automobile for his daughter and was trying it out.


A woman who neglects her voice isn’t taking full advantage of the charm and appeal with which Mother Nature endowed her, in the opinion of Claudette Colbert, chic French screen actress, who is co-featured with Edmund Lowe in “The Misleading Lady,” produced under the working title of “Sensation.”

“The modern woman is too interested in clothes to pay much attention to her voice,” Miss Colbert claims. “As a result, she has no idea that nature has equipped her with a powerful instrument of appeal if she would only deign to develop it. It is a minor tragedy that women do not realize this.

“Some persons are blessed with resonant, clear voices. They are lucky. Others have vocal defects, but those are things which even your best friend won’t tell you.

“As a rule, women’s voices are too high in pitch. There is nothing seductive or interesting in that type. A low, even pitch is the thing. It can be cultivated easily. There is no need for an intensive course in voice culture. Conscious care about the tone in all conversation will turn the trick.

“When I first appeared on the stage, I had a high voice. A high voice is not conducive to emotional scenes and the director informed me that I wouldn’t do unless I improved. I learned to pitch my tones lower and immediately my acting improved. The lower range not only was more appealing, but I found it much easier to convey my emotions without strain.

“As the result of this experience I realized that a voice which is soft and low is an indispensable part of every woman’s charm.”


Kay Francis has a pair of lucky boudoir slippers that she wears on the set between scenes. She considers that they bring her good luck, and won’t go into a scene unless they are somewhere at hand. Their origin and the reason for their charm is a secret.


Warren William holds some sort of a championship. He has grown, and lost via the razor, five different mustaches in the past two months. The necessity arose through various sequences in his pictures.


Hollywood, Cal. April 30
In a town where previously anyone with a clean collar could get credit or have a check cashed, the way merchants are turning down checks and demanding credit ratings has the natives doing a row of black flips.

Tightening of credit freedom has been necessary, particularly with the picture people, who have been moving out at a fast rate. Los Angeles and Hollywood have been noted for their free manner of extending credit to new-comers. It was the spirit of the West.

Los Angeles department stores maintained a check cashing counter where only an address was needed to turn paper into money. That’s gone now, with a court order almost necessary before stores will cash checks.

Turn of the tide came in Hollywood about a year ago when the picture people started to trek back eastward after the golden flow of talkers had started to corrode. They left behind them, with their memories, stiff checks and unpaid bills.


Gary Cooper returns to Los Angeles bringing with him a new love – a baby chimpanzee, along with lion skins and African trophies. Screen star is shown with his African beauty, Toluca, in his lap.

“Fancy Free,” on which he now is working, may be Adolphe Menjou’s last picture in Hollywood. Having just completed two productions in England, the actor returned here for this one. And soon after its completion he plans to return to Europe where he has signed to make three films for Ufa in Berlin, each film to have German, French and English versions.

Here’s a record of some sort. Irene Rich is starting her tenth picture as Will Rogers’ leading lady, it being “Down to Earth.” Rogers feels that whenever he has to have a wife on the screen, Irene should play the part.

From Luella O. Parsons:
Universal has been purposely deliberating on Lew Ayres’ next story.

He needs a winner to bring him back to where he was after he made “All Quiet on the Western Front,” and “Doorway to Hell,” and Carl Laemmle, Jr. has rejected dozens of submitted novels and plays in the hope of finding the right vehicle.

An unnamed air-mail story, with adventure and romance, by Dale Van Avery and Lt. Commander Frank Wead has finally been selected. John Ford will direct.

Lola Lane has been tested for his lead. Wouldn’t the fans love seeing his bride as his leading lady? Sounds like a good idea.

The tales passed on of the industrial exploits of Ivar Kreuger, whose suicide after lending the French government millions, are as colorful as Aladdin’s fairy stories. Some one will write a book with a fictitious figure resembling the magnificent Ivar, who is credited with having acquired some of Greta Garbo’s fortune.

Before it reaches novel form it will be made into a motion picture by Warner Brothers. Of course, no one is saying the story is the life of Kreuger, but, from hearing it, there is little doubt that he inspired the movie. Warren William will be starred and George S. Galfrow is now writing the adaptation.

You cannot mention the name of Gibson Gowland without recalling his striking performance in “Greed” and other Erich von Stroheim pictures. Many new faces have appeared since Gowland played these cruel and rather terrible characters, but no one has, in a way, really taken his place.

We will see him again in “Iceberg.” Carl Laemmle, Jr. has signed him to take the trip to Greenland with Dr. Arnold Fanck.

He is off Saturday for Hamburg, where he will be joined by Leni Riefenstahl, German actress, and Werner Klinger who will write, act and serve as interpreter. The whole cargo sets sail May 20 from Hamburg, returning from the wilderness about Christmas time.

Chatter in Hollywood:
Rumors that Jack Dempsey and Estelle Taylor may remarry grow and grow. Both deny it, but a close friend of theirs say that it’s sure to happen.

Lilyan Tashman may return to the Palace in New York. If she remains here she will go to Loew’s sate. If she goes back she will accept the Palace engagement. She has left Paramount.

Shouldn’t be such a hardship for George O’Brien and Cecilia Parker to be snowbound on location. Two youngsters, full of love of adventure, should relish this. They are making a picture for Fox and the whole company, I hear, is unable to get back.

Snapshots of Hollywood collected at random:

Helen Twelvetrees and her husband, taking Helen’s mamma to Olvera Street for Mexican food and puppet show.

Marion Davies spending most of the afternoon taking tests for her coming picture. Edmund Goulding, her director, discussing her play with her.

Gary Cooper at the Brown Derby looking in much better health.


Jack Oakie Takes Honors in Paramount’s Aerial Drama

A first class surprise greets Paramount patrons this week.

Glowing advance advertising to the contrary notwithstanding, one enters anticipating an average aviation picture – a so-so hour of entertainment.

But that is reckoning without Jack Oakie; and the thrilling air stunts which led to the tragic death of Leo Nomis, stunt man; and the twixt-heaven-and-earth rescue of little Bobby Coogan; and the big heart of a mother; and the love of a man for his pal.

All of these “Sky Bride” unfolds upon the Paramount screen, weaving them into a picture which has as its only drawback the fact that it follows a succession of aerial films.

Probably one of the last things Director Stephen Roberts expected to achieve in “Sky Bride” was a sermon. But long after the thrill of the stunting fliers has passed from the mind, that dumb, faithful devotion of Alec (Jack Oakie,) for his pal will linger as something clean and fine and entirely worthy of the intrepid young spirits who have blazed the trail of aviation and who have been written down as its heroes.

Members of an aerial circus whose dare-devil stunts net them just about enough for food and gas plus the grey derby which marks Alec’s station as barker, four youths, in their own vernacular, have “a swell time.”

Then, in spite of warnings, “Speed” gets too cocky one day and, promising to part Eddie’s hair in the air, crashes both planes down to earth. With Eddie’s death, “Speed” loses his nerve and leaves without a word to Jim and Alec. Finally broke and hungry, he accepts a job at an aviation field.

There Alec finds him and in one of the finest bits of acting of the season sketches the dumb embarrassment of a faithful pal as he haltingly attempts to express his devotion.

All is nicely set for “Speed’s” rejuvenation when tragedy again hits the pair, this time with a small boy’s life at stake.

Louise Closser Hale, as the boarding house keeper who mothers the boys of the aviation field, is her usual superb self, but with only a few opportunities to prove it. Robert Coogan still suffers from an inadequate voice but makes up for the deficiency with his baby charm. And if the love interest is slightly under done for adult patrons, think what a relief it is to the kids who wriggle in intense suffering during such sequences.

As an added stage attraction, the Paramount this week features Hope Eden, mentalist, whose name was established in vaudeville long before Gene Dennis was “discovered.” The curious should give Miss Eden a busy week.


Clarissa said...

What Claudette Colbert tells us here, is very interesting: The use of microphone and amplifier for singers was just invented during the 20s, as talking pictures. Before that female voices mostly had to sing in a semi-opera way - sort of soprano, like Adele Astaire (who was really an awfully sounding soprano): It had been the best way to get a female voice over the orchestra-pit and for most women to be audible anyway (head-voice is always best to force through). But men began to sing lower too: Voices like Dick Powell were still popular during the early 30s, but they began to be dated. Stars more and more dared to sing and talk lower since the invention of PA and talking picture. This of course changed the taste in general.

Clarissa said...

"And then down the aisle walked Wallace Beery with a blonde wig and dress on.

Most of the audience walked out before Beery reached the stage."

Now I really learned something important: This little incident is necessary to know, to understand BROADWAY MELODY 1936, where the stooge of a newspaper columnist has to act as a woman. The columnist is kidding, his stooge was looking almost as female as Wallace Beery.

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VP81955 said...

I know you are researching further 1932 items for future entries, so I thought I'd alert you for something to look out for when you reach August.

Apparently, the Aug. 23 issue of Variety ran information on a survey conducted by RKO rating the box-office appeal of more than 100 stars. (I learned this from the Jeanette MacDonald bio "Hollywood Diva.") I tried tracking down further info, without success, and hope that you can find the story, which I hope contains the complete list.

I wrote about this today in an entry at my site:

Take care, good luck and continued success.

GAH1965 said...

Thanks for adding the great info Clarissa. Both of your comments provide fascinating background.

GAH1965 said...

Alfred - Thanks for the kind words and glad you enjoy the blog. However, to keep my blogroll manageable, I only add links to sites and blogs that are old-Hollywood or 1930s specific.

GAH1965 said...

VP - Thanks for the heads-up about the Variety top 100 list. I'll definitely keep an eye out for it. If my search yields anything sooner rather than later (at the rate I'm going, who knows when I'll get to August!) I'll send it along to you so you can use it at Carole & Co.

Despite my recent neglect, I have definitely not abandoned this blog. I have simply never been more busy in my life as I've been this past year.

So little time, and so much I want to get done with it, and actually WATCHING the movies of 1932 (and now 1933) still takes precedence over blogging about them, so that's where most of my free time goes, I guess.

Philip Mershon said...

Glad to have read your last comment, was beginning to worry about you.

Hope you have a lovely day.