Sunday, May 1, 2011

May 6, 1932: Ann Harding Reaches Reno


Film Beauty Met at Airport By Husband Preparing To File Divorce Papers

Reno, May 6 (AP)
Greeted by his beautiful blonde wife with a loving embrace which included a kiss on the cheek just before noon today, only to be served with a summons in a divorce action four hours later, was the unusual experience here of Harry Bannister, actor, and husband of Ann Harding, one of the outstanding stars of motion pictures.

Bannister, whose six-weeks residency in Reno expired early this morning, was at the Boeing airport to receive the kiss when Miss Harding arrived from Hollywood and he was close at hand to accept the summons in the divorce complaint when the film star had affixed her signature to the various divorce papers that have been prepared for her in advance.

The couple, whose home life was termed as “ideal” by their friends, shocked the film colony six weeks and two days ago when they announced in a joint statement that they were contemplating a divorce. Bannister was Miss Harding’s leading man when she was a Broadway star, but when the blonde actress entered films she rose to stardom and Bannister was almost blotted out of the picture.

The joint statement said that their positions in Hollywood had become “untenable” and that the divorce was decided upon in order that Bannister could reestablish himself as an actor.

Miss Harding worked until three o’clock this morning on the film lot in Hollywood and at 7:30 o’clock departed from Burbank field in her own cabin plane headed for Reno. It was after 11:30 when the plane was brought down at the Boeing hangar and the actress stepped out of the cabin to be embraced heartily by her bronzed and athletic husband.

Bannister was at the airport an hour before the ship was due to arrive and paced nervously up and down the concrete runway. When the plane passed over the airport in readiness to land he waved both arms and was greeted from the air by the flutter of a handkerchief.

Newspaper photographers were requested by Bannister not to take close-up pictures of the actress “as she is tired and I want her to have an opportunity to rest before being photographed.”

There were only a few people at the airport and Bannister was not accompanied by any friends. He drove his wife immediately to the home of William Woodburn, her attorney, to complete the arrangements for the divorce.

The decree will be granted tomorrow or Monday. It is presumed that when either party to a divorce suit has lived here six weeks, that the action can be filed.

While in Reno Bannister has spent much of his time in boxing, flying his own airplane and in dude ranch activities.

He has offers from New York and London for motion picture and stage engagements, but expects to return to Hollywood for a brief stay before going east. Miss Harding will fly back to Hollywood with the divorce decree as a souvenir of her short visit to Reno.

The divorce complaint charges cruelty with no details given. The court is asked to approve the agreement in connection with the custody of their four-year-old daughter, now in Hollywood. They were married in New York City on October 21, 1926.

It is understood that all property rights have been settled by an agreement separate from the divorce decree.


San Francisco, May 6 (AP)
Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford were together again today, en route for Los Angeles, following Fairbanks’ arrival here yesterday from the South Seas.

Miss Pickford was taken in a small boat to the liner on which her husband was returning from a film expedition. Fairbanks was waiting for her. They embraced and exchanged happy greetings.

Others connected with the Fairbanks company to return included Maria Alba, Spanish actress, who played leading lady in the South Seas film, William Farnum, actor, Tom Geraghty, writer, and Edward Sutherland, director.


New York, May 6 (US)
Another Broadway romance is skidding into the Mexican divorce courts.

Friends of Lillian Roth, torch singer, learned today that she and her husband of just a year, William C. Scott, are “mentally incompatible” and that she is planning to put it before a Mexican court.

She met Scott, aviator and son of a Pittsburgh lumber millionaire, in Atlanta, where they were married.


Los Angeles, May 6 (AP)
The probable defense of Dr. I Jesse Citron, Hollywood physician, on trial for allegedly supplying illegal narcotics to the late Alma Rubens, film star, has been indicated by the testimony of A. Monroy, narcotics agent for the federal government.

Monroy testified that Dr. Citron has said following the physician’s arrest:

“I was called to the Rubens’ home several times. Miss Rubens met me at the door and stated her mother was ill. As I heard some groaning in the adjoining room, I felt obliged to write the prescription as requested.”


Beverly Hills, Cal., May 6 (AP)
Will Rogers, who once was mayor of the community, did not respond when his name was called to answer a speeding charge in police court.

Judge H. E. Billings refused to issue a bench warrant for the screen humorist, who was accused of traveling 44 miles an hour in a 20-mile zone.

“I’ll call personally on my friend Will some evening soon, and he’ll need all his wit to explain this,” the judge said.


Hollywood, Cal., May 6 (AP)
Warner-First National film studios have announced that George Arliss, famous stage and screen actor, has agreed voluntarily to a “substantial” salary reduction. His contract has two years to run.

Arliss sailed yesterday for a return in the summer for his next picture.


Singapore, May 6 (UP)
Charles Chaplin, who was taken to a hospital suffering from dengue fever when he arrived here from Java on April 30, sailed today with his brother Sydney to continue a tour of the Far East. He appeared in good health.


Hollywood, May 5 (AP)
One of the best known figures on the American stage, George M. Cohan, will make his first appearance in a talking picture within a few months.

Announcing a Cohan contract, Paramount studio tonight said his first film will be “The Phantom President,” a burlesque on national politics.


Hollywood, May 6 (AP)
The first international hook-up, so they say at the studios, to be made part of a motion picture feature, was effective last night.

Dolores Del Rio, Mexican film actress, talked to a Mexico City theater audience from her home in nearby Santa Monica at the premier of her latest picture.


Hollywood, Calif., May 6 (AP)
Re-opening of the RKO Pathe studio in Culver City, which has been dark since that company’s merger with Radio Pictures several months ago, was announced today by B. B. Kahane, president of RKO-Radio.

Kahane said contracts have been signed with J. I. Schnitzern, Larry Darmour and J. C. Bachman, each of whom will make four feature pictures for the 1932/33 Radio program.

Work on the pictures, which will employ several hundred persons, is expected to start soon.


Buenos Aires, May 6 (AP)
The foreign office today forbade the exhibition of the motion picture “My Sin” at the request of the minister from Panama, who charged that the film injured the dignity of a brother country. Tallulah Bankhead and Frederic March have the leading roles in the picture.


By Chester B. Bahn

That’s service for you!

In this column yesterday a plea was made for the local presentation of “Grand Hotel” with its galaxy of cinematic names.

Now comes the announcement that the talkie will be given a two-day local release at the Eckel theater beginning one week from to-day. All seats will be reserved; screenings will be at 2:40 and 6:40 P. M.

I hear that---

Madge Bellamy may return to talkies via “Girl With Red Hair,” independent production

M-G-M will retitle “Footlights” as “Speak Easily”

Helen Hayes may star for United Artists in “Barrets of Wimpole Street”

Fox plans a new tale glorifying the newsreel cameramen

Jacqueline Logan, withdrawing from “Coast to Coast,’ legit play, will return to London to direct talkies

Tala Birell will be directed by Hobart Bosworth in “Broken Dreams of Hollywood”

Warners have signed Glenda Farrell, legit actress, for two talkies

And Sam Goldwyn has signed Dolores Carey and Vivian Mathews, also of the stage, for talkies

M-G-M has ruled that Clark Gable must not play polo – it’s too risky

Marlene Dietrich and Josef Von Sternberg are expected to return to German talkies, adjustment of their difficulties with Paramount failing

Leo Carillo will star in four independents which Radio will release

“Bird of Paradise,” finally completed, cost Radio $800,000

Casting assignments:

Nellie V. Nichols of vaude for “The Sporting Widows,” Charles Coleman as a newspaper columnist in “Merrily We Go To Hell,” Dickie Moore for Jack Oakie’s Olympic Games comedy.

This, that and the other ---

Universal has found its own “Union Depot” in “Michigan Boulevard” by Elinor Dolcart

Karen Morely will be opposite Lionel Barrymore in “The Claw”

Warners’ “New York Town” becomes “Big City Blues”

Willow Wray, sister of Fay, and Renee Denny, wife of Reginald, sing in Educational’s new 20 minute canned grand operas.

Oscar Apfel gets a “Sporting Widow” role

Genevieve Tobin has signed at Columbia for six pictures with time in between for stage work and personal appearances

James Crane will be in “The Challenger” with George Bancroft

Fatty Arbuckle and Addie McPhail will wed in June

“Letty Lynton” with Joan Crawford and Robert Montgomery in the principal roles opened at Lowes tod-day. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s sensational filmization of the Marie Belloc Knowles novel is an intriguing drama of modern morals with a vivid climax in which the heroine is faced with the choice of loss of reputation or prison.

Clarence Brown, who last directed Miss Crawford in “Possessed” screened this new romance of South America and New York. A notable supporting cast includes Nils Asther, Lewis Stone, May Robson, Louise Closser Hale, Emma Dunn, Walter Walker and William Pawley.


By Chester B. Bahn

Four years ago or thereabouts a little Fort Worth girl entered a personality contest conducted by the local Publix theater, emerged the winner and was booked for a week’s engagement.

The astute house manager appraised her as a possible cinema find, considered offering her a contract on speculation, but other matters demanding his time failed to press the proposition.

The Forth Worth girl in this story is Florine McKinney, at the Parmount in “Miracle Man” and already seriously regarded as star material.

Florine was only 14 in the days at the Publix theater, but she had early shown promise. At 7 she was studying the piano, at 12 she began dancing and a year later she was playing the violin. Success of her week’s engagement at the Publix theater led her to plan a concert career and prior to her first trip to Hollywood she had given recitals in French, German, Italian and Spanish throughout Texas.

Curiously that first trip to the Coast netted only tests, but five weeks after she had returned to Fort Worth a director phoned an urgent summons. The second trip netted a contract which provides Florine shall receive $50 weekly for the first six months. Thereafter, provided she is considered a successful investment, her pay increases from $50 to $100 a week every six months and at the end of four and a half years she will be getting $750 a week.

Most first contracts give beginners $75 a week and many pay $100 and more. Miss McKinney’s is probably based on the 1931 salary-cutting schedule.

From Luella O. Parsons:

If I were a betting person I would put up the near diamonds against any one’s last years’ clothes that Madge Evans will play the feminine lead in “Hallelujah, I’m a Bum” opposite Al Jolson.

A hurried conference Thursday in which Joseph Schenck, Lewis Milestone, Harry D’Arrast and Charles Lederer took part, gave pretty Madge the preference.

Thursday it remained this way. Providing Madge has not obligated herself to any other producer she would play the alluring femme role in All Jolson’s next, and Madge says she hasn’t.

And what a story! I’m glad the United Artists inner circles are calling Al’s picture “Hallelujah, I’m a Bum” instead of “Happy-Go-Lucky.”

Chatter in Hollywood:

It’s getting so these film folk can’t even have a good old-fashioned family argument without someone suggesting divorce. The grocer, the baker, the candlestick-maker can row and row and everyone just says, “a little discussion such as exists in the best regulated families.”

But it’s a different story with a movie star. Sally Eilers went to New York without Hoot Gibson. He happened to be busy on a picture when she was free to take a holiday. She was besieged by reporters, who insisted that Hoot already had gone to Reno to get his freedom.

Now that she is home the divorce rumor persists. “Can you,” asks Sally, “tell everyone I would like to know it first when Hoot and I get ready to be divorced? So far neither he nor I know anything about it.” So that’s that.

Ralph Morgan has a mighty pretty daughter. So pretty that Charlie Butterworth has been taking her places. They have been dancing and dining and going to the fights, and now we hear it rumored that Charlie, the perennial bachelor, might even decide against lonesome old age.

The very last words that Norma Talmadge said to me before she said goodbye to Hollywood was “I’ll never make another picture until I get a good story.”

Armed with that knowledge, Trem Carr has had dozens of scouts on the lookout for a Norma Talmadge vehicle. He said today he would submit “The Unchastened Woman,” the play in which Emily Stevens made such a hit on the stage, and a modern version of “Tosca.”

The “For Hire” story mentioned in this column is the property of still another producer who was trying to interest Norma in a return to the screen.

These independents are forging ahead, and although Monogram (Trem Carr) is one of the youngest of these new companies, it is also one of the most active, and Norma may not do so badly making a picture for them.

Snapshots of Hollywood collected at random:

Colleen Moore and Al Scott opening the Bel Air House with a tea on Sunday;

Mary Pickford making some twenty-five of the doctors in session at Pasadena happy by stopping and greeting them. They were dining in Beverly Hills. My favorite physician and friend husband says that every one of the M. D.’s thought Mary even more charming off the screen than on.

Billie Dove is another movie favorite who received many compliments from the visiting M. D.’s.

A new wire-haired fox terrier will greet Douglas Fairbanks when he returns. Mary bought him in New York.

The W. K. Howards entertaining eight people at dinner in honor of Joan Bennett and Gene Markey.

From Wood Soanes:

As soon as final cutting is done on Clare Kummer’s “A Successful Calamity,” George Arliss is returning to England, where he will remain for the Spring and Summer.

Since Arliss was due to make another picture before starting his holiday, the usual speculation is rife. The Arliss pictures have been uniformly successful in an artistic way, but have been no great shakes at the box office. Yet Warner Brothers seems satisfied to write off the losses in favor of the tone added to their product by Arliss’ name.

In a dispatch from the New York office, no reason is given for the change in plans, but assurance is offered that the British star will return next fall to resume his screen work, and will be officially in Hollywood for two years more, during which time he will not attempt to make a stage production.

“I have a number of interesting stage proposals to consider,” he is quoted, “but it seems scarcely worth it to try a production when three or four months of my next two seasons are already occupied by motion picture engagements.”

Arliss’ present plan is to remain in New York for a couple of weeks, probably timing his arrival to coincide with the eastern premier of “A Successful Calamity.” The he and Mrs. Arliss to go France, where they will remain until June, subsequently returning to their home at St. Margaret’s Bay, in Kent.

Arliss is sixty-four now, his birthday having fallen on April 10, and should be good for many more years in his chosen profession. Otis Skinner will be celebrating his seventy-fourth birthday on June 28.

Although none of her starring pictures for Warner’s has yet been released, Kay Francis is starting work this week on her fourth, “S.S. Atlantic.” “Men Wanted,” “Street of Women,” and “The Jewel Robbery” are awaiting distribution.

After twelve years, James Fenimore Cooper’s classic of early America, “The Last of the Mohicans” is returning to the screen as a talkie serial, with Harry Carey and Edwina Booth, stars of “Trader Horn,” featured. Mascot is making it.

Irene Dunne and John Boles are to have the chief roles in “Back Street,” the film version of the Fannie Hurst novel.

Paramount has paid $7500 for talkie rights to “No Bed of Her Own;” Miriam Hopkins will star

Same studio has renamed “Merton of the Talkies” as “Gates of Hollywood”

Ann Harding’s next will be “Bed of Roses”

Mary Brian may go abroad, accepting an English talkie offer

Charlotte Greenwood is seriously ill on the coast

Paul Stein will direct Zita Johann in “Deported” for Radio

Elder Will Hayes has ruled Paramount must find a new title for “Merrily We Go to Hell”

Joe E. Brown will star in “Too Many Women” for Warners; it’s the work of Cliff Friend, songwriter

James Gleason goes Paramount via “The Challenger, ” and Evalyn Knapp allies with the same studio in “The Sporting Widow”

John Deering is a cast addition for “Forgotten Commandments”

Colleen Moore is expected to sign with M-G-M for the feminine lead in Wally Beery’s “Flesh,” a wrestling addition to the sports cycle

Tay Garnett will direct a bull fight drama for Universal

Ginger Rogers is slated to become Mrs. Mervyn LeRoy on June 2

New film romances: Loretta Young and Gilbert Roland; Billie Dove and George Raft

Dorothy Revier and George Weeks will be in Columbia’s “Widow in Scarlet”

A husky young giant from the West, Bruce Cabot has found Hollywood the end of an adventure trail. Born in Carlsbad, New Mexico, he was educated in a number of schools, including the University of Tours in France.

Out to see life, he shipped on a freighter as an able-bodied seaman, worked in the oil fields as a tool dresser and roughed it on the desert as a surveyor. Between those jobs, he sold stocks and bonds and rode for a cattle outfit. The stage fever hit him and months of stock work followed.

After a year of trouping he came to Hollywood and obtained a screen test with RKO-
Radio Pictures which won him a contract. He made his bow before the cameras in “The Roadhouse Murder.”

Cabot is six feet 1 ½ inches tall and an all-around athlete. He has many noted relatives including an uncle, Herman Harjes, of the Morgan Harjes bank in Paris, but is prouder of his RKO contract that he is of his social connections.

When death suddenly took Tyrone Power as he played the dying patriarch at the beginning of filming “The Miracle Man,” Hobart Bosworth was signed for the part. It was the third time he had followed Power in a role.

They had been friends since 1886 and shared the same stage dressing room for five years. Bosworth induced Power to enter films in 1915.

More coincidence lies in the fact that Bosworth, in real life, once cured himself of tuberculosis purely by faith after suffering from the disease for nine years. Now he plays a faith healer.

Donald Cook, in “The Trial of Vivian Ware,” manages to keep pretty much to himself in the Hollywood turmoil. “The only way to be happy out here,” he writes.

He has tried mingling freely, going the social rounds, and found it not too much to his liking. He lives in a snug cottage beside a canyon road, has a few close friends as visitors now and then, reads a great deal, but is not a hermit, nor does he pretend to be bored or disillusioned.

From TELLING ON HOLLYWOOD, By Robert Grandon

Now It’s the Woman Who Gets Paid

Over at the Club Seville the other dawning, some of us more or less speculatively and mathematically inclined cast our figures as to the salaries paid these days. It was a sort of round-robin affair, with each one contributing his part, but the result was somewhat surprising.

What feminine star drags down the biggest salary? Consensus of opinion seemed in favor of the Great Garbo. Like everything else about her, mystery shrouds her paychecks, but $10,000 a week for 52 weeks was given by one who should know.

This tops Connie Bennet’s much vaunted $450,000, which included forty $7500 weeks with Radio and an extra check from Warners reckoned at $5000 per diem.

Marie Dressler was voted the greatest screen actress of the year, but she’s way down on the list. Her $3500 a week brought her $182,000.

And Tallulah Bankhead received $375,000, making three pictures at $125,000 each. Ann Harding has a new contract, which assures her $1,000,000 in three years, or $333,333 per year.

Ruth Chatterton isn’t doing so badly, thank you, for one who had a hard time getting a break. She’s listed at $3000 a week on a forty week basis, or a yearly salary of $320,000, which is somewhat better than Norma Shearer, who is rated at $5000 a week, or $260,000 a year.

Poor little Janet Gaynor, pretty little ingénue, drags down $135,000 each twelvemonth, while Joan Crawford must content herself with $130,000.

Then somebody started to figure Mary Pickford’s income and gave it up. She makes her own pictures and is rated at $4,500,000 in her own name.

Later I’ll give you the lowdown on some of your favorite boy friends of the screenies and just how many ice cream sodas they could buy you without going into bankruptcy.