Tuesday, January 24, 2012


By Louella O. Parsons
Hollywood, May 8

Colleen Moore is opening her gorgeous home in Bel Air. It’s one of the show places in California and she hasn’t lived in it for over a year. During the time she has spent in New York, Palm Beach and other points East and South, the Martin Flavins rented it. Now that Colleen is married, she yearns to play hostess again.

When she returned to California she was indifferent to motion pictures. She was determined to continue her stage career. She felt she had had too many heartaches during the early days of the talkies, when her experience as one of the screen’s most successful stars seemed to count for naught.

But it’s all different now.

Three film companies came after her and, after all, California is home and Colleen has many friends here and she loves the movies.

No Jokes For Garbo

You cannot make light of Greta Garbo to the film colony and get an approving smile. You cannot imitate her threat to “go home," and find any of the film stars who think you are funny. Greta Garbo is one star whose work as an actress is respected.

Will Rogers discovered that when he urged Wallace Beery to dress as Garbo after promising the audience at the opening of “Grand Hotel” that Garbo had consented to appear.

Rogers was big enough to admit his mistake and to come right out in the open and take the blame, and it takes a pretty big person to do that. He was astounded by the storm of criticism that followed the hoax.

Jack Can Come Back

Jack Gilbert’s little announcement that he intends to become a director started something. Telephone calls, telegrams and eager friends all tried to tell him that he is making a mistake. I wonder.

Jack, in his heyday, was the most important male star we have ever had, with the possible exception of Rudolph Valentino. He is still a great actor.

If he wants to step out of character for a brief time and direct a picture he is perfectly justified. It needn’t mean that he is through with acting forever. He can come back and his little directorial experience won’t do him any harm.

On Camping Trip

Oh the great outdoors! Robert Montgomery and Reginald Denny are planning a three-day camping party at Denny’s luxurious cabin in the San Bernardino mountains. Bob is to play the lead in Marion Davies’ picture and he is trying to figure out how he can get three days and still be on the job.

Irving Pichel has bought three acres in Flintridge and will build a farmhouse home.

Gary Cooper is all set for a beach house. Some of his friends suggested that he ought to have a party for the chimpanzee that he brought back with him. Gary waxes enthusiastic over the chimp, which he says has a very sweet disposition. Being used to Lupe Velez’s temperamental outbursts, maybe the chimp seems mild.

Hollywood’s Club

New York has its Dutch Treat club, but leave it to Hollywood to have its West Side Asthma and Riding club. You should have read the list of members, headliners all of them. The only phony thing about it is the title. The members are Groucho Marx, Don Marquis, Don Ogden Stewart, Homer Croy, Buddy Desylva, Allen Rivkin, Harry Brand, Ted Cook, Jimmy Gleason, Harrison Carroll, Chic Sale and a number of other literary lights.

Someone suggested the title ought to be changed, but, as Groucho Marx said, “It wouldn’t be fair to the people who have resigned. They might want to join again and find it’s the same old West Side Asthma and Riding club.”

The Film Babies

Where are all these gay parties at the beaches? I spent Sunday at Santa Monica and I was never so surrounded by babies and baby conversation since Parsons Jr. was in the nursery.

Barbara Bebe Lyon held open house. Marlene Dietrich brought over her little daughter Maria Sieber, all dressed in silk pajamas.

“I washed my hands in chloroform,” Maria confided, “so I could hold the baby.”

Marlene explained that she meant a disinfectant.

Irving Thalberg Jr., his blond curls in ringlets, had his picture taken with Barbara, but he didn’t think much of her or the camera, either. He kept telling his mother that he wanted to see Sammy Goldwyn and even though she is Norma Shearer to fans, she is only mother to him.


By Louella O. Parsons
Los Angeles, May 7

Little Bette Davis, blond, young and with ability, has been elected to take the place of Marian Marsh at Warner Bros. Fox is dickering at this very moment with the Marsh girl. Marian, according to report, will go to Fox on a contract now being negotiated.

Bette has a great chance if she will put herself in the hands of a capable makeup man. She gave a great performance in “Seed” and one was not distracted by over-beaded eyelashes and over-rouged mouth.

She plays opposite Barthelmess in “Cabin In the Cotton” and she won that role after innumerable tests were shown Barthelmess. Hardie Albright has one of the chief roles. Michael Curtiz directs.

Jack Oakie, sweater and all, will soon have a trip to New York. He has been signed by Charles R. Rogers or will be signed for one of the leads in “Madison Square Garden,” the picture in which Jimmie Gleason will do his comedy stuff.

Well over 3000 feet of film were shot of the Garden when Charlie was in New York, by special permission of and in association with W. F. Carey of Madison Square fame.

Despite all this fight atmosphere, “Madison Square Garden” will not deal solely with the pugilistic game. There will be hockey, bicycle races and many other forms of sport.

The latest up to to-day on the Nancy Carroll-Paramount scrap is a compromise. Nancy, it appears, was getting bonuses in addition to salary, which gave her a fat weekly pay check. In the general cutting down order it was decided to remove the bonus and hand Miss Carroll a flat salary.

At first she refused, but according to a friend of hers, she and Paramount have reached an agreement whereby she receives $1000 a week. The one thing Nancy asks for is better stories, and that she is promised. She feels her roles haven't been good the past year. And there is something in what she says.


Hollywood - Watch out for this one! Pola Negri is going to write a book entitled “My Confessions.” And Pola says she is going to tell everything, leaving nothing untold. What a sensation it should create.

Also, Ann Harding has resumed her piano lessons. Well, it must be getting rather quiet around the house these days at that.

John Boles has swapped his horse for a bicycle for the time being. He claims that he really gets more exercise on the bike. He wouldn't if he rode the horse in our fashion.

Clara Bow dropped in at the Paramount studio the other day to visit with some of her old pals. And didn't say a word about resuming her career – even when she was asked.

Now that they have gone nautical, Bill Seiter and Laura La Plante are wondering what to call their new yacht. Bill sort of favors “The Panic.”

And we hear reports of a romance budding between Barbara Weeks, pretty Wampas Baby Star, and Alex Tiers, wealthy man-about-town.

Helene Near Altar?

More love rumors – these concerning Helene Costello, just back from Europe, and Harold Haas.

And right on top of that comes the report that Nancy Carroll's latest marriage is beginning to wilt.

Jack Gilbert is getting to be his old self again. Don't know what causes it but I hope he holds out long enough to put that old personality on the screen.

Suggestions for song numbers in the forthcoming Wheeler and Woolsey opus, “Hold 'Em, Jail” - “Sing, Sing You Sinners,” “Just a Gigalo” “My Time Is Your Time” and “Wrong Number.” What d'ya mean, not so good?

“One Eye” Connelly, that gentleman who used to crash the papers so much because of his gate-crashing activities, now is the unofficial greeter outside the Brown Derby each day at lunch time. That's one gate he doesn't seem to be able to crash, however.

Chico – Bridge Expert

They can keep him in a hostpital if they want, but they can't keep Chico Marx from playing bridge. It's a laugh to watch him, too. Someone has to hold and play the cards for him. Chico simply doing the bidding and giving instructions on which cards to play. He's lucky, too.

But the studio isn't so fortunate. While he's winning at bridge, the studio is losing thousands through holding up production on the new Marx film.

How's this for speed? Glenn Tryon came home from the harbor where he had been puttering around with his boat, at five o'clock the other day. Scattered all over the house, to make sure he would see one of them, were notes from his wife saying, “You don't know it but you're acting as master of ceremonies in San Diego tonight.”

At six o'clock Glenn boarded a plane. At seven he was in San Diego. And at seven-thirty he was on the job. And did he wow 'em!


By Louella O. Parsons, Motion Picture Editor, Universal Services
Los Angeles, May 7

With many of the most virulent symptoms diagnosed and remedies skillfully suggested for the current ills of the motion picture theaters, Conrad Nagel returns to Hollywood.

He returns after five months touring the country. He has seen small houses filled to overflowing, while huge, expensive theaters remain empty. He has talked with theater owners who have not felt the bitterness of unoccupied seats and he has heard lamentations from theater owners who have suffered the pangs of poverty.

What’s the remedy? “Give the people good pictures and not too much vaudeville,” says Mr. Nagel, “and you will see a return of the old days.

“If I owned a theater I should separate vaudeville and motion pictures. They obviously do not belong together. Certainly, vaudeville, that failed as an entertainment, is not a crutch on which the movies should lean.”

A little thinner, much wiser and with much valuable information, Conrad returns, after having made over 700 addresses. He played five shows a day, he talked to women’s clubs, Parent-Teachers’ associations, and he debated with censor boards throughout the country. He went to stay five weeks and remained almost half a year.

Why? Because he was doing such intelligent work both Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and the Hays office urged him to continue.

Censor boards are not as black as many of our film writers have painted them, according to Conrad. “I found them a definite asset in Ohio,” he said. “They seek to do their duty and often they have been criticized for passing scenes that are considered harmful by women’s clubs.

“In most cases they only try to fulfill their duties. In a few states they take advantage of their position and openly fight motion pictures. I was asked to debate on Hollywood and censorship with a woman censor who had been widely publicized as fighting motion pictures. She had been noticeably unfair and she had misinterpreted everything about films and film folk.

“Our debate was staged in a hall occupied by the local women’s clubs and by the parent teacher association. I warmed up to my speech and I prepared a defense against some of her accusations that seemed irrefutable. Apparently they were irrefutable, for after I received applause for my efforts she disappeared and although we were supposed to debate, she refused to answer me.

“Most of the old ballyhoo methods of advertising in the front of theaters has disappeared. However, once in a while it confronts you,” said Conrad. “While I was in the East Eddie Cantor and George Jessel were doing a phenomenal business wherever they appeared. They would clear as much as $45,000 a week.

“I visited a small town in New York state and saw on a small theater the words ‘Eddie Cantor and George Jessel tonight’ and then in much smaller type, so small that you had to get very close to the sign board to read, ‘but not at this theater.’

“The inhabitants were so incensed at the hoax the theater owner had to close and leave town. I saw very little evidence of this type of advertising. A few isolated theater owners called attention to a coming attraction with sign boards suggesting sex angles where none existed, but this belongs more to main street and the five cent houses than to respectable neighborhoods.

1 comment:

A said...

Another wonderful post! It's such a treat to find in my reader another Hollywood Heyday post.