Saturday, March 17, 2012


By Robin Coons
Hollywood, May 10

The paint, powder and wig men of the studios are busy these days.

Since the rags-to-riches theme gave way to films in which flaming youth lives and suffers and emerges into old age it is up to the makeup men to exercise genius in effecting the transitions.

And if you think it’s just a simple matter of touching up the dark young hair with powder or a wig of dabbing a few artificial wrinkles on the face, you don’t know your artist – your real artist – of cinema makeup.

In “Forbidden” you saw Adolphe Menjou and Barbara Stanwyck grow old and gray.

In “The Sin of Madelon Claudet” Helen Hayes changed from a young girl into an old woman.

In “So Big” Miss Stanwyck again bows to the years.

And now in “Strange Interlude” Norma Shearer, Clark Gable, Alexander Kirkland and Ralph Morgan all age gradually through 30 years of plot development.

In Miss Shearer’s case, according to Cecil Helland, the M-G-M makeup man, aging was comparatively simple. In the film her years are marked by worry, mainly, and therefore her hair streaks gradually with gray, while the accentuation of natural shadows in her face remarks the gentle attacks of time. She remains, even nearing 50, a woman of beauty.

It was Gable who presented a problem. Clark has, besides strong features, sparkling eyes. Old folks’ eyes don’t sparkle like Clark’s. They had to “shade out” those optics by softening the eyebrows and toning down the lashes. They each eyelid was lifted and lined inside with a harmless fluid to dim the sparkle.

Adding spectacles furthered the effect. To complete the transformation he is given a mustache, his hairline is pushed back and his face is grayed generally.

Baldness, double chins and wrinkles added age to Kirkland, but in some scenes it was necessary to “rejuvenate” Morgan who in reality is a middle-aged man.

In the final scenes, however, even Morgan’s middle-age didn’t suffice and the art of the makeup man was called upon.

Considering this make-up problem, even without the extra recording work involved in getting “Strange Interlude’s” spoken thoughts, it is little wonder that the set is called the busiest in Hollywood.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

May 10, 1932


Sally’s Success Is Blamed For Marital Wreck

Hollywood, May 9 (INS)
An automobile accident to-day has revealed the separation of Sally Eilers and Hoot Gibson.

Success of Sally Eilers, young screen star in “Bad Girl,” was blamed by her husband, Hoot Gibson, cowboy film actor, for their separation.

“I could no longer please her after she made “Bad Girl” and attained independent success,” Gibson said.

Gibson and Miss Eilers separated after a final quarrel Saturday night, he said. Miss Eilers went home from a club dance with Mr. and Mrs. Edward Cline, whose automobile was wrecked, injuring Miss Eilers and Mrs. Cline.

Miss Eilers is staying at the home of friends and was said to be planning not to return to the Gibson home in Beverly Hills.

Miss Eilers declared Gibson was jealous of her, but that she would make no statement to injure him.

He and Miss Eilers were married June 28, 1930. The marriage of Gibson to Miss Eilers was his third. He was to have difficulties with his second wife aired in court today, when he was to apply for custody of his daughter, Lois, by his second union.

Gibson said we would contest Miss Eiler’s proposed divorce suit.


Lawyers Confer While Judge Seeks Two of Helene's Bad Books, Stolen in Court

Los Angeles, May 10 (UP)
The trial of the contested divorce suit Lowell Sherman, screen actor, brought against Helene Costello, film and stage star, was halted temporarily this morning.

Miss Costello was prepared to take the witness stand to deny Sherman's accusations that she drank to excess and read obscene literature when attorneys asked for a delay while they “conferred.”

It was understood that an attempt was being made to settle the case out of court and prevent further intimate testimony getting into the records and before the public.

Judge Thomas Ambrose granted a delay until 2 p. m.

Trial of the veteran actor's suit against the pretty, black haired Helene was marked with introduction of a dozen volumes of assertedly salacious literature entered as evidence.

After a day of trial during which the library was surrounded constantly by persons interested in the technical and legal phases of the trail, two books - “Memoirs of Fanny Hill,” and another undisplayed title, disappeared.

“Who stole these books?” demanded Superior Judge Thomas Ambrose.

W. I. Gilbert, attorney for Sherman, looked aghast.

Defense counsel vigorously protested ignorance.

He's Too Old

Paul W. Schenck ran his fingers through his white hair. He is attorney for Miss Costello. “I'm too old to be interested in such reading,” he said.

The books received even more detailed attention in the testimony of Maury Cohen, Sherman's secretary, financial agent, paymaster, and assertedly keeper of the family liquor.

On occasion, Cohen said, he acted as a censor of the actor's wife's reading.

On one occasion, he testified, he found lying on a table “Forbidden Books by the Old Bibliophile.”

“I told him it was a dirty book and I didn't think he should permit his wife to have it,” said Cohen. Sherman, he asserted, after looking at the book, told him it was his wife's private property and to put it back where he found it.


In his capacity of keeper of the liquor, Cohen said, he was in charge of an entire room constructed in the basement of the home to keep the liquor left over after the Sherman-Costello wedding.

Thousands of dollars worth of liquor had been purchased in anticipation of that event, he said. And after the ceremony, he added, he kept his supply up. He admitted his employer had been seen by him “affected by liquor,” but that he never actually was intoxicated.

As an eye-witness in the Sherman home, the secretary told of the actress calling Sherman a “ham actor” and a “lousy performer” and worse; of how she tossed highball glasses at him; entered his bedroom to pull away the bedclothing and give him a highball shower; of her alleged threat to kill Sherman's mother.

Shortly after the wedding, he said, Miss Costello tore up her wedding gown in a fit of rage.


Charles Beyers, manager of Sherman, testified regarding a party at which, he said, Miss Costello confided in him at dinner:

“Don't pay any attention to me, I'm going to get drunk.”

Beyers testified she carried out the asserted intention.

Marie Virginia Burton, a cousin of Sherman by adoption, was a witness.

“Every time I saw Miss Costello – and I saw her frequently – she was drunk,” Miss Burton said.

The role of peacemaker in quarrels between her son and his wife brought her only blows and abuse, Mrs. Julia Louise Sherman, mother of the actor, testified.


Von Sternberg, Yielding in Row Over Script, Returns to Paramount With Miss Dietrich

Still Holds He Was Right

Hollywood, Cal., May 9 (AP)
The moot question in Hollywood – can an artist dictate to the studio? - remained unanswered today.

Joseph von Sternberg, noted director, who was well on his way to finding out the answer, gave up his quest “in the interests” of Marlene Dietrich, the actress.

The screen director's walkout and the subsequent suspension of the actress failed to accomplish the revolution they were heralded to have hoped for, that is complete power of a director and actress to have a motion picture written the way they wished, and not as determined upon by studio executives.

“We are all very happy to know that he is returning,” said an announcement of Paramount studios.”

“I still believe I was right,” Mr. von Sternberg remarked.

Temporary loss of pay, compensated for by publicity for several days, was the net result of the “revolt.”

It came about two weeks ago when the Paramount studio was dissatisfied with the script for the new starring vehicle chosen for Miss Dietrich. A new script was prepared at the studio. This version was vetoed by Mr. von Sternberg.

Upon Mr. von Sternberg's refusal to direct the actress under the new script, he was removed from the payroll. Richard Wallace was named as director in his place, but Miss Dietrich declined to perform for him. Then she, too, was suspended.

Mr. von Sternberg went to New York to visit his mother. Miss Dietrich retired to her home. Studio statements indicated that suits for $100,000 damages would be filed against them.

Then Mr. von Sternberg returned here and went into consultation with B. P. Schulberg, studio executive. Today came the announcement that all was well again, that the director and actress were back on the payroll, and that the play would go ahead as the studio executives planned.

“Miss Dietrich has won her battle to be directed only by Mr. Von Sternberg,” said Ralph Blum, the actress' attorney.

Mr. von Sternberg said that he decided to settle his differences “out of consideration for the interests of the star,” whom he discovered in Germany.

He explained that when it became apparent that final determination of the contract tests could not be recorded for at least a year, and “that this process might keep Miss Dietrich from the screen for that length of time, I felt this might be unfair to her and to the entire motion picture public.”


Hollywood, May 9 (UP)
Harry Bannister, stage and screen actor, no longer the husband of Ann Harding, arrived in Hollywood unexpectedly yesterday to have another try at the movies.

Piloting his own airplane and traveling alone, Bannister dropped out of the skies from Reno, Nevada, where he and Miss Harding on Saturday severed their marital bonds in “Reno’s most unusual divorce.”

Bannister was bronzed and appeared to be in excellent condition.

He was reluctant when questioned as to the possibility of a reunion with Miss Harding when and if he established himself on such a firm footing in pictures that Hollywood never again would be inclined to call him “Mr. Ann Harding.”

“You will have to ask Miss Harding about that,” he smiled. “I hope to see her frequently.”

He reiterated that he and his wife had separated as the best of friends and said that both of them meant their vow at the Reno divorce bench when they pledged “mutual dear friendship” as the judge granted Miss Harding’s divorce decree. The vows were sealed with a kiss.


Did you ever have a desire to vamp a big sister's beau?

If so, you have an idea of how Miriam Seegar feels. Only Miriam is married to big sister's beau – pictorially speaking.

It all happened this way. About 15 years ago when the Seegar family moved to Kokomo Ind., Miriam gazed enviously upon her high school sister's beau, Leon Waycoff. With the passing of years, however, that's all Miriam remembered about him.

Then Miss Seegar was cast for a leading role in “The Famous Ferguson Case,” a murder mystery. Her husband in the picture was Leon Waycoff. Scarcely believing that he could be the same man, Miriam decided to ask him, as the film neared completion.

“Yes,” replied Waycoff, “I used to live in Kokomo.”

“Do you remember a Miss Seegar?”

“Sure replied the actor, we almost were married.”

“Well,” said Miriam, “I am her little sister.”

From Louella O. Parsons:

Los Angeles, May 10
Get ready to laugh! Slapsticks are coming back! The good old custard pie days will be with us again! Hal Roach is planning a new series to be called “Taxi Boys” and he intends to bring back some of the w. k. funsters who used to liven up the Mack Sennett Keystone Cop comedies.

For the first time since Hal Roach started producing pictures has he engaged an established writer. Bert Green, cartoonist and author of “Love Letters of an Interior Decorator,” will arrive here June 1. Undoubtedly he will have many new ideas to add to the old-time slapsticks. But even so he and Hal Roach will have to move fast to surpass the Keystone cops.

If Joe E. Brown is as great a draw at the box office as his friends and fans say, Gloria Shea is mighty lucky to be put into his picture. She is the young actress who was brought out here for Warner Brothers pictures and who has had much stage experience but no training.

Her first picture will be the lead opposite Joe E. Brown in “You Said a Mouthful.”

It's the story of a Catalina Channel swim and can you see Joe E. as a swimmer? If he gets himself in as well with the swimmers as he has with the prize-fighters he will be doing well.

After playing many pugilistic roles Joe E. has become so popular with the fighters he frequently has to take a bow at the Tuesday night bouts.

The deal pending between Columbia and A. C. Blumethal for the film rights to “Child of Manhattan” was closed Monday. Blumenthal, instead of taking cash for the play, will collect a percentage after the production costs are paid.

The Clara Bow deal is off for “Child of Manhattan,” principally because Columbia does not feel it's possible for Clara to take off enough weight in time to go into the picture. She has more time to reduce for “Call Her Savage” - her first Fox picture, and I am told that she has gone into training now.

Snapshots of Hollywood collected at random:

The largest tea of the season at Colleen Moore's Bel-Air home. Mary Pickford watching the sunset from Colleen's gorgeous garden. Jack Pickford among the guests.

Richard Rowland without his appendix, also minus a few teeth which the dentist took away from him, making his first social appearance.

Zeppo Marx in the midst of all the festivities, playing a game of backgammon with Chandler Sprague. Freddy March and Florence Eldridge leaving Colleen's with Ruth Selwyn to go to Marion Davies' for dinner.

Marian Nixon in pale blue Summer dress with tan purse and hat at Bebe Daniels' and Ben Lyons' for luncheon.

From Wood Soanes:

The most important news ushered in by the month of May concerns the film rights to “The Barretts of Wimpole Street” and the decision of Katherine Cornell, the star of the play, to confine her talents to the stage.

Miss Cornell sold the play to the Art Cinema corporation of which Joseph M. Schenck is president, and specified in the contract that the picture will not be released until February 1, 1933, by which time she expects to have finished her tour and started on another play.

“The Barretts” has been acted nearly 500 times in the United States by Miss Cornell and her company.

Besides that, it ran for 15 months in London, was presented by two companies in the English provinces, by another in Canada and by a fifth in Australia. Next winter it is to be produed in the chief continental cities.

Jean Harlow who was recently seen as “Platinum Blonde” has been definitely selected for the red head in Katherine Brush's “Red Headed Woman,” which M-G-M is to make under the direction of Jack Conway, who is now selecting his cast.

So far Conway has named Lewis Stone as Bill senior, the guide and mentor of the erring son who is lured from his wife by the charms of the glamorous red head; May Robson, who will be Aunt Jane, Leila Hyams, who will portray the young wife, and Una Merkel and Charles Boyer in other roles.

Both Stone and Miss Robson have just completed “Letty Lynton,” in support of Joan Crawford.

Another old-timer from that picture, Louise Closser Hale, has been given a term contract as a result of her work as Matilda, the comical but warm-hearted maid.

Miss Hale has long occupied a position of prominence in the theater world. On the Broadway stage she is noted for her roles in “Miss Lulu Bett,” “Mrs. Wiggs,” “Candida” and others. She starred in “Mrs. Wiggs” and “Expressing Willie” in London.

Aside from that she is famous as a novelist and dramatist. She wrote “Home Talent,” “The Canal Boat Passes,” and “An American's London,” while she was a European correspondent for Harpers and acted as a war correspondent for that journal. She collaborated on “Mother's Millions,” in which May Robson starred for so long.

Walter Huston, whose “Abraham Lincoln” was one of the highlights in United Artists' releases a year ago, although it was a box office failure, has been engaged to play Rev. Davidson, the missionary, in “Rain” at that studio. Joan Crawford is being loaned by M-G-M for the Sadie Thompson role.

Marie Dressler sends word from Hollywood that reports of her illness have been as grossly misrepresented as those of Mark Twain's death. She has been working assiduously in “Prosperity,” with Polly Moran.

She is in good health, she insists, else she could not:

“Rise at 6, breakfast at 7, story for the studio at 8, be made up and on the set at 9; work until 12; take 45 minutes for lunch; work until 6 occupying herself between scenes with her mail, which recently included the largest post card ever sent through the mail, signed by most of the citizens of Fort Wayne, Ind.”

Nance O'Neil is to appear in “The Passion Flower,” as the first attraction of the Teatro Leo Carrillo at 21 Olvera street in the old Spanish section of Los Angeles on Monday next. Leo Carrillo, in whose honor the theater was named, is in the east doing personal appearances.

“The Trial of Vivienne Ware” recently made at Fox from the script of Kenneth M. Ellis is the first radio drama to be made for the screen. The filming was done in twenty-two days with Joan Bennett under the direction of William K. Howard. Not so long ago forty-five days was a shooting record.


By Chester B. Bahn
Lewis Stone has joined the cast of “Strange Interlude.”

Norman Foster's play, “The Sun Worshippers,” now getting a tryout on Long Island, is receiving the attention of all the movie makers.

“The Night Flower” is the new name of Barbara Stanwyck's “Mud Lark.”

Gilbert Roland gets a new role in “Life Begins” with Loretta Young and Eric Linden.

“Wedding Rehearsal,” British talkie, will feature Roland Young and John Loder, with Alexander Korda at the megaphone.

This, that and t'other -

Gloria Swanson cables from London that she will make “Perfect Understanding” by Dr. Harold Dearden, in England and France for United Artists release.

Clark Gable's first starring film will be “China Seas.”

John Wayne, slated to star in Westerns for Warners, will have a role as well in Paramount's “The Challenger.” Latter stars George Bancroft, lately in “The World and the Flesh.”

Andy Clyde joins the cast of “Million Dollar Legs.”

Johnny Weissmuller will star in three more “Tarzan” talkies for M-G-M.

Universal has signed Carmelita Geraghty, now a blonde, for “Jungle Mystery,” new serial.

Columbia will produce “Child of Manhattan” as a talkie.

Hollywood believes Miriam Hopkins and Austin Parker may remarry.

Gary Cooper is threatening to quit Paramount unless changes are made in the story of “The Devil and the Deep.”

Donald Cook is rallying slowly from a concussion of the brain suffered in a recent motor crash.

Houses leased by RKO and Warners from Alexander Pantages are being turned back upon expiration of leases and will form the nucleus in Pantages' plan for a nation-wide chain of some 200 theaters, it is learned.


“Strangers May Kiss,” featuring Norma Shearer, Robert Montgomery, Neil Hamilton, Marjorie Rambeau and Irene Rich is the feature attration at the Lyric Theater Tuesday and Wednesday.

The story concerns Lisbeth, a modern young woman who takes romance as she finds it, attaching herself to a globe-trotting journalist without benefit of clergy.

Hamilton is the roving chap and when he finds her accepting the favors of other men he casts her off. Montgomery is the youth, always understanding and ever ready to marry Lisbeth when she tires of the other man.


Ruth Chatterton in “Once a Lady” is the attraction at the National Theater to-day. The adaptation was fashioned by Zoe Aikins from the play “Second Life.”

Miss Chatterton is cast as a Russian adventuress transplanted from Paris, scene of many amorous conquests, by the ardent wooing of an English son of wealth. The changed environment, with the husband's disapproving family alienating the affection of a daughter from her mother, and a moment of indiscretion with a former admirer on the eve of an important election in which the young man is interested, provoke a breakup.

Reported killed in a train wreck, the outcast wife remains “dead.” She becomes a famous butterfly in Paris, but jealously watches the career of her daughter from a distance.

A comedy, “That Rascal,” and “Grandma's Pet,” an Oswald cartoon, will be shown also.