.quickedit{display:none;}

Monday, 13 February 2017

This Week in History - Feb 12 to 18

Everything you need to know about the goings-ons and gossip from this week in Precode Hollywood.

1929:

Lily Langtry Dead - Lady De Bathe, 77, professionally known as Lily Langtry died at Monte Carlo on February 12 of heart failure.
Hell’s Angels at 17 Reels - James Hall and Ben Lyon were recalled last week for flying inserts in Hell’s Angels taken at Caddo Field in Van Nuys. The production is now down to 17 reels, leaving but five to cut out.

Assumed Charms of 50 Show Girls Classified - An acute examination of the assumed charms of 50 leading Broadway showgirls reveals sad deficiencies. Despite propaganda, the publicised “beauties” do a tailspin upon analysis point by point. Of the 50 girls:
- seven are knock-kneed
- eight wear glasses to read
- 18 have astigmatism
- two are actually pigeon-toed
- nine have scars on their faces
- 16 have dyed hair
- only seven have a genuine rosy complexion
- 22 are undeniably pasty-faced
- 14 are unusually round shouldered
- 27 are either too fat or too thin
- 17 have oversized shoulders
- 19 are flat chested
- 35 own from one to 12 false teeth
- eight have one or more gold teeth
- only six are distinguished looking in evening clothes
- 29 are common appearing in street wraps
- 12 have extremely large mouths
- 15 have razor edge lips
- 28 have ungainly torsos
- 11 have exceptionally long arms
- seven have short arms
- 10 have very large necks
- 25 have naturally wavy hair and
- 19 have facial birth marks, freckle or moles

1930:

Dot Mackaill’s Loss - Dorothy Mackaill escaped serious injury when the Sunset Limited from San Francisco struck a gasoline line truck on February 10. She lost two trunks in the fire which destroyed part of the train.
Revising Bill for Federal Censorship - Warning of an impending fight to establish national censorship of pictures is given by the Federated Motion Picture council in an announcement that they are at work revising the Hudson bill for reintroduction into Congress. This measure will provide for a federal commission to regulate pictures subject matter and its treatment.

Campaign on Garbo has Coast Steamed Up - “Greta Garbo is the greatest living actress,” is the billing being given for that star for Anna Christie in 24 sheets plastered all over the town. Fox West Coast publicity department was behind the extravagant placarding that created comment. Meanwhile, Elsie Adair and Mable Lash, studio doubles for Greta Garbo, worked as a lobby plug for Anna at the Criterion. The girls appeared in a frame in the lobby dressed in the clothes worn by Garbo in the picture. The gag tied up sidewalk traffic during their appearance. 

1931:

Radio Stars Dorothy Lee Despite Her Objections - Radio will star Dorothy Lee despite her objections. Studio offered a starring contract a month ago, which she turned down claiming she wasn’t ready for the big leap. Miss Lee was then assigned to the femme lead in Too Many Cooks opposite Bert Wheeler. After the completion of the picture she will be assigned to one with her name above it.
In anticipation of her first European vacation, Norma Shearer, Canadian by birth, is now a naturalised American citizen.

Brutal Censoring Burns Press and Fans - Pennsylvania censors are certainly getting tough these days. They butchered The Blue Angel so badly Paramount refused to release it there and Greta Garbo’s Inspiration was chopped to 60 minutes. The latest to get the axe is Nancy Carroll’s Stolen Heaven. The board refused to okay it in present form and it may have to be shelved entirely in this state, like Blue Angel.

1932:

Mickey McGuire Legalised - Judge Gates ruled Mickey McGuire (who became Mickey Rooney) had a right to use that cognomen as his legally changed name. Judge dissolved an injunction by Radio Darmour Productions and Fontaine Fox against the boy’s taking it.

Tarzan’s New Finis - Owing to audience reaction at the preview of Metro’s Tarzan, the picture is having a new ending supplied. In the original a monkey protecting the heroine was killed by a gorilla. At the tryout there was such evident disapproval of the incident that a new tag will be made of a happy ending for the monk. Figured the same reaction would obtain on general release.

Tom Mix to Wed - Tom Mix was married on February 15 to Mabel Hubbell, circus
aerialist, known as Mabel Ward. It is is third marriage. The bride was with the Sells-Floto circus of which Mix was also a headline member. 
No Hooey Or Else - Hal Roach contracts with kids now bing them to study their lessons and regularly attend school classes arranged for them. It’s the first time in the history of children in pictures that playing hookey from school is made a breach of contract. 

1933:

George Raft in Wrong - Paramount is ready to put George Raft under suspension upon his refusal to play a part in Case of Temple Drake. Jack La Rue starts instead today. Raft is insisting the company give him $2,500 a week or he will go to Europe. Now drawing $750 weekly. It’s understood a producer associated with Paramount told Raft to stand put on the demand and that the company with come through. The officials here are burned over it. 

Marlene’s Pants Give LA Stores a Break - Department stores here are viking with one another in pushing sale of male attire for women or mannish femme outfits, and are tying up picture star names as added lure. Marlene Dietrich gets the biggest plug in the drive, with ‘Marlene’ trouser suits; ‘Marlene’ hats and mannish suits, and ‘Marlene’ severely tailored coast suits. Other femme outfits of the mannish type are labelled ‘Kay’, ‘Marian’, ‘Norma’, ‘Joan’ and ‘Helen’. 

Can’t Can Cantway - Warners can’t get away from Maxine Cantway. Four years ago the studio removed her from the chorus ranks and gave her a contract, later dropping her. This week contracts were handed out to 12 of the 20 chorines in 42nd Street and among the names was Miss Cantway. 

1934:  

Hays Better - Leaving Queens of Angels hospital where he had been taking a rest cure for several days, Will Hays, left for the east on February 9. Accompanying him to New York was Mrs Hays, Mr and Mrs Harry Warner, Patterson Rothacker and George Northwick.

472 For Awards - Members of the Academy have 472 pictures to choose from in picking the winners of the awards, which will go respectively to the best male and female acting of the year, best writing, best directing and to the production company for the best picture. Ballots have been mailed calling for nominations of three names for each class. The final awards will be made at the Academy banquet March 16.

Astaire Due in April Despite Divorce Ban - Radio Pictures is in trouble with the Hays organisation over Gay Divorcee. It was intended to do the musical with Fred Astaire in his original role by Hays ruled it out, claiming the subject was not suitable picture material. Radio is arguing the matter, but also looking for another vehicle for Astaire. Whatever the result, Astaire closes with stage production Gay Divorcee in April and will present himself in Hollywood in June. It is practically set that Ginger Rogers will be his leading lady.

Monday, 6 February 2017

This Week in History - Feb 5 to 11

Everything you need to know about the goings-ons and gossip from this week in Precode Hollywood.

1929:


Sound Coquette Made - Having completed the sound version of Coquette, Mary Pickford has gone into retirement until director, Sam Taylor, can complete the script for the silent version.
Young Must Stand Trial - Noah Beery’s larceny charge against his representative, Felix Young, is assuming serious proportions. The judge stated that he would not allow the court to be used as a collection agency and that the charge must stand. Beery wanting to withdraw the charge, cannot change his mind at this date, it was intimated. Young was charged with selling Beery's services for two days for $2,500 and giving the actor but $1,000 was extradited from New York.  

Greta Garbo Back - Great Garbo has settled all her difference with MGM and is reported arriving at the Culver City plant in March. 

Gouda Damage Case - Characterising Jetta Goudal as a headache, but a marvellous actress, C.B. DeMille recited his experiences with the temperamental actress as a defendant in a suit brought by her for $101,000 for breach of contract. The actress asserted that DeMille abruptly terminated her five-year contract with three more years to go. Several other directors substantiated DeMille’s testimony that in several instances she refused to take direction and would cause considerable delays and loss of money due to her temperamental outbursts.

1930:


Young-Withers Won’t be Talked Out of Marriage - Grant Withers and Loretta Young, who eloped last week, have decided not to let the family talk them out of their romance or into an annulment. As the couple refuse to consent to nullification proceedings, the court is helpless in the matter.
Grant Withers and Loretta Young in 1930
Strange Skin Disease From War Uniforms - Mysterious skin infections attacked 23 members of an American legion doing extra work as French soldiers in All Quiet on the Western Front. Men were wearing French government uniforms used during the war. Doctors didn’t know whether some germs had lain dormant in the uniforms since the war or whether a particularly virulent chemical disinfectant may have been used on the uniforms. The afflicted reportedly suffered large skin peels and severe pain.

Mabel Normand’s Transfusions - Mabel Normand is in a serious condition due to tuberculosis. Blood transfusions are being made once a week.

Mabel Normand in 1927, aged only 35, following her diagnosis with tuberculosis

1931:


Arliss Won’t Pash - George Arliss’ “The Millionaire”, formerly titles “The Ruling Passion” probably explains by its former title why the director in one scene beseeched the dignified English actor:
“Please, Mr Arliss, a little more passion.”
In another sequence, the star objected to a swimming pool sequence with girls splashing about, stating he wasn’t making a Sennett comedy.
Evelyn Knapp and George Arliss in 'The Millionaire'
Kay Francis Grows Ill When Given Maid Role - At Paramount last week, Kay Francis, was assigned to a maid’s role in a feature. Miss Francis suddenly became ill and later produced a doctor’s certificate that she was unable to appear. Miss Francis has entered into an agreement with Warners following her Paramount term shortly expiring. 

1932:


Beerys Adopt - Wallace and Rita Beery have filed papers for adoption of 16-month-old Carol Ann Priester, orphaned daughter of Mrs Beery’s aunt.
Wallace Beery and Carol Ann
Radio Trains Andre with Bible - When Gwili Andre completes her preliminary training for her picture role, she will be placed in a John Barrymore picture. Meantime, Gwili, is being coached by Irving Pichel who has her reading aloud daily from the Bible.

1933:


California Sun Melts Hitches - California’s liberal divorce laws of 1933 were just the right kind of meat for eastern couples who dive into Hollywood’s swimming pool as a two-act and come up far apart. Of the 102 marriage meltings in the past two years, 40% consisted of pairs who moved themselves westward since talkers began to blare. Hollywood gets ‘em, just as it splits the regular run of film couples, with five-sixths of the legal separations due to ‘That Hollywood Influence’. This was described as:
1) One of the parties becoming a success
2) Gossip ribbing and chattering of columnists 
3) California’s liberal divorce laws
4) Propinquity of Nevada and Mexico
5) Picture grind, which leaves the non-working mate idle.
6) Clare of publicity to which every celeb marriage is subject.
Joan Crawford testifying in court for her divorce from Douglas Fairbanks Jr in 1933
Women’s Secret Society - Local branch of the 100% Americans, a secret National Woman’s organisation, formed last week in 1933. Trying to get petitions signed locally for national motion picture censorship.

Exploiting Employee’s Entrance - One house was all ready for Employee’s Entrance when it cam along. Will all have a special ticket booth in the form of a doorway lettered ‘Employees Only’ and will sell tickets at a 10% reduction. 
An advertisement promoting 'Employee's Entrance' 

1934:


Hays on Legs - Chiselling on the Hays edict concerning leg publicity stills current on at least two Hollywood lots. Magazine people looking for such material are told they cannot be supplied inasmuch as the ban is on. “However,” say the P.A.s, “there’s nothing said about pictures being taken by outside photogs, so if you want to send a cameraman we’ll supply the girls. 
Joan Blondell and her famous legs
Gilbert Sues Metro - Contending that a contract entered into late last fall between John Gilbert and Metro is inequitable while it gives the studio an option on the actor’s services over a period of seven years, and also stipulates salary to be paid if and when using him in a production, or in a directorial capacity, Gilbert, has filed a new complaint for declaratory relief. Gilbert contends that there is nothing in the contract that stipulates Metro will utilise his services at any time during the contract period.

Warner Brothers fashion designer, Orr Kelly, took off for Paris this week for research on Napoleon for a picture of that title.

Nabe Mammas Cause Bow Pics Yank-Out - The first instance on record here of a nabe house yanking a picture before end of its run because of complaints from family trade to which it caters took place in Pittsburgh last week. The film was Clara Bow’s ‘Hoopla’, booked for a full week. At the end of three days it was pulled, not because business wasn’t satisfactory, but because no end of mothers had protested against sending their kids to see Bow. 
Not appropriate for children - Clara Bow in 'Hoopla' 

Thursday, 2 February 2017

18 Precode Bathing Beauties

With Precode films you can expect a little (sometimes a lot) almost-nudity. From suggestive silhouette shots to nude swimming scenes to copious views of undressing leading ladies, Precode directors always broke the boundaries. One technique often used to titillate the audience was bath scenes. Sometimes including undressing scenes and always including a nude actor, these images broke the boundaries of the The Motion Picture Production Code of 1930 or Hays Code which stated:
“1. Complete nudity is never permitted. This includes nudity in fact or in silhouette,    or any lecherous or licentious notice thereof by other characters in the picture.
2. Undressing scenes should be avoided, and never used save where essential to plot.
3. Indecent or undue exposure is forbidden.”

These images would be completely banned in mid 1934. But, thanks to DVD and the internet, modern audiences can view and enjoy Precode films. Below I have included the best images of bathing scenes in films used, clearly, by the director to attract audiences rather than to advance the plot. Some of the images come directly from films whilst other were used to promote certain movies, actors or studios.
Claudette Colbert in 'Sign of the Cross' (1932)
James Cagney and Joan Blondell from 'Blonde Crazy' (1932)
Lilyan Tashman
Jean Harlow in 'Hold Your Man' (1933)
Dorothy Lee
Carole Lombard

Sunday, 29 January 2017

This Week in History - Jan 29 to Feb 4

Everything you need to know about the goings-ons and gossip from this week in Precode Hollywood.

1929:

Wallie Reid Memorial – Mrs Hal Reid, mother of the late Wallace Reid, is in Hollywood endeavouring to raise $150,000 to provide means for the placement of a bay window in St John’s Cathedral, New York, as a memorial to her son. 
Actor Wallace Reid during the height of his popularity in the silent era.
Alice White’s Double – Belle Mann, who doubled for Alice White in ‘Show Girl’ as the ghost songstress, has received a Victor recording contract as a result. The First National feature was synchronised by Victor in Camden and Miss Mann contributed the pseudo-vocalisation by the screen star.
Sike Doc on Job – Dr William M. Marstan psychologist recently engaged by Universal arrived at the studio. He is now making a mental analysis of his associates before taking over his duties as Universal’s director of public service, when he will attempt to psychoanalyse the business.
Joan Bennett Goes Bob – When Joan Bennett signed a contract with Sam Goldwyn to appear opposite Ronald Colman in “Bulldog Drummond”, no mention was made that she would be required to bob her hair for the part. When the young actress appeared at the studio and a few tests were made, the producer ordered her tresses trimmed to conform with the modern-day flapper. After much reluctance, the gal consented to the operation.
Ronald Colman and Joan Bennett from 'Bulldog Drummond'
Alma Rubens Serious – Alma Rubens, who ran rampant and stabbed Doctor Ed Meyers in Hollywood last week is confined to Rosemead Sanatorium. She is in a serious condition.

1930:

Real Heroic Dog – ‘Leo’, German police dog that played opposite ‘Rin Tin Tin’ in several pictures, died a hero here last week. It was asphyxiated by gas after warning the family of the danger. Dog was five years old.
Tattooing Film Favs – Tattooers are noticing this is a new era; that the modern gobs and soldiers don’t go for anchors, broken hearts and eagles. In an effort to bring back the popularity of tattooing, the permanent dye boys are figuring they must meet the public demand by giving ‘em screen mugs. For $10 any gob can get Clara Bow across his chest.
A woman with Gary Cooper tattooed on her back
Gloria Stuart congratulating a young man who had her face tattooed on his chest
Marches Sued – Fredric March and his wife Florence Eldridge are being sued for $52,000 by Harry Greenberg. Latter charges that the actress’ car crashed into him last December.

1931:

Nervy Girl Laughs off Bandit – Poking the muzzle of a revolver through the grating of the Binghamton, New York theatre ticket office, a bandit demanded of Chloris Evans, treasurer, “Come on, hand it all over”. Mrs Evans gave the stick-up artist a dirty look and coldly told him, “Go on shoot, if you want to”. After a moment’s hesitation, he turned and fled. So to did his companion who had been covering the doorman with a gun. Police failed to find any trace of either man. Go Chloris!
Machine Guns Out in New York – New York’s State Censor Board is frowning on things gunmanlike and racketeerish. It’s getting even tougher than Chicago’s pink specialists. In New York they’re beginning to edit out all machine-gun sequences even in comedy. 

1932:

Doubling for Ma – Dickie Moore, kid player working in ‘Disorderly Conduct’ at Fox, was invited to lunch by Spencer Tracy. Having a youngest of his own, Tracy figured he knew what kids should eat so ordered a vegetable platter. Next three times Tracy invited the kid for lunch, the youngest always begged off. When cornered, Dickie admitted he had no other appointments but added: “I gotta eat spinach at home”. 
Spencer Tracy and Dickie Moore in a scene from 'Disorderly Conduct'
Test English Girl – Paramount tested Diana Wynyard, British actress, last Wednesday (Jan 27). Actress came over here about two months ago to join ‘The Devil Passes’. If Par takes Miss Wynyard, it will have to wait until the play runs out.
Chicago Censors Halt ‘Morgue’ – Possibility of ‘Murders of Rue Morgue’ not opening at the State Lake this Wednesday as scheduled since the censor board has rejected the picture entirely on excess horror grounds. Universal exchange is trying to induce the board to give the film another screening.
A scene from 'Murders of Rue Morgue' with Bela Lugosi
Marx Split Denial – Old rumour about a split between the four Marx Brothers popped up again and was printed in several places. Paramount through enough of the gossip to send out an official denial with Groucho doing the same.

1933:

Verree Teasdale Story Sad – Verree Teasdale came in from Hollywood last week to tell Judge Anderson her story. It was sad, said the judge, indicating he would grant the divorce she wanted from William O’Neal, the tenor. He deserted her in 1927. 
Must Have Lip – After a two weeks search for a baby with a lip like Chevalier’s for ‘Bed Time Story’, Paramount finally had to get a dentist to make a trick mouthpiece so the youngest selected would resemble the actor.
'Bedtime Story' (1933)
No Good Women in History, says West – “Personally, I admire good women,” conceded Mae West in early 1933, “but you never hear about good women in history. The only good girl to make history was Betsy Ross, and she had to sew up a flag to do it. People are more curious about something not good. Did you ever notice how quickly they hop to talking about how bad you are and never mention you if you’re good? I catered to the masses in my stage plays. I built up a loyal public in the theatre and I’m going to keep faith with my public in pictures. There are some people who can get away with anything yet always come out on top. The worse they are, the better you like them. They happen to have something different that wins you no matter what they do. No, the wages of sin in all cases is not death.”

1934:

Ted Healy, who must have been a bit of a
fighter in 1934
Benny Weldon Suing Ted Healy – Ted Healy is made defendant in a $50,112 assault and battery charge filed in superior court by Francis Cushing (Benny) Weldon. Charge is that on November 23, Healy beat Weldon insensible and disabled him so severely he could not attend his biz for five weeks.
Fairbanks’ Tax Case Transferred – Internal Revenue has agreed to transference of its action against Douglas Fairbanks for return of certain income tax rebates to Federal courts in New York. Action was filed against Fairbanks asking for the return of $170,000 of around $600,000 rebated as excess tax on income.
Harlow Back – Jean Harlow, who has been under suspension for 10 weeks at Metro because she refused to appear for a wardrobe call at studio until her salary was tilted, has settled her differences with the company and was put back on the payroll. Miss Harlow wanted her salary boosted on the balance of her four year contract, with a jump from $1,500 a week to $5,000. A compromise was soon reached at $3,000 weekly.

Trying to Make ‘Bad’ Pic Look Good – Twentieth Century is making another attempt to get ‘Born to Be Bad’ off the shelf and released before the company shuts down in April. All execs and other have taken a hand in changing the story and negative to make it yell. The picture was completed four months ago but the film still can’t get Darryl Zanuck’s okay.  
Loretta Young and Cary Grant in 'Born to be Bad'

Monday, 23 January 2017

This Week in History - Jan 22 to 28

Everything you need to know about the goings-ons and gossip from this week in Precode Hollywood.

         - 1929:

Hair Colour Control: Since Alice White signed her new contract as a star for First National, she discovered this company has priority rights on a number of things pertaining to her personal self and manner of living. Among these is the clause that she remain a “brunette of natural auburn hair” unless ordered to change via hair dye of wigs. This was okay with the gal until forced to wear a blond wig in her last three pictures, during which time she experienced a perpetual headache from the weight of the wig. She is now trying to get consent to bleach the auburn tresses to a golden hue but the company is undecided on how she must appear in future stories.
Alice White is 'Showgirl in Hollywood' (1928)
150 Millionaires in Picture Business: Of over 20,000 millionaires in the country, the picture business has 150. Comparative surveys, based more or less on generally acknowledged report, indicate that the film industry has more million-dollar-a-year people and mess millionaires than any of the large industries of the country, ranking third or fourth in scope in the list of American enterprises and far lower insofar as the number of individual fortunes is concerned.

         - 1930:

Mackaill Injured: Dorothy Mackaill broke a rib failing against a piano at rehearsal. Bound in tape, she acted the next day. She subsequently collapsed and was sent to bed for rest.
Emily Fitzroy and Dorothy MacKaill in 'The Flirting Widow' (1930)
Rates Kids High: Child film actors are from 10% to 20% above the average school child in muscular and mental development. This is according to Dr Charles K. Taylor, New York psychologist who made the tests here.

No Decision on Mix: Department of Justice wants to prosecute Tom Mix on his tax controversy with the Treasury. Mix was in town last week in a long series of conferences with both justice and treasury officials, leaving without anything definite being decided. Mix has offered to pay whatever the government asked to adjust and the government has promised to make up its mind this week.

        - 1931:

Sharpshooters’ Offer for Clara Bow’s Time: With Broadway agents all pretty much in the dark regarding Clara Bow’s present standing with Paramount as a result of the Daisy De Voe trial, the red headed picture star is being deluged with wires from New York making all sorts of offers for her services. One agent wants Clara for a personal appearance tour of dance halls in the east. Most of the offers from New York, mainly from sharpshooters carefully avoid mentioning a guaranteed salary. 
Clara Bow in 1931
William Wellman will direct ‘Public Enemy’ instead of Archie Mayo with Wellman’s ‘Night Nurse’ holding over until Barbara Stanwyck is available.
In the Coop: Carl Laemmle’s chicken ranch on the Universal lot, chickenless for the past seven months, is working again. Coops have been cleaned and are now being used to store old silents.

O’Brien-Taylor Wedding: Pat O’Brien, actor appearing in Howard Hughes screen production of ‘Front Page’, married Eloise Taylor, legit actress last Wednesday (January 20) in Hollywood. After the ceremony O’Brien went back to work postponing his honeymoon until the picture is completed. 
The O'Briens

          - 1932:

Gone Africa: Gary Cooper, in South Africa hunting big game, cabled his father here that he had shot a ‘super lion’.
Jeanette MacDonald Set: It’s pretty well set that Jeanette MacDonald will go to Metro on expiration of her present agreement with Paramount calling for her appearance in the next Maurice Chevalier picture. Meantime she is being considered for Metro’s ‘The Red Headed Woman’ on a loan, before going into the Chevalier picture and before going onto the Metro contract list.
            **Jean Harlow ended up taking the role in ‘Red Headed Woman’ instead of MacDonald.

Capra Weds Jan 27: Frank Capra will marry Lucille Reyburn, Los Angeles girl, in New York this Thursday. The Capras plan a brief honeymoon in Cuba, after which they will leave for the coast.

‘Queen Kelly’ May Get US Release: First non-dialog drama to be released since the industry threw out silents may be ‘Queen Kelly’ with Gloria Swanson. Taken off the shelf after nearly three years, it has been placed into shape for distribution by United Artists. It carries a musical score and sound effects but no dialogue.
A scene from 'Queen Kelly'

         - 1933:

Thelma Todd’s Smash-up: Following automobile smashup Sunday, Thelma Todd in Hollywood hospital with chest bone broken resulting in her withdrawal from ‘Niagara Falls’ at Universal.
Thelma Todd in early 1933
Garbo Contract Renewed: Greta Garbo will return to Metro, having signed a new contract with that company. Her first picture will be ‘Christina’, a political story of 17th century Sweden. It is yet undetermined whether the picture will be made here or in Sweden.
Pants All Oke for Dietrich: Paramount has officially reversed itself on Marlene Dietrich’s pants. Instead of playing down that the imported star prefers male garb in public at all times and putting a hard and fast ban on all publicity and photographs regarding her preference for it, studio has decided to make what capital it can of her predilection. Publicity department may flood the country with stills showing her bifurcates. Dietrich made quite a stir at the recent premier of ‘Sign of the Cross’ by attending in a male tuxedo suit and wearing a man’s soft black hat.
Maurice Chevalier, Marlene Dietrich and Gary Cooper at the premiere of
'Sign of the Cross' (1932)

         - 1934:

Tracy-MGM Patch-up Deemed Not Likely: As Lee Tracy continues to run around loose, the belief mounts that he will return to Metro after ‘Viva Villa’ has been released and the possible press value of his Mexican escapade (for more information on the scandal go here) has asserted itself. Forgiveness, it is felt, will come then or eventually.

Paramount Shifts ‘Alice’ Suit From State to US Court: On application of Paramount, the suit to discontinue release of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ on grounds that rights to the story are controlled by a Samuel Krantrowich, has been taken out of the Supreme court and into Federal jurisdiction. Krantrowich is applying for an injunction against further exhibition of ‘Alice’ claiming it was made into a film in 1914 by William M. Young who illustrated it in animated form.
'Alice in Wonderland' released in 1933
Warner’s 1st Net Profit Since ’30: For the first time since 1930, Warner’s report a net operation profit of $105,752,860 for the 13 weeks ending Nov. 25, 1933. That’s around $5,000 more than was estimated for the quarter. The net operating loss for the corresponding period in 1932 was $1,746,761.95.  

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

This Week in History - Jan 15 to 21

Everything you need to know about the goings-ons and gossip from this week in Precode Hollywood.       

      - 1929:

$15 Daily for Animal Imitators in Sound Films – Dave Allen, head of the Central Casting Bureau, got a call for a man who could howl like a dog. Request came from Fox for a Movietone production. Only one man was found on the books. Since talkers have come in calls have come to the central office for people to imitate parrots, chickens and cats.
Sue Carol’s Divorce – One of those ‘career’ divorce suits has been filed against Sue Carol, Fox player, by Allen H. Keefer, livestock commission man. Keefer and Miss Carol were married in 1925 and Miss Carol answered to the name Evelyn Lederer. Later the bride went vacationing on the Coast and happened into pictures. Keefer says he asked her to come home but she apparently refuses to sacrifice a career in favour of a domestic existence.  
Actress, Sue Carol
Broadway Melody – ‘Broadway Melody’ first MGM comedy with music will have its world premiere at Grauman’s Chinese on January 24. 

         - 1930:

Coloured Hallelujah Going to Jacksonville – ‘Hallelujah’ has been booked to open January 18 at the Palace, Jacksonville. This is the first southern booking for the all-coloured picture and was made only after a film critic conducted through her columns an open forum to bring out sentiment. 
A scene from 'Hallelujah'
Toning Down ‘Ex-Wife’ – With the Hays office objecting to ‘Ex-wife’, and Metro announcing abandonment, it is understood the studio will tone down the objectionable features in the story, change the title and made it at a later date. 

         - 1931:

Ayres Walks, Returns – After walking off the ‘Iron Man’ set at Universal on January 17 over a salary dispute, Lew Ayres was back on the job three days later. He had a long talk to Junior Laemmle and resolved the dispute. Ayres reported demands followed his success of ‘Doorway to Hell’ and Warners interest in his services.
Lew Ayres and Jean Harlow in 'Iron Man'
Kay’s 930,000 – This week in 1931, Kay Francis finalised her five year contract with Warners. It was for five years with Kay receiving $930,000 for the entire period. Her services start at $30,000 per picture.
Clara Getting Tough Break Says Paramount – Paramount has no immediate intention to call it quits with Clara Bow, although recent developments including placing Sylvia Sidney in a picture Miss Bow was to have made, made it appear that the redhead was on her way out. The film was ‘City Streets’. Paramount scheduled ‘Working Girl’ based on the play ‘Blind Mice’ as the next Bow picture. Miss Bow’s latest trouble, with Daisy DeVoe has the daily papers again shooting the harpoon into her ‘because she is good copy’. Whether this incident will affect her sales is something else again.

         - 1932:

Just Garbo – Metro will hereafter only bill Greta Garbo by her last name. As far as known it’s the first time any film personality has been so exploited.
Just Garbo
Mary Can’t Find Play or Picture – Mary Pickford has abandoned her idea of appearing in a stage play and is looking for a screen story. Says she can’t find a suitable play. The story she is seeking must have a ‘down to earth’ plot, be a comedy and be okay for kids.
Frank, the Fed – As a teaser campaign for ‘Frankenstein’, eight girls were employed to call everyone in the phone book and say, “Look out, Frankenstein is coming,” and hang up. One of the girls unwittingly called a bootlegger. He was out but the wife got the message. So she pulled the bathtub plug, sewering all evidence before she realised it was a gag.
‘Scarface’ New Title – Not only has Howard Hughes revised ‘Scarface’ but he has also changed the title. The picture, a print of which is now before the New York Censor Board, will be released as ‘The Shame of the Nation’. The film has had its theme changed so it is now described as strictly anti-gunmen propaganda.  

         - 1933:

Columnists May Yet Split Married Pair – Meddlesome chatterers, fan writers and columnists seem determined to break up the matrimonial life of Joan Crawford and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. Anytime one is seen without the other, the meddlers write a quip about strained relations in the household. Friends of the couple fear if this stuff keeps up it may eventually lead to a split of the couple. (Crawford and Fairbanks broke-up in May that year).
Joan Crawford and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. in 1932
Sanctuary is Off – After a series of headaches, Paramount has called off production on William Faulkner’s ‘Sanctuary’, a novel banned in several states. Trouble started for the studio on the writing of the first treatment which brought about a Hays’ office protest. Story went back for a rewrite and got a change of title to ‘The Story of Temple Drake’. When George Raft read the role assigned to him, he refused to do it. Story returned to the scenario department for still another revamp, but inability of writers to save anything of the original and still keep it clean brought about the ultimate decision to drop it.

         - 1934:

Our Gang Grows Up – All of the kid members of the Hal Roach ‘Our Gang’ with exception of two, Spanky McFarland and Stymie Beard, have grown out of their parts and have been given the boot. The first of the new slate of gangsters starts on January 22. 
Our Gang around 1930
Mae West Impersonator As Bus Line Shillness – One of the transcontinental bus lines is using a new type of promotional stunt. An actress impersonating Mae West will make the journey from New York to Hollywood. She will be accompanied by a coloured maid, making the usual night stopovers at hotels. Imitation Mae is not required to converse with strangers nor give autographs. Salary $150 weekly, job lasting three to four weeks. 
John Gilbert’s Split – John Gilbert and his wife, Virginia Bruce, separated on January 14 with Mrs Gilbert moving to the home of her parents. She took their infant child along. Couple let it be known they could not agree. They were married less than two-years ago.
Harlow, Authoress – Jean Harlow has completed an original novel, ‘Today is Tonight’, and has sold the mag serialisation rights to Cosmopolitan. Player stated the tome some time ago, finishing it during the past two months while she has been one the suspended list at Metro following her demand for tilt in contract salary from $1,500 to $3,000 weekly.