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. 

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