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.  


  1. Weird - I *always* think of Alice White as a blonde. Though she was Dorothy in the first film of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, so the auburn makes sense.