Sunday 19 March 2017

This Week in History - Mar 19 to 25

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

Increasing Colour Work: Indicating the increasing use of colour at the studios, Technicolour has 12 camera crews and equipment, each comprising three men and camera, all busy.
A still from 'On With the Show!' (1929)

Richest Actor List: David Warfield is now the world’s richest actor. His recent sale of his Loew stock holdings elevated him to wealth between $10 million and $12 million. Running second is Eddie Cantor with from $5 to $6 million and third is Al Jolson with between $3 and $4 million. Number four is George M. Cohan, $3 million. Of the picture actors, the list is led by Marion Davies with at least $5 million. She is closely followed by Douglas Fairbanks, wife Mary Pickford, and Charlie Chaplin. Also in the $3 million group is Tom Mix, Norma Talmadge and Ruth Roland. Colleen Moore and Bebe Daniels go in the $2 million class.

Actress Entitled to Funds: Jetta Goudal’s temperament was no valid reason for the abrogation of her contract by Pathe, according to the ruling handed down by the Supreme Court. Court ruled that disobedience of an artist could not properly be treated the same as the disobedience of a menial. She was awarded $31,000.

Swedish Girl Swept into Ocean: Ernest Rolf, star of Rof’s Revue (Stockholm) and his leading lady, Tutta Benstzer, are here to do an act in the Scandinavian version of Paramount on Parade. It is the intention of the studio to bring other foreign players to Hollywood to treat the film in other languages. Miss Benstzer reached here via the Canal after an experience in the Atlantic that exceeds anything her p.a. could imagine. In a storm, the actress was swept of the deck into the ocean, but as the crew was then taking the log she was able to swim to the sounding rope and hold on. Losing her hold on the rope, she reached a life buoy thrown to her. Efforts to launch a lifeboat were unsuccessful until 30 tons of oil were dumped overboard to calm the sea. She drifted three miles before finally picked up.

Smelly Talkers May Yet Come Through: Picture have sound and colour now they’re going to have smell too. John Leavell has a patient on the idea.

Kidding Prince’s Suit Make Fun Business: trial of the suit of Prince Danilo of Montenegro against MGM, in which he charges certain scenes in The Merry Widow film are damaging to him, has developed a situation for a stage farce. The Prince’s lawyer is compelled to uphold the tradition of royalty and privileges of the throne. MGM’s attorney is required by the exigencies of the case to deride and ridicule royalty and all consideration of social caste that go with it. Case was adjourned again.
'The Merry Widow' (1925)

Stockingless Girls in Dispute: The RKO secret censorship department is commencing to send in reports from various cities against women on RKO stages going without stockings. They claim the practice is objectionable.

Ex-Prop’s Flash Fades: Reported Fox will let its option slide on John Wayne, the former prop boy Raoul Walsh picked out for the lead in The Big Trail, when his year winds up next month. Studio feels Wayne hasn’t sufficient b.o., judging from his only other pictures. Wayne, suspecting the situation is said to be dickering elsewhere.
John Wayne in 'The Big Trail'
Whether Chaplin is Jew Causes Cancelled Visit: Another of those East European religious quarrels that has in the past cost many lives has unknowingly been kindled by Charles Chaplin. All of Budapest is in a turmoil and as a result of the argument Chaplin had to cancel his visit. Trouble started when a Jewish paper in Budapest wrote a highly laudatory article on the comedian, claiming him as a Jew and representative of the fine things Jews have accomplished. Immediately, the anti-Somite press, high in the majority, bit back with long articles abusing Chaplin. Although no rioting, the situation looked highly serious until Chaplin made his move by not coming here.

Pickford Injured: Jack Pickford was badly injured when his automobile driven by his chauffeur struck a storm drain at an intersection while Pickford was asleep in the back. Both men were thrown from the car a moment before it crashed into a row of palm trees and was demolished. Pickford was bruised but not broken. The chauffer sustained broken ribs and other injuries. It was believed the car was travelling at high speeds.
Jack Pickford
Wet and Colder: Following the ceremony at the Joan Bennett-Gene Markey wedding last week newspaper people, toasting the bride, commented on the vast difference in the cordiality displayed there in comparison to the Constance Bennett-Marquis de la Falaise nuptials. As they were talking, a publicity man heard the click of a camera. Rushing over to the cameraman, he pleaded: “You didn’t take a picture of Joan Bennett with a glass of wine in here hand, did you?” “Nope,” said the cameraman, who had waited out in the cold at the previous wedding, “it was Constance.”
Joan and Constance Bennett
More Crank Star Threats: Picture players and exec names are receiving a flock of threatening letters from weak-minded persons driven to financial desperations. Writers are demanding financial help which if not forthcoming will bring dire results to picture names. No one expects anything to come of the threats, but they are proving an annoyance to the picture people.

Public Fed Up on First Nite Gawking: Opening of Wet Parade at Grauman’s Chinese saw the slimmest crowd of sidewalk fans seen at any premiere in years. Formerly, openings necessitated the issuing of police passes in order to get anywhere near the theatre. The latest opening had plenty of elbow room for everyone. Drop in curiosity seekers has been noticed at other openings, but it was figured that the usual opening would attract a mob who never miss a chance to lamp the stars.

Gummo Marx’s Dress Biz All Gummed Up: Milton ‘Gummo’ Marx, who quit the Marx Brothers act several years ago to go into the dress manufacturing business, has resorted to bankruptcy as the way out. Petition he filed tabulated his liabilities at $105,868 and assets none. His brother Chico is among the creditors for $29,000.
Harpo, Zeppo, Chico, Groucho and Gummo Marx
Mickey Mouse Honoured: Havana National Academy of Arts and Letters has awarded a special honour diploma to Walt Disney for his creation of the Mickey Mouse and Silly Symphony cartoons.

West, ‘Miss 1893’ Rides in a Hack: For the benefit of the newsreels and local press, Mae West climbed into her 1893 glad rags, hopped aboard a surrey and was driven behind two nags and a coachman to the Century of Progress Exposition. This occurred in time to electrify the pious portion of the populace on their way to Sunday services. The stunt of having Miss 1893 visit the modernistic 1933 World’s Fair was deemed a natural for everybody concerned.
Sidney Balks: After billing Sylvia Sidney and George Raft over the week end, for a joint personal appearance, Paramount New York had to take the advance stuff down when Miss Sidney balked at the terms and cancelled. She wanted $4,000 instead of the offered $3,000. It looks like Raft will do the job solo.

Colbert No Like Liquor Ad: Attorneys for Claudette Colbert are preparing to sue distributor of Scotch whisky for using a photography of the player in liquor advertising in Detroit papers. Still was from the picture It Happened One Night and shows the player holding a glass aloft. Text of the ad reads, ‘Claudette Colbert gives a toast to our Scotch whisky.’ It was previously reported the still was used as part of an exploitation campaign for the picture. Colbert claims she gave no permission for its use and has been placed in the wrong light by the whisky merchants.

Borzages Better: Condition of Frank Borzage’s wife, Wynne, injured in an auto accident on March15 which resulted in the death of Frank’s father, Louis Borzage, was reported improved at the Hollywood hospital. The doctor said Lew Borzage, Frank’s brother, would probably not lose one eye and the serious injuries to Wynn’s leg would not necessitate amputation. Shocked by the incident, Frank continued to direct his production of Little Man What Now? Without interruption. Carl Laemmle expected him to suspend work at least until after the funeral, but the director felt this would entail too much loss to the studio. Production was to be halted only for the burial rites.  
Frank and Wynne Borzage, 1933.


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