Tuesday 11 April 2017

This Week in History - Apr 9 to 15

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

‘It’ Grows Stale: With the ‘It’ trade mark wearing out its usefulness for Clara Bow, Paramount press agents are trying to coin new emblems to identify the gal. Some of the suggestions that have already reached print are: ‘The Brooklyn Bonfire’, ‘Million Candle Power Girl’, ‘God’s Gift to Tired Business Men’ and other hot box-office titles.

Stalling Talkers: Jack Warner has found that the wear on his nervous system answering questions when visiting or dining out is eased up considerably through the distribution of printed cards. According to the tenor of conversationalists, the chief of Warner studios slips over the reply. On reads: “Who is double-crossing you now?” Another says in type: “Go to our theatre if you want to hear people talking pictures.
The head of the family, Jack Warner
Way Out of Sync: Audience at the opening night of Noah’s Ark at Chicago, went into roars of laughter when the synchronisation went wrong during a tough argument between George O’Brien and Big Boy Williams. Instead of the husky voice of Williams, came the the soft tons of Dolores Costello saying, ‘He said to kiss me again for France.”
A scene from Noah's Art
Paramount Denies Eagels’ Strife: Jealousy resumed production on April 4 after an enforced layoff. Studio denies Jeanne Eagels walked off the set as reported in the dallies or that there was any temperamental break between Paramount and Miss Eagels. She was ill and, moreover, her leading man, Anthony Bushnell, under a term contract, was also ill and was away two days longer than Miss Eagles. Jealousy will be finished on April 13, one week behind schedule. (I bet the rumour-mongers felt guilty when Jeanne Eagles died six months later with Jealousy her last picture).  
Jeanne Eagels in Jealousy 
Making the Weight: Biggest market for weighing scales is Hollywood. Hardly a home there without a scale. First National has even gone to the extent of analysing what weight would best suit its actors and latter are accordingly advised or ordered. Weight is based according to particular roles but in this manner an actor or actress gets first hand info without argument.
Busby Berkeley measuring chorus girls
Buster Keaton say he mastered a vocabulary of 1,000 words in three days but forgets what they were.

Fifi Pleads ‘Slavery’ on Constitution of US: Fifi D’Orsay is invoking the Constitution of the US and asking the Los Angeles courts to liberate her from a contract with Lyons & Lyons agents on the grounds of ‘slavery’. The complaint filed is a kickback to the suit brought by the agent against her on her contract with Fox. The Constitution states: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude except as punishment for crimes of the party who shall have been duly convicted shall exit in the United States.” The agent has responded by commenting that it is “promiscuous” and “laughable”.   
Don't mess with Fifi
Manager Shoots Wife in Leg: Peter Brill, former manager of the Majestic in Indiana, shot his 17-years-old wife in the leg and killed himself in a hotel room. The actress wife was taken to hospital. Her condition is not serious. 

Scandalous Reports on MacDonald All False: Though reported in Variety as on her way from New York to Los Angeles, Jeannette MacDonald received columns of local front page and unsavoury publicity as the heroine of a drama supposed to have taken place in Italy. Story, for which the whole press fell, is that she had had an affair with the Italian hereditary prince, whose wife, Princess Marie Jose of Belgium, was supposed to have shot. Miss MacDonald dead in a fit of jealousy, ordering the body to be disposed of secretly. 
Jeannette MacDonald
Roth Marries Despite Grief Over Fiance’s Death: Lillian Roth was married on April 11 to William C. Scott, non-pro from Pittsburgh. Bride gave her age as 22 and the groom as 24. The announcement comes a short while after the death of her reported former fiancĂ©, Herbert Oshins, which occurred in January. At the time of his death, Miss Roth went into hysterics. She carried on outwardly in a most noticeable fashion. 
Lillian Ross
When script of Five Star Final was completed, one of the Warners execs discovered there was a character named Luella, a rough newspaper woman. Luella immediately became Kitty.

Tyrone Power Set: Tyrone Power has been set for his first picture. He goes into Brown of Culver at Universal. He is 18.
Young Tyrone Power
Chico Marx’s Auto Wreck: Chico Marx’s car got tangled with another in Los Angeles on April 9 and the comedian was taken to the hospital with a dislocated kneecap and chest injuries. It is anticipated that he will be discharged in about a week. Meanwhile Paramount is continuing production on Horse Feathers with the other three Marxs, holding Chico’s sequences for his recovery.
Chico Marx
The Mayor Helps: The Strand to advertise The Crowd Roars required the help of the mayor and police department. House advertised for several days that the theatre was to stage a junior automobile sweepstakes for children with the motive power their sturdy legs. Eight children, the oldest eight, entered the contest. The race started at State and Pearl streets, after the police cleared the main street. Mayor Thacher started the youngsters off. 

Liquor and Meds Start Agitation Anew: Fearing that drinking scenes in pictures might prove an argument against prohibition, bone drys throughout the country are petitioning censor boards demanding an absolute ban on pictures showing liquor, drinking scenes or mention of wetness. Revived agitation is reported to have arisen following release of The Wet Parade, though in that picture reformers find something to cheer about. Most of the petitions come from rural districts where the pluggers have sold the idea that Hollywood producers are trying to encourage drinking by glorifying it.
A scene from Wet Parade (1932)
Answering the $500,000 suit against him and three others by Jack Montgomery, on behalf of Baby Peggy Montgomery, Norman Sper alleges he has no information or belief that Montgomery is the father of Baby Peggy, as set forth in the suit. All other charges are denied.
The very cute Baby Peggy
Nils Asther played only one day in Metro’s Dinner at Eight, when he was replaced by Edmund Lowe, studio deciding he was a better type for the part.

Garbo’s Alias: When a Swedish steamer put into Antwerp on Monday, Mlle. Gustavson went ashore for a couple of days wandering about the city visiting its art museums and galleries and port. Only when the steamer left to continue her voyage to San Francisco did Antwerp citizens learn that Mlle. Gustavson was Greta Garbo.  
Miriam Hopkins Broken Ankle Stalls Strangers: Metro has postponed Strangers Return from April 17 to May 1. Reason given is that Miriam Hopkins broke her ankle. In the meantime, Phil Strong, author of the story, will be brought on lot to revise script, aided by King Vidor, who will direct. 

Hazel Forbes, blonde heiress, will make her screen debut. She has been signed for a role in Down to the Last Yacht, musical extravaganza. Miss Forbes joins a cast that includes Sidney Fox, Ned Sparks, Sidney Blackmer and Mary Boland.
The young Hazel Forbes
Contrary to the general belief, Greta Garbo, uses less make-up than any star in pictures. Only a slight tinge of greasepaint covered by light powder is her entire facial makeup.

Raquel Torres and Stephen Ames (former husband of Adrienne Ames) are to be married within the next two weeks, according to present plans.
Mr and Mrs Stephen Ames
Lilyan Tashman Left $31,000: Lilyan Tashman, who died last month in New York, left an estate of about $31,000, mostly cash and bonds, according to a petition of letters for administration filed by her husband, Edmund Lowe. Miss Tashman left no will.
Lilyan and Edmund during happier times

Tuesday 4 April 2017

This Week in History - Apr 2 to 8

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

Parsons’ Chatter Causes Carroll Annoyance: Clipping from the syndicated chatter column of Louella Parsons brought about issuance of a subpoena and embarrassment for Nancy Carroll. Myrtle Sisson, prosecuting a wage claim for her son, claimed Miss Carroll owned a confectionary store and had discharged her son without paying back salary. Miss Carroll has said that she is not connected with the store other than through her husband, Jack Kirkland, who owned an inactive interest. When Mrs Sisson was called to give evidence, she flashed a clipping from the chatter writer’s column which listed Miss Carroll as store owned. The case was dismissed. 
Jack Kirkland and Nancy Carroll
Another Hollywood Gag: Youthful screen actor playing up to feminine lead - “Maybe I can’t kiss you like Novarro, or hug you like Gilbert, but I can bite you like Rin-Tin-Tin.”

Jean Arthur’s car impounded by police for failure to procure 1929 licence plates, despite protests by her mother that actress was working day and night and did not have time to procure new ones.
A young Jean Arthur
Scarface Al as Actor: It is seriously stated by First National an offer to ‘Scarface Al’ Capone, Chicago beer baron, to appear in Widow From Chicago, Alice White’s next picture, has been made. Figure it’s good publicity.
The almost picture star, Al Capone
WAMPAS Names Turned Down: WAMPAS’ intention to elect 13 Baby Stars again this year was over-ruled after candidates for nomination had been selected. Claim made is that list was not representative and that many of the baby stars were already too well established. Those mentioned include: Marjorie White, Fifi Dorsay, Mona Maris, Dixie Lee, Maureen O’Sullivan, Marguerite Churchill, Marion Schilling, Kay Francis, Lillian Roth, Claudia Dell, Lottie Loder, Dorothy Jordan, Raquel Torres, Una Merkel, Kathryn Crawford, Bernice Claire, June Clyde, Phyllis Crane, Jean Harlow, Pert Kelton, Lenore Landry and Marion Byron. Election is off. No WAMPAS for 1930!

Miss Shearer off of Screen?: Norma Shearer, one of the ranking stars of MGM for several years is out. Her contract is not being renewed and there are no further options. Her contract which has just expired was dated March 1925. Whether Miss Shearer is retiring from the screen to settle down to home life is not known inside MGM circles, although that is the assumption.
Irving Thalberg and his wife Norma Shearer
Bennett Makes Ex Give Up: Joan Bennett got the local court’s okay on her suit for $50 per month support for their child from ex-husband J.M. Fox, now married again to a Seattle woman. Joan avowed she did not need the coin but battled for principle that father should pay.

A promo for The Royal Bed aka
Queen's Husbands
Sex Angle Buried with Title Change: Effort to play down sex angle and play up the comedy resulted in selling Royal Bed in Oregon as Queen’s Husbands. Latter is the original title of the book. The new title is thought to be better known and also to admit bright comedy appeal and exploitation. Royal Bed was ditched as admitting little exploitation possibility. This is the first local instance for some time of playing down sex angel for b.o. reasons.

Lewis J. Warner Dies at 23: Business boy of much personal charm impressed entire Warner staff by ability. Lewis J. Warner, 23, son of Harry M. Warner, succumbed to double pneumonia on April 4 in New York. Young Warner’s death is directly traceable to a tooth extraction which had performed against his dentist’s advice prior to taking his first vacation in a couple of years. On the way to Havana, he was stricken with septic poisoning. The struggle to save the youngest of the active Warners was waged valiantly by Lewis but he succumbed to his illnesses. 

Polly Moran Banged Up: Polly Moran was taken to the Hollywood hospital Sunday (April 5) with a broken nose, two shiners and a cut on her head. Hospital record states Miss Moran fell down the stairs of her Santa Monica Beach house. Another less pacific version of the affair is reported without foundation. Miss Moran was due to go to work this week on Marie and Polly on Politics with Marie Dressler. Start of picture is postponed pending her recovery.
Polly Moran

Metro Irked by Gable Ballyhoo on Polly: Exhibitors billing Clark Gable as the unofficial star of Polly of the Circus has been creating quite a bit of protest around MGM. Indie exhibs often starred Gable alone, leaving the player of the title role, Marion Davies, to be guessed at.
No Divorce for George: Mrs George Jessel has made a condition that may block any chance of a marriage between her husband and Norma Talmadge. Mrs Jessel has said she will not consent to a divorce until she can sue her husband and name a correspondent. Jessel is supposed to have made and emphatic refusal after hearing the name his wife wished to mention. Miss Talmadge has not yet started the agreed upon divorce suit against Jos. Schenck. They were married about 16-years-ago. The Jessel’s have been twice married. Mrs Jessel is the former Florence Courtney of the Courtney Sisters. They remarried followed a divorce procured after a prolonged separation. 
George and Florence during happier times
Photo of Home Driving Dietrich to New One: Reason why the names endeavour to keep their addresses and telephones a secret was manifest by Marlene Dietrich’s recent experiences. As a sideline to the Lindbergh baby kidnapping, a local paper ran a story on the precautions being taken by colony members against any similar abduction of their children. Picture was run showing Miss Dietrich’s home, with windows barred and the address was given. Since then an average of 60 telegrams a day have been received by the star from salesman and racketeers trying to interest her in every bargain and money-making scheme. More than this number called at the home with similar propositions while hundreds of others have paid visits to the home to get a look at the player in person. She is now looking for another house. 

Hooker Title Banned: Hays office has ordered Fox to get a new tag for Sandy Hooker, a Clara Bow picture. Studio has requested suggestions from employees.
Only $200,000: H. G. Wells has notified studios that he has an original idea for a picture which he will sell for $200,000. He requests studios interested, through his agent, to send one to England to discuss his idea.

Dressler Quite Ill: Strong probability Marie Dressler will be unable to play in Tugboat Annie and The Late Christopher Bean. Since her return from New York following her operation, she has been far from strong but insisted upon going into Dinner at Eight, now in production. Current opinion is that the strain of working in this feature will necessitate an indefinite vacation.

Rothschild Smashes Boston: In the face of a torrential downpour, House of Rothschild broke all roadshow records on its opening at Boston. Advance sale is big and the picture will run two-a-day indefinitely.
Richard Barthelmess, sent to bed by the doctor due to an abscessed ear, is expected back Wednesday at First National to resume his role in The Old Doll’s House.
Seven of the beauties brought out here by Earl Carroll for Paramount’s screen version of Murder at the Vanities are remaining in Hollywood. They are Ruth Hilliard, Wanda Perry, Anya Taranda, Beryl Wallace, Ernestine Anderson, Constance Jordan and Dorothy Dawes.

All WAMPAS Stars in Paramount Picture: Entire group of 13 WAMPAS Baby Stars have been signed for Paramount production, Kiss and Make-Up. The group includes Jacqueline Wells, Katherine Williams, Gigi Parrish, Lu Ann Meredith, Lucille Lund, Ann Hovey, Hazel Hayes, Jean Gale, Dorothy Drake, Helene Cohn, Jean Carmen, Betty Brysen and Judith Arlen. Cast of the picture is headed by Cary Grant and Helen Mack.
The 1934 WAMPAS Baby Stars