Moving Picture Exhibitors' Association.

Photoplay (Volume 36 – 37 (Jul. - Dec. 1929)) online

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til you subscribed to The Illustrated London News and began talk-
ing about a dish of tea. It's a tough break for a trusting girl,
but you won't get away with it."

"I'm wealthy," announced Hubert, gulping his coffee, "and
I'm getting fed up with the Hollywood mob. When I retire
I'm going back to Long Island, and be somebody. Quiet
distinction, and all the rest of it."
"What do you know about society?"

E.\RS of excellent direction had given
Hubert a certain poise, so now he with-
drew his grip on the marmalade jar and
cudgeled his brains for a phrase from his
latest picture. "The upper classes," he
said at length, "do not brawl. A gentleman
keeps his temper when he can't keep any-
thing else, so perhaps we had better — "
His eyes wavered to the door. " Look out, "
he warned, burying himself in The Times,
"here comes Wattles!"

The entrance of that worthy was the
signal for an uneasy truce. Mrs. Mount-
Stephen hummed a song with exaggerated
carelessness and replied to her husband's
pleasantries with a disdainful smirk, while
the poker-faced butler juggled the hot
plates. Finally the seething Hubert ne-
gotiated a spurious yawn and telegraphed
a meaning glance to the enemy.
"My dear," he said cordially, "when I get through at the
studio this evening I believe I shall look in on old Zoop. I
want to see him regarding our future. Thoughtful of me, eh? "
Extremely an.xious to hold her advantage Joyce impaled half
a waffle with her fork and used it as a baton to emphasize her
remarks. "So you want to see if Abie is able," she tinkled.
"Well, dearie, you won't be alone. It's you'n' me both."
And ignoring Wattle's disapproving eye, she swirled daintily
out of the room while Mr. Mountstephen cursed softly into

his liver and bacon.

* * *

MR. ABRAHAM ZOOP Winked his shoe button eyes in
dull complacency, unlimbered his belt and prepared to
sneak forty winks.

The rush and wrangle of picture making at Stupefaction had
quieted down by six P. M., and having read that Napoleon,
to whom he bore a fancied resemblance, had been famous for
snoozing before a battle, Mr. Zoop was willing to give the
system a tryout. Something told him that Hubert was going
to make a squawk, but he felt quite capable of steam-rolling
the actor's hopes. A ten minute relaxation, now, and —

Half an hour later he struggled out of a nap to find himself
being tickled in the ear by a svelte redhead.

"Roll over, .\bie, " ordered Joyce, "and get a shock from
your live wire ingenue. Little Lord Fauntleroy and I are going
to separate because he's getting blue corpuscles in his blood. "

" In other words, " said Hubert [ ple.'^se turn to page 119]


"JhsL. Birth of the


eme Song

A musician tells how music came to the films
and what it did for the shadows on the screen


Maurice Fen ton

THE Theme Song has arrived. Further, it looks as
though it intends to stay awhile. Why not? The
mystery is: Why so late in the day?

The Theme Song is described as a special melody
designed to breathe the feeling of a particular picture.

In other words, we are given to understand that from now
on "seeing" and "hearing" are hooked up.

If this is so we ask, "What of it?" for under the circumstances
it was high time the Theme Song was recognized and given
a name. For when Dolores del Rio had made "Ramona," and
nobody was too wild about it, Emil Hcnsen, the publicity man
responsible, scratched his thatch in an endeavor to stir up

The idea of a special song struck him. What he wanted
was a special melody, to special words, titled after the picture,
dedicated to Dolores and to be used with the showing in such a
way as to become part of it. He 'phoned a music publishing
house to send around a man to take his order.

The end of that was Wayne and Gilbert's song,
"Ramona," which gets much of the credit for the
million and a half brought in by the picture.

Of "Ramona," they say that it was the first of the
Theme Songs, that it started the intimate combination
of music from the orchestra pit and action in the story.
As a matter of fact it was the forerunner of a new phase
of something as old as the stage itself.

When the light operas of Vienna centered themselves
around a waltz theme it was the same thing, and as soon
as the first llickering comedies were shown, it was to the ac-
companiment of music
supplied by pianists.

as could be fitted to its length. Each of the characters in "Way
Down East" had a musical line intended to be typical of it.
When the movies threatened to start talking there were
rattlin^s throughout the world. First came the shorts. Opera
singers and musical comedy stars did their turns. Then
Warners stepped out with "The Jazz Singer," George Jessel in
the middle of it. Plans were held up. Four songs w-ere re-
quired and Jessel could not see his way clear to put these in.
So it was decided to approach Al Jolson — Mammy singer par
e.xcellence. Jolson could do what contracts forbade Jessel
to undertake and the effect was instantaneous.

BY that time the lesson had been learned.

AS the theaters were
enlarged the or-
chestras did little more
than broaden the idea
of the pianists. As early
as "The Wrecker" of
Rex Beach, deliberate
attempts to harmonize
accompaniment and
drama were made.

When the special
score came into vogue,
with Dr. Hugo Reisen-
feld in the front rank,
movie fans, who scorned
the idea of sitting
through an opera, were
becoming familiar with
operatic excerpts with-
out knowing it.

An early production
of "Tosca" used as
much of Puccini's music


This article introduces
Mr. Fenton, musician
and critic, to Photo-
play readers. Each
month he will review
for you the latest and
best in phonoplay

Music and action
'were inseparable. If there was a scarcity of material on
the open market, the songs must be specially made.

So three Mammy-makers signed contracts. In Hollywood
they found themselves caged up. They chewed their nails,

solved innumerable
cross word puzzles and
punched their private
time clock. But not a
song came out.

"They'll soon settle
down," producers said.
The_\' seemed to be
settling, but not a
melody was turned in.
Then occurred the
scandal. One fine morn-
ing the birds-who-
wouldn't-sing failed to
check in. The next
morning they were still
A. W. O. L. And the

THEN headquarters
received a clue and
sleuths mounted to the
upper story of a hotel.
Through a closed door
issued snatches of song.
The door was forced.

One was at, and
another on the piano.
The third was scrib-
bling at a table. Over
piles of cigarette butts
the invaders demanded
an explanation. They
got it ... A couple
of sure-fire song hits
and a cartload of ideas!

PAGE 136]


The Amateur Movie
Contest Prizes

Curtain Falls on PHOTOPLAY'S Great Competition
as Judges Award $2,000 in Prizes

THE final awards in Photo-
play's second amateur movie
contest have been decided upon
by the judges who selected winners of the S2,000 in prizes.

Twe unusual amateur productions won the tirst prizes of
SSOO each in the dramatic and non-dramatic divisions of the
competition. The chief award in the non-dramatic section was
voted to Ralph Steiner, of 350' 2 West 24th Street, New York
Citv, for his remarkable 35 millimeter study in the abstract,

This film is a study of water in the new manner: A series of
photographic shots of the reflections of boats, ferry houses,
docks, etc., on water and the whole resulting in a chain of pure
abstract patterns of shapes in water. Steiner achieves an
astonishing tempo as his film advances. The picture is bound
to attract wide attention and a great deal of discussion where-
everit isshown.

Mr. Steiner is a maker of advertising photographs but is an
amateur cinematographer in every sense of the word. "H20"
is his first complete film. Mr. Steiner is a graduate of Dartmouth.

"H20" was made with an Eyemo and a DeBrie. Mr.
Steiner used six and twelve inch lenses on both cameras to pull
the water reflection up large.

THE Foto-Cine Productions, of 418 South Stanlislaus Street,
Stockton, Calif., won the first prize of $500 in the dramatic
division for its 16 millimeter picture, "Three Episodes." This
film discloses, concisely and with cinematic dexterity, what
passes in the mind of a dying soldier in a shell hole in Flanders.
The three memories flashing back to the suiTering doughboy
were well done and the film as a whole disclosed the best sense
of cinematics revualed bv anv contender in this division.

By Frederick James Smith

"Three Episodes" is directly the
work of Robert Burhans, who wrote
the scenario, directed and con-
tributed largely towards the production in a financial way;
Robert W. Ward, who was the cameraman; Alice L. Buckle,
who acted as title and script girl; and Edwin J. Fairall, who was
production supervisor. The acting of the soldier was well done
by Scott Hardester. It should be noted that both Mr. Burnhans
and Mr. Ward have been experimenting actively with amateur
cinematics for years. Mr. Burhans was a competitor in Photo-
play's contest of last year.

THE second award, of $250, in the dramatic division was made
to Dr. H. A. Heise, of Uniontown, Pa. Dr. Heise also was a
contestant in Photoplay's last contest. His winning 16 milli-
meter film this year, "Whither Flowing," depicts the nervous
evils caused by parents in the thoughtless upbringing of
children. The drama was compactly told, well acted and
directed, and was marked by unusual photography.

Second prize, of $250, in the non-dramatic section went to B.
V. Covert, of 154 Genessee Street, Lockport, N. Y., who last
year won a first division prize of $500. Mr. Covert submitted
an interesting 16 millimeter study of fishing, ranging from deep
sea thrills off the Florida coast to an expedition into the Cana-
dian wilds. As in the first contest, Mr. Covert demonstrated a
better sense of scenic photography than was revealed by any
other contender. He builds his scenic upon an interesting story
framework and the result is not just a series of hap-hazard shots.

Third prize, of $150, in the dramatic division went to the
Undergraduate Motion Pictures of Princeton University for
"Incident," which was marked by some extraordinary cine-
matography. This was in 16 [ please turn to page 86 ]

Photoplay Amateur Movie Contest Awards


First, $500

Foto-Cine Productions
418 So. Stanlislaus Street
Stockton, Cal.

"Three Efisodes"

First, $500

Ralph Steiner

3 50 1/2 West 24th Street

New York City

Study, "H20"

Second, $250
Dr. H. A. Heise
23 Delaware Avenue
Uniontown, Pa.

"Whither F/oii>ing"

Third, $150

Undergraduate Motion

Princeton University
Princeton, N. J.

Drama, "Incident"


Second, $250
B. V. Covert
1 54 Genessee Street
Lockport, N. Y.

Scenic, "Just Fishing"

Third, $150

Hiram Percy Maxim
276 No. Whitley Street
Hartford, Conn.

Scenic, "The Sea"

Fourth, $100

Jac Thall

957 77th Street

Brooklyn, N. Y.

Drama, "A Quickie"

Fourth, $100

Edward E. Jacobson
9 East 41sf Street
New York City
Scenic,"Our Metropolis"

Edward E. Jacobson
9 East 41st Street
New York City
Drama, "What Does
It Matter?"

Hiram Percy Maxim
276 No. Whitley St.
Hartford, Conn.
Scenic, "Summer"

Honorable Mentions

Leonard Clairmont
6247 Banner Place
Hollywood, Calif.
Drama, "Nemesis"

Koji Tsukamoto
11 Sojuro — cho

Tokio, Japan
Scenic, "Inland Sea
of Japan"

Jack Nevin
1111 Yorkshire Rd.
Grosse Pointe Port
Detroit, Michigan


Four Babes in the


Alexander Gray

E lives on one of Hollywood's most exclusive hills and if
you didn't know that he had just rented the house you
^might suppose he'd been living in it all his life, so settled
he seems to be.

But that's the sort of person Alexander Gray is. His mother
and father and baby live with him and, although he still feels
that the cinema is just a long rehearsal and he's still amazed
that people do as good work as they do when the grand finale of
a moom pitcher is often shot before the introduction, he's signed
a long term contract with First National and has completed the
lead opposite Marilyn Miller in "Sal.y."

With that out of the way, he is now busy on "No, No,

There have been several steps — somewhat unrelated perhaps
— in his career.

He started out to be a business man. He had always sung,
but concerts didn't pay.

A job as advertising manager for a motor truck company
brought in a good-sized weekly salary. Yet that didn't make
him entirely happy.

Alexander couldn't forget his sharps and flats and he sud-
denly found himself in a Ziegfeld show where he warbled about
pretty American girls and lovely Hawaiian girls and elegant
Chinese girls.

Unlike most young men who do this sort of work, ."Mexander
could hit a grace note as well as look handsome.

So he left the revues and tried his luck on the musical comedy
and operetta stage.

HIS first speaking and singing role was in '"Sally" and that
was followed by other successes, including "The Desert
Song," which really made him famous.

Then Warners got Marilyn Miller's name on the dotted line
for "Sally " and then came her request that Gray be her leading

He's a good looking lad of medium height, with blue eyes and
light hair.

The eyes are grave, for tragedy came into his life when his
wife was killed in an accident in January.

His charming mother keeps the home together and makes
him happy.



Vivienne Segal

"r I 'HIS," said Vivienne Segal to an important New York
I producer, " will be your last chance to hear me sing!"
Some ultimatum!

She was all of sixteen years old and had sung only in amateur
operettas in Philadelphia.

The manager, who was anxious to get away to an important
engagement, had asked her to return the next day.

But Vivienne wouldn't listen to any such thing. No sir!
She'd sing — or else.

It's just that attitude that brought about her success in
"Blue Paradise," "Three Musketeers" and "The Desert
Song" on the stage and has now prompted Warners to sign her
to a long term contract after "Song of the West" and "Golden

\'ivienne's mother had wanted to be an actress. But her
family was shocked, so she determined that Vivienne should
choose a theatrical career. They went to New York for a week-

Nobody told them how hard it was to see managers, so
they saw them all in one day.

And Vivienne sang.

What could the managers do ?

There was no stopping her.

When the producers told her that she'd hear from them
shortly she was frightfully downcast and quite sure that she
was a failure.

Two weeks later a wire from Lee Shubert brought her back
to New York.

She was told to watch three performances of "Blue Paradise"
and to learn the lines and the songs in it.

Four days later she opened in the musical comedy in New
York, and was a sensation.

"If I hadn't been so young and foolish I couldn't have done
it," she said.

SHE was what Broadwayites call "a natural." She stepped
into her first leading role at sixteen and she's been stepping
into them ever since.

The camera shows her as a lovely graceful girl with a beauti-
ful figure, but misses the transparency of her skin and the
radiance of her light red hair.



Cal York

Catherine Dale Owen

KENTUCKY prides itself on its fine horses and beautiful
women. For the moment let's forget all about horses and
consider the women. Catherine Dale Owen, a Kentucky
beauty, plays the haughty princess to John Gilbert's dashing
soldier in '" His Glorious Night."

As a result of her work in that picture M-G-M has placed her
under a five }'ear contract.

Even John should forget the blonde Greta in the charms of
the blonde Catherine.

PERHAPS Catherine's stage career is a greater surprise to her
than anybody else.

Her elder sister was originally expected to attend Sargent's
dramatic school in New York.

When she decided not to go, Catherine took her place. No
sense in wasting the tuition.

Her first professional experience was in the ingenue role with
O. P. Haggle in "Happy-Go-Lucky." Dennis King also made
his American debut in this play.

She was in "The Mountain Man," "The Love City," with
Sessue Hayakawa; "The Whole Town's Talking," in New York
and London; in the Belasco production of "Canary Dutch,"
and with Holbrook Blinn in "The Play's the Thing." Her
work as the tlirtatious prima donna in this Molnar play made
her name famous in New York.

Catherine is slender and beautiful, with the soft, lovely voice
of the Southern girl, although her accent is pleasantly British.
No less a personage than David Belasco paid a tribute to her

In a telegram to a film columnist he wrote, in part:

" When she was working with me she showed a genius for hard
work, which was full of promise. In addition to that she is one
of the most beautiful girls in the American theater and her voice
is cultured, sweet and clear. If cast properly this girl is destined
to go far."

Having been a successful, haughty princess in " His Glorious
Night," she will be a slightly less haughty noblewoman in the
Lawrence Tibbett picture, "The Rogue's Song," with a back-
ground of the Ural Mountains.

Catherine's one worr>' is that she wiU go on and on being a
haughty princess.

Morgan Farley

THE American Tragedy" and Morgan Farley are names
synonymous. Morgan played the role of the tragic
Clyde in the Dreiser drama for more than an entire
season in New York. It is an intense, terribly exacting psy-
chological study of a young man's bitter life, and it ends with
his death.

It "does things" to the boys who play the role.

Leslie Fenton, who played the role in Los Angeles, has
"chucked" his career and gone to South America on a cattle
boat, as is told on another page of this issue.

"I've never quite recovered from that role," said Morgan.
"Likely I never shall. You had to give too much to the role.
It took too much from you."

The reaction from Clyde set in while he was playing "The
Trial of Mary Dugan," in London. His health broke and he
left the cast. He recuperated by taking a bicycle trip through

MORGAN is now in Hollywood, under contract to Para-

He has already appeared in "Half Marriage," "The Greene
Murder Case," and "The Mighty."

It is not likely that "The American Tragedy" will ever be
screened, although Patrick Kearney, the original adapter, says
he has written a censor-proof version. Morgan sees no reason
for filming the play.

He is one of the most interesting personalities that Broadway
has sent to the screen. Slight of build, with light hair and gray-
ish-blue eyes.

The Farley manse in Hollywood is more like a monk's
habitat than the home of a famous personality.

There are bare floors and a few pieces of unpainted furniture.
Rude monk's cloth is at the windows. Candle light is the

His car is a humble flivver.

Perhaps he will remain in pictures, but it is problematical.

"It all depends on what I can accomplish," is the way he
puts it.

"There has always been a force within which has driven
me onward — the desire to accomplish something worth while
— something that would satisfy me."


HA tl PV.

The Quest for Silence: Or an Old-Fashioned
"Fan" Goes to the Movies


Photoplay Magazine for NovembeRj 1929



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Photoplay Magazine for November, 1929

These New Faces

Watch for This Each Month

CARLOTTA KING ("The Desert Song," Warner Brothers) is a graduate
of stage operettas and comic operas, with a beautiful soprano
voice. Her first big part in "The Desert Song," opposite John
Boles, brought her instant success, and -Metro-Goldwyn signed
her to a five year contract. She will ne.xt be heard in the sound
version of "Rose-Marie."

CHARLES KING (-The Broadway Melody," M-G-M.) Charlie King has
long been one of Broadway's musical comedy favorites. In
vaudeville for many year-., he became popular as leading
-jj jA^I ^'^^ °^ ^^'-'^ George M. Cohan shows as "Little Nellie Kelly."

, '.S^l His last big stage hit was in "Hit the Deck." He's in the big

V~J|H "Hollywood Revue of 1929."

JOAN BENNETT ("Bulldog Drummond," United Artists.) Joan is the
s youngest of the three pretty actress daughters of Richard

Bennett, the well known stage star, the others being Constance
and Barbara. Just before her picture hit in "Bulldog Drum-
mond," with Ronald Colman, she was her father's leading
woman in the stage play of Hollywood, "Jarnegan."

MORTON DOWNEY (-Mother's Boy," Pathe) first came to light as

^^mg. tenor soloist on a concert tour with Paul Whiteman's band.

w^^^^L A success, he then became a popular and high-priced enter-

I <c; 1? tainer in New York night clubs. His first successful picture

^ appearance was in Radio's "Syncopation."' So he ups and

marries his leading lady, Barbara Bennett.


S'Xau^fi. Jitc.

("Big Time," Fo.x) was just another Broadway actor when
Producer Jed Harris gave him the hoofer lead in the famous
play "Broadway." It made Tracy's reputation and Harris a
million dollars. Later, Lee made a hit in the role of the reporter
in the same manager's sensational "Front Page." From here
he jumped into the Fox film crowd.

JEANETTE MacDONALD (-The Love Parade," Paramount) will be

Online LibraryMoving Picture Exhibitors' AssociationPhotoplay (Volume 36 – 37 (Jul. - Dec. 1929)) → online text (page 105 of 145)