Moving Picture Exhibitors' Association.

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

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The remainder of the dinner table conversation was casual,

with frequent loud squawks from the telephone. I had known

Sally for a long time. Even if this were the first meeting I

would have been at ease.
Before we started for the beach Sally declared a five-minute



Two snorts of Scotch, Sally Eilers
and Mark "Heavy Sugar" Busby

recess to put on a hat, a light silk coat,
and to do something in front of the mirror,
necessary to the happiness and peace
of mind of all girls, Hollywood or
Hoboken. Mayme Glutz often takes
much longer.

It was nine o'clock when we arrived
at the beach. It was a big night in the
home town. Lots of people, lots of noise,
and lots of lights. There were girls in
sailor breeches who had no business wear-
ing them, and sheiks with their hair
parted in geometric precision.

"Let's do ever>'thing," said Sally,
breathing in the atmosphere. "I haven't
been at the beach in a long time." (See,
not pretending that this was a slumming
tour to the humble, lively beach.)

The first thrill was the chute the
chutes, memories of Coney. A thrill
that cost twenty cents, and an added
thrill that cost nothing. On the big
slide Sally hung onto me for dear life,
just like any other girl that knows her

For the uninitiated, the chute the
chutes is a hundred foot slide in a boat
into the inky waters below. The boat is puUed to the top
by cables.

"Gollv," I asked SaUv, "wouldn't it be funny if the cables

The middle aged lady in front, a bit dubious about such
hellish contraptions, turned around and glared.
"D'ja know any more jokes?" she snapped.
"Yeah," was my snappy comeback.

"Not another word out of you," Sally commanded. "You
can see she had you there."

A sign caught our eyes. "Why Girls Go Wrong" for Ten
Cents. We both wanted to know why girls go wrong for ten
cents. The feature attraction [please turn to page 127]

The Film of the Future

Standard Movietone film
of Premier Ramsay Mac-
Donald. Note the sound
track at left


The new Fox Grandeur Movietone film. It is

seventy millimetres wide, or twice the width of

standard film. Hear the geese honk

Old fashioned standard

width film, still used

when sound is recorded

on a disc

NOT long ago an astonished audience in New York saw the
first showing of a new film which is going to revolutionize
the making and showing of motion pictures — Grandeur

The new film, with its wide sound track, is twice the width
of the old-fashioned film, and requires a wide camera lens and a
new type of projector. It is thrown on a screen forty feet wide


and twenty feet high, or one about twice as wide as the sheet
we know. It was perfected, after three years, by the Fo,x-Case
Corporation and General Theatres Equipment, Inc.

Astounding effects are possible with Grandeur. Fox showed
a Movietone News and a version of the "Movietone Follies,"
and thrilled a hardboiled audience. Grandeur's possibilities are
limitless. It is the film of the future.

Today — Miss Borden says:
"I can't believe that a year
ago I was such a little


Helen Loring

One year ago — High hat,
temperamental and every
inch a lady. And a daugh-
ter of old Virginia

The story of a girl who
learned to be natural

A GORGEOUS French limousine drove up in front of
the Fox Studio. Automatically the gateman straight-
ened his tie. As he made this gesture a brisk, liveried
footman sprang from the front seat beside the chauf-
feur, opened the gleaming door and stood at attention.

Out stepped a little French maid bearing a large powder
puff. You could tell she was a maid because the footman did
not so much as touch her arm. Immediately following her was a
neatly dressed, intelligent woman who carried numbers of
letters and a heavy account book. The footman did not move.

Next came a well dressed middle-aged woman. The footman
helped her to alight but he did not touch his cap. They all
stood rooted to the ground while, with much doffing of cap
and with many flourishes, the owner of the elaborate entourage,
herself, was assisted to the humble pavement.

She was not a visiting princess, nor the wife of the most high
executive. But she might have been a combination of the
two, so elegant was she in appearance and mien. Although
she was expensively gowned in sables and velvets, she was
just a young girl.

As she passed through the gates the assistant directors, the
gardeners and the extra people took off their hats and bowed
slowly from the waist. Everyone heaved sighs of relief.

OLIVE BORDEN had arrived!
Some two or three years ago Fox Film Corporation gave
Olive Borden $2,000 and a black lace negligee and told her to
be a lady. The money arrived weekly. Seductive garments
were created for every picture she made. The act was supposed
to be permanent — like a wave.

It all came too suddenly and it ended disastrously.

Olive took on the responsibility of being grand, unreservedly.
Two thousand dollars a week is enough to make any girl, still
in her early twenties and with little education, go ritzy. Besides,
it was a royal edict from the powers that be.

Being a lady, according to old fashioned movie standards, con-
sisted in developing those muscles of the back of the neck that
elevate the nose to an angle of 45 degrees. One must also
avoid pleasantries with electricians and prop boys. Those
who speak to people are known as "good scouts." They are
never ladies. You have to readjust yourself completely to get
into the mood- of the thing.

Olive set about the task of becoming a lady. Her first
gesture was to build up a background. As she already had a

Southern accent, a natural one, she suddenly became a scion
of an old Virginia family with no blot on the family 'scutcheon.

Next she built an elaborate home in Beverly Hills and
manned it with six or eight servants. She gave startling orders
to her social inferiors.

Sometimes Olive forgot. Once she spoke to a hairdresser.
She had to pull herself together the next day and remember
everything she had been told.

Maids trailed her from her dressing room to her set and
while she was at work she was surrounded by a group of
satellites who told her how lovely and charming she was.

When she was interviewed she shrugged a ladylike, alabaster
shoulder and spoke of her duty to her public.

Olive was too young to know herself. She was grand for
two reasons. In the first place she was told to be that way.
Secondly, her high and mighty airs were what the psychologists
call defense mechanism.

WITH all her money and all her grandeur, as timid as a
prize fighter at an afternoon tea. Her timidity expressed
itself in hauteur.

The truth of the matter was that Olive was afraid. She was
not capable of living up to her pose.

Vaguely, she knew she was unhappy. She knew that her
pictures were bad. The defense mechanism was shattered
when she saw one of her new opi, and every time she left the
projection room the grand lady of the films wept disappointed
little girl tears.

The company offered her a forty week contract. She had
had a fifty-two week one. This gave her an out. There was
much talk between lawyers. Olive was left out of it. She
was not consulted. Until one day she found herself in the
inner of inners of an executive's office. She was quite alone
and quite determined.

In an hour and fifteen minutes she was re-born. She made
the first decision she had ever made all by herself. She gave
up the S2,000, the negligee and the grandeur.

When she left the studio she declared that she was through
with pictures forever. Olive was still proud. One doesn't
stop being a movie lady in a day.

With one grand gesture she sold the Beverly Hills home,
cut her many servants off her payroll and moved into a small
cottage at the beach.

But because she had played a [please turn to page 120]


G?* Other '

Tragedy and misfortune

have stalked many who

"Got their chance with


fickle fancy of the public. Perhaps he will stage a comeback
in his forthcoming production of "Abraham Lincoln." It
will be an idyllic story, the sort of thing he best understands.
It is the drama of a great and noble figure, one that has
always interested him, and about which he has studied for
years. Most important of all, it harks back to his first
deathless masterpiece, "The Birth of a Nation."

A historic picture. D. W. Griffith, the Old Master,

wearing his famous panama, at the megaphone.

His great cameraman, Billy Bitzer. Behind him,

Blanche Sweet and young Dorothy Gish

WHEN a movie star kneels down in his little nightie
and offers up a prayer he says — "Please let me do a
picture with Griffith. Amen." Ever since "The
Birth of a Nation" these fervent prayers have
been wafted skyward.

All actors were firm in the belief that David Wark Griffith,
THE Great Griffith, THE Master Director, would get the
utmost from them — more than any other director could
achieve. It was, and is, true.

Popular favorites of the screen have
offered to work for nothing in his pictures
just to gain the advantage of his training.
Griffith stars were the most envied people
on the screen.

It meant much to be hailed as a Griffith
"discovery." It was almost an assurance
of success. To appear in a Griffith picture
meant as much as to appear in a Belasco
play. Actors who played extra roles in
"Intolerance" boasted of being Griffith

There are about as many people in
Hollywood today who will tell you im-
pressively that they were with Griffith as
there are descendants of "Mayflower"
Pilgrims in the United States. Griffith
was a man of magic. He had the rare
quality of revealing the souls of his people.

EVEN today when he casts for one of his
infrequent pictures Hollywood waits
breathlessly for his decision. Even today
you hear — " Oh, if I could onlv do a pic-
ture with Griffith."

But there is another side of the story.
Has it really meant so much to do a pic-
ture with Griffith? What about the trail
of misfortune that has followed so many
of his players?

It has been little more than a decade
since the golden days of Griffith. His pic-
tures were the greatest and his players
were the most famous. And yet — where
are most of them today?

And Griffith himself, for a time at least,
has lost his leadership, overlooked by the


[N ten years the brave and splendid ranks of the Griffith
players have been thinned. Like the Gray poem, the
paths of glory have led but to the grave for some of them.
Tragedy has laid cold fingers on the lives of others. Few of
the much-envied Griffith "discoveries" are successful on
the screen today.
After being schooled in the Griffith technique it was usually
difficult for a player to become accustomed to the methods of
another director. His players were wont to explain patiently to
other captains of the megaphone that Griffith "would not do it
that way."

Two of Griffith's young people whose lives ended in

tragedy. Clarine Seymour and Bobby Harron in a scene

from "True Heart Susie." Both died as fame loomed


Side of the


By Marquis Busby

Professional jealousy has never been an unknown quality in
HoUywood. It usually meant a long, black mark for the play-
ers. Then, too, it was jarring to the pride of a director to
realize that Griffith got results from them that no one else

THE Griffith technique was undoubtedly different. His hero-
ines were delicate, fluttering girls, helpless and virtuous.
His heroes were noble and pure, and poetic looking. Other
directors did not want fluttering girls, and too poetic men. And
usually, unfortunately for the players, Griffith's stamp was

About this time the adolescent picture industry made the
discoven,' of sex. Was it Elinor Glyn who explained the
secrets of life? At any rate it was the general opinion that the •
Griffith players did not have sex appeal.

However, there was a brief period of great fame for the
Griffith people, and then, usually, the gradual withdrawal of
the cup of success. Perhaps it was better so. Sweeter a short

The Little Colo-
nel, in the cos-
t u me of the
greatest of
Griffith films,
"The Birth of a
Nation." Those
were the grand
days of Henry
B. Walthall,
before illness
ended his ro-
mantic career

The Blanche Sweet of the Griffith era. This is the beau-
tiful Blanche as she looked in one of the early films of her
Fine Arts days, now ten years past

time on the highest plane of all than years on a

more prosaic level.

That drab little fellow. The Jinx, has always

hidden in corners of the Griftith studios, no matter
where it was. He trailed the master of
magic as well as the players.

Death cut short the careers of Wallace
Reid, Clarine Seymour, Robert Harron,
Charles Emmett Mack, Gladys Brock-
well, Fred Turner and Porter Strong.

TRAGEDY has dogged the footsteps of
Mae Marsh, Blanche Sweet, Carol
Dempster, Eric von Stroheim, George
Walsh, Mildred Harris, Henry B. Wal-
thall, Miriam Cooper, Dorothy Gish and
Winifred Westover. Lillian Gish and
Richard Barthelmess have been more
successful, but their success has not been
without the attendant hand-maidens,
trial and unhappiness.

Not many are left on the screen today
from the marvelous "The Birth of a
Nation" cast. Nor are there many from
"Intolerance," "Hearts of the World"
and "Way Down East."

Wallace Reid achieved a vogue that no
other male star has held, with the single
exception of Valentino. Yet big, hand-
some WaUy, who attracted so much at-
tention as the heroic blacksmith in "The
Birth of a Nation," died a tragic death
at the height of his career, a victim of his
own weakness.

George Seigmann, the hated villain,
Giis, in "The Birth of a Nation," died
while stiU a young man.



/T CAMERA'S eye view of a group of very leggy young
Q_y2 ladies from the chorus of "Painted Angel'^ in what
looks to our unskilled eye like an extremely uncom-
fortable pose. Luckily for fans, people just will go on suffering
for their art — or somebody else's art


"y Raised^y^oy

To Be

An Actof'


Elaine Ogden

"'D rather see my son in his grave
than to have him get the smell of

Off and on for the past — er —
several years, we'll say, I've been hav-
ing troupers tell me that. Claire Wind-
sor's little boy was always guarded
like the wedding silver. He was never
allowed to see a studio for fear he might
be lured by make-up. Raymond
Hackett, I believe, has anything but
theatrical plans for his son. There
seems to be a concerted action on the
part of Thespian parents to keep their
children out of the profession.

But not all parents. Not, for in-
stance, J. C. Nugent, who actually
reared his boy to be an actor. With
all the subtlety he had learned in the theater, he instilled in
the lad the tradition of the stage. His heart, I believe, would
have snapped right in two had Elliott become a typewriter
pounder on a newspaper, as he thought once of becoming.

And now Elliott is one of the most promising of the stage
stars in Hollywood. He has covered himself with glory in
"Kempy" and "College Life," and is now cast as Marion
Davies' leading man in "Dulcy." His first stage appearance
took place when he was at the momentous age of four years,
at the old Orpheum in Los Angeles, on Second and Spring

But he was not, like so many theatrical kids, raised in the
tray of a trunk. He had always known a home, a conserva-
tive, dignified, old fashioned home in Dover, Ohio! Of all

And in that living room, that mid-Victorian living room,
with the family album actually on the center table, Elliott and
Ruth Nugent learned the art of Booth and Barrett.

The story really begins before they were born.

J. C, who had worked in factories when he was a youngster,
came to the conclusion that the only profession with anything
like a big reward open to a young man with no practical educa-
tion was acting.

YET there was no such necessity for Elliott. After his father
had imprisoned himself in vaudeville to give the boy an edu-
cation, there was enough money for him to have been a lawyer
or a doctor or a bootlegger or even a bank president. But J. C.
knew the fascinating thraldom of grease paint and the joy of
giving a good, sincere performance. He wasn't going to have
Ruth and Elliott missing it!

Years before they were born, J. C. found himself stranded in

Bang goes tradition!
J. C. Nugent, actor,
shown above with son,
Elliott, deliberately
steered his children
into stage careers

a cheap hotel in Ohio. There was
nothing to read but the Gideon Bible.
He gathered his resources together —
the mental far outnumbering the finan-
cial — and presented himself in Dover
to direct one of the ubiquitous little
theaters that were just beginning to
get in your hair.

One of his most promising pupils
was a Dover girl, named Grace Fertig.
She promised to become h's wife. .\nd
did. And, although she toured the
states with him as an actress, her heart
was with the family album on the
living room table in their home. So J. C. went on the road
alone and she taught the children charm and grace and love.

When he was not on the road the father taught them other
things. That quaint, old living room and the sturdy dining
room (I'U bet there was a still life of a fish and an apple on the
wall) was the scene of the most thorough course in dramatic art
that two kids ever received.

J. C, with his love of the theater, with his ideals about "the
grandest profession," talked "shop" continually. They saw
plays together and analyzed cver>' movement of the actors.
The broad, general aspect of the art was brought to their atten-
tion as well as the small intricacies.

HE taught them how to rise from a chair, with the weight on
the front foot so that there would be no awkwardness. He
showed them what words to emphasize in a line. He instilled
into them the fact that acting must be honest and sincere, and
that the actor must not resort to tricks and buffoonery. He
gave them all the tools of the trade that later made their fame.

And, during this time, he was writing and selling vaudeville
sketches, and asking Elliott's advice about every situation to
teach him to be a writer as well.

Elliott reached college age. They chose Ohio State. The
family spent many week-ends at Columbus at a comfortable
hotel. Elliott went out for everything journalistic and theatri-
cal. He spent his summer vacations on the road with his

.^fter graduation, J. C. stood before his son and asked him
what he wanted to do with his life.

"I'm going to be a journalist," said Elliott.

And the hopes of a lifetime lay in little broken bits at the
father's feet. [ please turn to page 122 ]



Even the sun
carries a spyglass
as he hovers over
Beverly Hills,
where everybody
lives in glass houses
throw anything at

IN New York or in Paris it was easy. All I had to do was
telephone and say: "I'm terribly sorry, darling, but I
shall be a little late tonight. It's a nuisance I know, but
that fool Jones-Smith says he must see me — and of course it
is business. . . . No, you'd better not wait. If I'm not home
by eight, you eat dinner and I'U get a snack somewhere."

When I got home, about two a. m., that devil Jones-Smith
got a piece of her mind from the missus.

"Keeping you out so late," she'd say, "and you working so
hard, too. I'd like to meet that man once, just to tell him what
/ think of him."

She never did meet him. Jones-Smith kept coyly in the
background. But you can't get away with anything like that
in Hollywood.

During war days in Paris all public rooms and vehicles had
a big sign reading:




If I had my way I'd translate this warning and transpose it a
little and hang it up in the lobby of the Roosevelt and the
Cocoanut Grove and the Russian Eagle and the Pom Pom and
Frank Sebastian's and Montmartre and the Brown Derby and
all beach and other party houses indiscriminately:




Gossip was a snowball during the war, as the German Intelli-
gence found out to their cost. A drunken poilu would divulge




that his outfit was being sent to the
Chemin des Dames. An hour later one
spy would tell a bigger spy :
"I got it straight — there's a movement of troops
to the Chemin des Dames."

Shortly after that the German Intelligence would
receive a coded message:

That, of course, meant:


Then the French would really attack in Cham-
pagne, and the Germans would be taken by sur-
prise on the flank.

It may seem a bit surprising, but Hollywood
is like that. The first day I got here I was intro-
duced to a lady in Montmartre restaurant and
she said, with that charming directness which is
such a feature of the girls here:

'Basil Woon? Pleased to meet you. Are you
divorced? Is that woman
with you your wife? Are you
in the pictures or oil? Isn't
the Scotch in Hollywood ter-
rible? Have you a good boot-
legger yet? Did you hear
Douglas Fairbanks and Marj'

Hector Snooparound, the
Keyhole King of Holly-
wood, is digging up a few
rumors for the regular
luncheon dishers —

With It in Hollywood

The grand old alibis

just don't go in


Pickford are going to separate? Have you a cigarette?"
"The woman is my wife I am not divorced yet I am not in
pictures oil or otherwise yes the Scotch is worse than that no
is there such a thing well but you can't believe all you hear
no I don't smoke," I replied, in the casual manner which is so
much the thing in Hollywood.

Later that day a mutual friend came up with a pleasantly
shocked expression and, drawing me
aside, said:

"So it's happened to you, too, has it?
What was the trouble, old man? You
know you can speak frankly to your old

"You forgot to say whether it has five
letters or six and whether it is a flower or
a bird," I said.

"Aw, you don't have to kid me. It's
all over Hollywood that you and the wife
are going to divorce."

"Now isn't that wonderful," I ex-
claimed. " I wonder how they
got the news so quicklv?"
■ "Well, I think Laura Blink
told me. She said she got it
from her manicure who said that
Mary Bunk told her. I think
she said that the manicure said
that Mary said she got it from
Susie Snoop."

— While Patricia Peekaboo,
Queen of the Transom-
Gazers, dredges the news
that Hec is just peeping
around again

Now, Miss Snoop was the lady of the questions at lunch. I
saw her later. I said :

"Susie, how in the world did you know my wife and I were
going to divorce?"

"My dear man," she said, patronizingly, "you forget — you
told me so yourself."

"7 told you so?"

"Well, you inlimaled it. You said you were not divorced
yd. And of course anyone would know what that meant."

MEETING Bugs Baer in the lobby of the Roosevelt, he
suggested having a little fun that evening.

"What am I going to tell the wife?" I asked him.

"Aw, 'phone up and say you've got a business appointment
with Jesse Lasky or Winnie Sheehan," said Bugs, efficiently.
Bugs, too, is new to Hollywood.

I 'phoned and told my wife about having to go out to Culver
City and see Irving Thalberg, and she said that was wonderful
and would I be back to dinner. No, I said, I might not make
it back quite by dinner; in fact it might be nine o'clock before
I got in. I'd just get a snack at the studio or somewhere.

So the next morning she said to me:

"What sort of man is this Mr. Thalberg?"

"Why, he's a big, hefty, red-headed feller with lots of pep,"
I said, "and let me tell you, he's one grand guy — why, he
simply wouldn't hear of me going home last night — took me
over the studio personally and then brought me to his place for
dinner — lemme tell you about that house of his — it's — "

"What you did," said my wife, "was to leave the Roosevelt
with that terrible Bugs Baer. You got in a Cadillac with two
girls in it. One of them was Lucille Lush and the other was
Bridget Brilliantine. You were with Bridget. After that you
went over to Bert Wheeler's with Tom McNamara, and you
had a lot of drinks. Then you and Tom and another girl named
Helen Hugg went to Billy Hayne's place at the beach, and Billy

Online LibraryMoving Picture Exhibitors' AssociationPhotoplay (Volume 36 – 37 (Jul. - Dec. 1929)) → online text (page 127 of 145)