Moving Picture Exhibitors' Association.

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

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BUT Olive is too direct for blushes. She
knows that she was wrong. She realizes
that she was living a life of sham and pretense.
And she has the will to start all over again.

She and her mother have taken a small
studio apartment in Hollywood. She keeps a
personal maid and that's all.

"It's much nicer being in a Httle house,"
she says. "Now I can sit in my bedroom and
call to mother and she can hear me. It used
to be that I had to write her a note. What's
the use of a big house with only two people
to live in it? What's the use of all the pomp
and ceremony when you're not the type you're

"Look here, I was never a grand lady. I
was always just a crazy kid. I couldn't be
what they wanted me to be. And the more I
tried the bigger fool I was. How could I have
dared to give myself such grand airs when I
was making such bad pictures?

"I'm not that e.xotic, vamplsh tjpe. I don't
want to be a great dramatic actress. I'm not
sophisticated. Why should I try to play
sophisticated roles?

"I've two ambitions. On the screen I want
to be a good comedienne. And off the screen
I want to be a real, honest-to-God woman!"

After one look at that million
candle power smile we conclude
that $1000 an hour — the sum
Marilyn Miller received for vita-
phoning "Sally" — is small pay







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The New Extra Girl


HoUyn'ood. Some of them have attended
dancing schools, and others have had ex-
perience in Los Angeles musical comedy pro-
ductions. Every dance instructor will tell you
that he prefers the local talent to Broadway

The Broadway eyeful is too used to the
old routine — toast and coffee at noon. And
she's too hard-boiled.

THE Hollywood girl is younger — she must be
youthful to stand the gaff — and she is
smaller. The glamorous showgirl of the Broad-
way revues, the stately dame who looks like
Salome should have and didn't in a string of
synthetic pearls, is an unknown quantity
around the studios. The movies want action.

No chorus girl in the world is in the hands of
more capable dance directors. Larry Ceballos,
Sammy Lee, Pearl Eaton, Albertina Rasch,
Danny Dare and Seymour FelLx, all in Holly-
wood, know their buck and wings when it
comes to coaching.

First National and Warners, producing a long
string of musical comedies and revues, have
gone in the hea\iest for beauty-on-the-hoof.

Five hundred girls were used in "The Show
of Shows. " First National keeps a great many
busy. "Rio Rita," "The Love Parade, " and
the M-G-JI musicals provide frequent work
for many others. Perhaps there are four
hundred girls with term contracts.

First National went very seriously into this
chorus girl business. Out of the hundred-odd
girls on the lot they took an average, and found
little Ma.xine Cantway to be the ideal movie
chorine. Ma.\ine's measurements include a
32} 2-inch bust; a 23-inch waist; hips, 34
inches; calf, 12} 2 inches; ankle, 7J'2 inches.
X'enus De ililo, with her 283 '2-inch waistline,
couldn't get a job as script girl on Poverty
Row. Anna Held and Lillian Russell, with
their hour-glass figures, wouldn't get to first

One studio issued a questionnaire to its
chorus talent. The questions asked were
varied: What is your ambition? Hobbies?
Favorite books? Favorite screen actor and
actress? Do you diet? How do you spend
your evenings?

COME of the girls took the questions seriously
'-'and raade serious answers. Others took it as
a grand joke, and answered accordingly.

The questions on how they spent their eve-
nings brought back some of the following
answers :

"None of yotu' business."

"Working at the studio."

"I don't spend. The boy friend does."

"At home with the folks."

"When the fleet's in, you'd be surprised."

"Looking for excitement."

The fa\-orite moxie stars were set down as
Billie Dove and Dorothy ^lackaill, both origi-
nally from the chorus; Greta Garbo and Nils

Asther, and a goodly nimiber of votes for Clara
Bow, John Gilbert and Ramon Novarro.

You can't make that old crack about the
chorus girl not wanting a book, as she already
has one. They all profess a liking for literature
of one kind or another. Mystery novels got
the most votes. One weighty miss named
"Thus Spake Zarathustra." Another selected
"The AiTierican Tragedy." At least they've
heard of them.

They don't diet. As one girl expressed it —
"\\'hen we're working, we dance it off. When
we aren't, we worry it off."

'^^0T all of them wish to become stars by any
■'•^ means. Some of them are content to go
right on dancing into eternity. One or two
confess to a hankering for a husband. Most of
them admit being able to cook, but they are
dashed if they want to do it.

There are no Rolls-Royces. They're too
busy to go about being corespondents in
fashionable divorce suits. Quite a number of
them drive their own, or the family flivvers.
And quite a number of them hitch-hike to the
studios, as did their e.xtra girl sisters of the

In case there is a moment of rest between
dances, most of them will go right on dancing.
They dance for the sheer joy of doing it.
Others scan magazines, or start a bridge game
"for fun," or at a tenth of a cent.

The chorus girls one sees at First National,
Warners, Paramount, and Radio Pictures are
pretty much the same tjpe — small, active and

The Albertina Rasch girls at M-G-M are a
bit different. ^ladame Rasch was trained in
the exacting schools of the ballet in Europe,
and was a famous premiere ballerina at the
Metropolitan Opera House. Her girls are
larger and apparently stronger than the others.
They must be. When they train for dance
ntmibers there is no music. Only the rhyth-
mical hand-clapping of Madame Rasch. She
has a system of rigorous exercises which the girls
take daily. No college athlete is more care-
fully trained. They have little time for
flippancy. Madame Rasch would undoubtedly
"fire" one of her girls if a smart-crack answer
were given to a question. Like most Eiu-opeans
she is a believer in discipline.

T TXDOUBTEDLY among these two thou-
'— *-sand movie chorus girls there are a few
embrj'onic Doves and Bows, Shearers and
Daniels. No Ziegfeld chorus surpasses them
for looks. They must be pretty. Grease paint
and footlights work miracles in liiding wrinkles
and facial flaws. The camera is less charitable.
Certain New York chorus girls are still in de-
mand at thirty. You wouldn't find a girl past
twenty-five among the entire two thousand in
HoUpvood. But if you believe what you are
told, there are no women in pictures past

'I Raised My Boy to Be an Actor"


J. C. wanted his children's happiness. He
had hoped they would find happiness in the

Elliott wanted something else. J. C. did
not murmur.

Elliott worked on a paper for a whfle, but
the blood of troupers flowed in his Aeins.
There was no escaping the dramatic art he had
learned from his father.

It was fear that made him hesitate. Fear of

failure. Fear of poverty. Journalism was
sure. In fact, it was possible for him to buy
a small town paper. .Acting was a gamble.
But he was born for acting.

Joyous the father, fearful the son — the two
set out together for New York.

Smoking together on the train, they dis-
cussed the future. J. C. ha\ung trained the
boy in the art, now talked only of the practical

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He described e\ery theatrical manap;er in
New York, and upon arrival, introduced F.lliott
to every theater magnate in the city, save one.
That one was George Tyler and it was to him
that Elliott went.

.i^nd it was from him that he got his first job,
the lead in "Tillie. "

HIS first day in New York had already made
him famous. They arrived just in time for
the Friars' picnic.

Elliott won the foot race and suddenly he
was better known, more talked about than his
already well-known father.

Ruth, the sister, was attending dramatic
school. She, too, must follow the profession.
And on days when Elliott wasn't busy, he and
his father worked on "the play." "Kempy"
was at last finished. It was the storj' of their
lives in Dover. The first act opened in a living
room that was an e.\act reproduction of the one
in Dover.

The character that J. C. ^vrote for himself
was his own father-in-law.

There was a part in the play for every mem-
ber of the family.

And they believed in it.

They knc .\ the play was good, but they wore
out three manuscripts submitting it to man-
agers before it was finally produced. It was a
great success.

Others followed "Kempy."

Father and son wrote them. Father and
son played in them.

Yet Elliott has not been submerged by his
father's personality. The kid made the ar-
rangement for the family to come with

" T'VE only one fault to find with Elliott, " said
■*-his father. "Here just when I'm most
attractive, just when I'm at the height of my
career he makes me a grandfather! But what
a grandchild! I forgive him every time I look
at Lee."

".\nd Lee," I questioned; "is she being
raised to be an actress?"

The proud father and grandfather exchanged
glances and said in unison, Hke the three
musketeers, only in this case there were but
two of them;

"She is!"


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see pa^e 116

The Microphone, the Terror of the Studios


Well, then, here are Mona Rico and Joan
Bennett —

Joan, you know, is one of the three daughters
of the interesting Richard, which really doesn't

Anyway, she, like thousands of others,
sought fame in pictures — and sought and
sought and sought, also like thousands of
others. She got a bit here, and a bit there,
but she never biu'ned them up. She just
looked sweet and pretty and nice and mary-
ann-ish and so on.

And then she married herself out of the
pictures, and that seemed the end of Joan.
Married a chap named Fox, whose father had
a lot of timberland.

/^NE day a reporter called on her and
^^chronicled the birth of a Fo.xlet. He found
Joan and her hubby and baby living in a
walkup flat in the south-of-the-tracks part
of Beverly Hills, which is you know. Joan
was just a nice little hausfraii who didn't
look any happier than any other little hausfrati.
And it turned out she wasn't even that happy
— for she soon got a divorce.

And e\'erybody in lilmdom that cared said
"Poor Joan" and "Life is like that," and
forgot her.

But along came Terrible Mike, and Ronald
Colman needed a leading lady for "Bulldog
Drummond." Star after star uas tested for
the part — and somehow, poor Joan Bennett
got a test Maybe somebody felt sorry for

.\nd Terrible Mike did his stuff— the stuff
for which everj-body that tried out, except
Joan, calls him "Terrible." He set Joan out
so far ahead of everj- other trj-er-out that they
gave her the part. .And " Poor Joan " was such
a success in the part that she's on her way to
the top — she's played opposite George -Arliss
in "Disraeli," opposite Harrj- Richman in
"Playboy," is signed for the lead with Joseph
Schildkraut in "The Mississippi (iambler. "

And from her walkup flat south of the tracks
in Beverly, she's moved into one of those
lemme-see-your-bankbook apartments in a
house called the Cliatcait Ely.sec.

That's the stor>' of Joan. Turn the picture,

and see Mona Rico and what Terrible Mike
has done to her^

Once upon a time, a little Mexican extra
girl was standing around the United Artists
lot, waiting to be called for the next scene so
she could earn her day's $7.50. Director
Ernst Lubitsch was giving a man a screen test.
He needed somebody to work the test scene
with the fellow.

"Hey, you!" he yelled at the first girl he
saw. "Come over here and do so-and-
so. . . .!"

The girl who called herself Mona Rico did.
And when they ran off the "rush" of the test
footage, Lubitsch forgot all about the man in
the take and dashed wildly out to find Mona.
She had stolen the scene.

It was one of those things that little extra
girls dream about. And f>efore she knew it,
llona Rico was playing lead opposite John

She put on all the stuff that went with it — •
apartment, maids, autos, chauffeurs, clothes.
Lupe Velez must ha\'e lain awake worrying o'

TOUT Terrible Mike has a Nordic superiority
■'-^complex or something. He stepped right
into Mona Rico's life, planted himself before
her, and said:

"Vou! — how do you speak English? . . ."
Poor Mona Rico! Gone is the dream. . . .
.\nd gone or going with it are that swarm
of duco-haired Don Tabascos who «ere clutter-
ing up Hollywood.

O, Don Ro-dreek was a movie Sheik,
Knocking down a grand a week;

He gave the frails an awful kick —
But now he's OUT? He "no can
spik. . . .!"

— from "Mother Goose in Hollywood"

The superheated senoritas and their male
companions in arson aren't the only ones to
suffer from Terrible Mike's linguistic demands.
It's tough on other outlanders — even, as the
passports say, "including the Scandinavian!"
There are, for instance. Nils .Esther and Greta

The sour looking little gentleman on the right is none other than
one Charles Chaplin, Esq., reported to be a film comedian. Recall
the name? The others are Anita Murray, and George K. Arthur

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Photoplay Magazine for December, 1929

A year ago, Nils was getting enough fan
mail from heaving-bosomed damsels in tlie
midlands to paper a ballroom with. And
even yet.

But Nils, he bane got Swedish accent, and
Terrible Mike is laying for him.

Ditto goes for the Garbo. So far, they'\'e
dodged Mike by sticking to the silents — they
just made a valiant stand together in that
picture ballyhooed by the billboard showing
Greta in that bathing suit with Nils bending
over her — quick, boys, the pyrene

"Actions speak louder than words" is their
motto — and their hope.

And a German beauty, as lovely a fraulein
as ever was "Made in Germany," ran afoul
of Terrible Mike in Hollywood and has re-
turned to Deutschland to do her klang-

TRUE, some of the importations have so
far survived the terror of the mike. But
only by a sort of artificial respiration — they've
confined themselves to stories that call for an

They can't talk English straight.

They can talk it, though, with a twist here
and a twist there. And so they play the roles
of foreign, princesses and things like that — ■
leetle Fr-r-r-ranch m'mselles, liein? And man-
age to live.

Interesting, here, is the fact that Sessue
Hayakawa, the Japanese star of how-long-ago,
crashed back into celluloid BECAUSE of^
not in spite of — the mike! As tiiis is written,
Hayakawa has just finished a short talkie
back east for Warners, called "The Man Who
Laughed Last. "

It's Hayakawa's vaudeville skit, done for
the silver screen — and probably ninety per
cent of the people who see and hear him will be
amazed to find out how well he speaks English!

Hayakawa died in the silent pictures many
years ago because he could only do ONE
kind of story — the Japanese prince or some-
thing who married the white girl and paid for

Or didn't, and paid anyway!

And so it's a funny thing, isn't it? — how
Terrible Mike makes 'em or breaks 'em. . . .
Old-timers come back through his ministra-
tions, and the big shots go boom. . . .

Eeme,"Meenie, Minie, Mo — •
Stars, they face the mike with woe;
If they holler, watch 'em go. . . .!
Eenie, Meenie, Minie, Mo!!!
— from "Mother Goose in Hollywood"

The demon mike didn't frighten Gloria
Swanson. Coached in speaking lines by the
famous Laura Hope Crews, and with a high-
priced singing teacher putting her through
Ihe eighth-notes, Gloria gave the performance
of her life in "The Trespasser," and will un-
doubtedly find the greatest and most pro-
ductive period of her long career in talking

But there's Vilma Banky. She had her
Hungarian accent to lick.

Jane Manner, the New 'i'ork voice coach,
had Vilma in hand for six months, and now
Sam Gold\\'yn is paying the Hungarian Rhap-
sody her $2,000 a week while the camera crank
isn't turning, until the girl can clip her "dar-
links" and speak better English into the ear
of the choosy microphone.

THERE'S Lila "Cuddles" I^e, who has
miked a comeback.

Starred by Paramount at fifteen, she grew
up — and out of it.

Then she married James Kirkwood, disap-
peared from the screen, and finally, when he
went abroad, she managed to get by, doing
quickies here and there.

And now, suddenly, she's found the pot of
gold hidden in the microphone.

No big smash, you know — just a good actress
with a lovely mike voice. Maybe she'll never
be a star, but with what she's got, she'll
always be in the money.

And there's H. B. Warner. Of H. B., they
used to say;

"Oh, yes, he's the fellow that played Jesus
in that DeMille thing. What's he doing now?' '

The answer is that he's got a great talkie
voice and a First National contract.

Look at Louise Fazenda — good old Louise.
She was always a good actress. But Terrible

Online LibraryMoving Picture Exhibitors' AssociationPhotoplay (Volume 36 – 37 (Jul. - Dec. 1929)) → online text (page 136 of 145)