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''Y on something which felt like a smile but
her lips were stiff and she hurried away before
he could see the tears which she was fighting to
keep back.

There is a saying in Hollywood that you
must never upstage an office boy. He may be
tomorrow's producer. Lorna thought of that
now as she dro\'e away from the studio. Little
had she dreamed when she had broken her
engagement u-ith Jerry that she would one day
be begging for the chance to play opposite
him. Now, even greater than her desire to
win back her lost position in the picture world,
was the desire to ivin Jerry back. She simply
had to play Lady Blackbird. Intuition told
her that once Jerry held her in hi? arms, even
though a camera were grinding the scene, his
old love for her would be reawakened. She
had muffed her inter\-iew with Thornburg.
She should never ha\e argued with him. She
well knew Thornburg's weakness. Beneath
his hard-boiled exterior he was sentimental.
She should ha\-e pleaded with him, cried, as
only she could cry. She would call him up as
soon as she got home and try to make another
appointment.

Then, as the car halted in traffic, and Lorna's
eyes rested for a moment on a costumer's win-
dow, an even better idea came to her, an idea
so daring that it sent a flood of color rushing
to her pale cheeks. She signaled the chauffeur
to pull up at the curb. Impulsively she stepped
out of the car and disappeared within the cos-
tumer's shop.

n
"DERNARD THORNBURG'S house was on
•'-'an isolated stretch of rock beach, a forty-
five minute dri\-e from Hollyvvood. It was
sometliing of a show place though few knew
of it. He had purchased enough of the coast
line to insure privacy and in addition he had
built a stone wall which protected the house
from the view of the passerby. On the other
side of the house, rough steps, car\ed out of
rock, led down to the sea. "A nice secluded
spot for a murder," his friends often kidded
him.

Dinner was over. Thornburg, Jack Fo.\,
the director, Casey Gait, the scenario writer,
and Jerry Conway had gone into the miniature
theater which formed one wing of the house.
This Httle theater would seat about fifty guests
and here Thornburg often staged pri\ ate pre-
views.

It was lu.\uriously appointed and he had
recently installed sound apparatus for repro-
duction of the record t>pe of "talkies."

Here many a story had been finally whipped
into shape and here the group had been dis-
cussing the forthcoming production of "Lady
Blackbird."

Casey Gait had just finished outlining his
"treatment" of the story.

"Sounds good, Casey," Thornburg stroked
is chin, "all e.xxept the ending. We've got
o figure on something different for the fade-
ut."

But that's the artistic ending," insisted
Casey. "Anything else would be just hokum."

"AH right, then. Give us hokum. We're in
this business to make money." Thornburg
turned toward the projection booth. "Are
you ready, Eddie?"

"O.K., Mr. Thornburg," the operator called
back.

"I got a print of The Tiger Lily so we can
take a look at this girl Chiquita," Thornburg
turned back to the others. "She's my idea of



I he Blackbird all right. What do you think of
her. Jack?"

The director grinned. "Those black eyes
of hers certainly pack an awful wallop, if you
ask me."

"Say, I heard a good one about her the
other day." Casey Gait broke in with the
latest bit of gossip concerning the newly im-
ported Spanish star.

"They say she's TNT to handle," com-
mented the director. "Have you signed her
up yet?"

"Not yet. I want to see how she looks on
the screen first. All right, Eddie," he signaled
to the operator. "Let's go."

Somebody switched off the lights and the
room was in darkness e.\xept for the charred
ends of four cigarettes and the single beam of
light which reached from the projection booth
to the screen.

They were so engrossed in the film that no-
body heard the side door open a few inches.
Nobody saw the figure which slipped through
the opening and stood for a moment with back
close against the wall.

The black-eyed Chiquita had just flashed
across the screen ivhen a woman's \'oice, but
certainly not Chiquita 's, sounded above the
whir of the projection machine.

"Put 'em up!"

HTHE three men seated on the couch jumped
•'■ up simultaneously. Only Jerry Conway
who had taken a seat at the side of the room re-
mained quiet, quickly grinding his cigarette
under his heeL

"Lights!" shouted Thornburg.

"Keep your lights doused," ordered the
voice, "and your hands up."

Three pairs of hands went up automatically.
Through the milky light from the projection
machine their startled owners could make out
a masked figure in riding breeches and boots
with something ver>' much like a pair of sawed-
off shotguns pointed ominously toward them.

"What-the-hell?" stuttered Thornberg.

"Can the talk! I'm off a rum boat — see.
Revenue cutter's been chasing us. We give 'em
the slip just now and we're dumping our stuff
in your cellar."

"My God, you can't do that," broke in
Thornburg.

"Can't, eh? Try and stop us. And so you
guys won't do any talkin',we're gonna take you
for a ride. Keep lliosc damned hands up, I
said." Casey Gait's hands had dropped at the
announcement of the proposed "ride."

"Get through this door," ordered the voice.
"And no funny business. I got men outside —
and they shoot straight."

The three men who had produced one of the
screen's outstanding melodramas found them-
selves behaving exactly as their fictitious char-
acters might have done. With hands up, they
started for the door.

TERRY CONWAY, howe\er, seated in the
J dark corner, apparently unseen by the in-
truder, had been doing some quick thinking.
It struck him that there ^vas something phoney
about the way those guns were being held. He
had played in enough Westerns to know a few
gun tricks himself. He measured the distance
between where he sat and the door. Then his
long, hthe body shot across the floor and with
an e.xpertly aimed kick he sent one of the guns
flying. He was prepared to have her whirl on
him %\ith the other. Instead, she screamed.
Before he could grab her, she had dropped to
the floor.

"Quick, somebody — lights," Jerry whis-
pered hoarsely.

"My God, you've killed her!" Thornburg
was excitedly fumbling for the light switch.

But the lady had only fainted. And when
Jerry had jerked off her slouch hat and mask it
looked for a moment as though the men were
going to faint too, for there on the floor lay the
limp figure of Supreme's Old-Fashioned Girl.

" WeU, for crjin' out loud," gasped Jack Fox,
the director, as he flopped into the nearest
chair and began to wipe his forehead.



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Thornburg was too dazed to even speak.

Jerry lifted her in his arms and placed her on
the couch. Slowly she opened her eyes.

"Do I get the part, Bernie?" she asked
weakly.

"What part?" Thornburg finally found his
voice.

"Lady Blackbird."

Then Thornburg exploded. "Hell, no!" he
shouted. "Say, I ought to bar you ofT the lot
for pulling a damned fool stunt like that — "

"But you said the girl had to have nerve — "

"And you didn't have it, did you?" he flung
back at her. "When it came to a showdown,
you flopped — ' '

Lorna's lower lip trembled and her eyes
filled v^th tears. As naturally as if she still
belonged there, Jerry Conway took her in his
arms.

"Lorna, you darling little idiot, what if those
guns had gone off."

"They — weren't loaded," she managed to
speak through her tears.

"Weren't loaded?" broke in Casey Gait who
was close enough to catch what she said. Then
suddenly he clapped Thornburg on the
shoulder.

"I've got it, Bernie!" he exclaimed ex-
citedly. "Here's the end of our story." He
gestured toward Lorna and Jerry.



" I don't get you," grunted Thornburg.

"We'll play our heroine s>Tnpathetic — see,"
explained Casey. "She's in love with Jerrv
but he's on the make for another dame —
Chiquita, we'U say. The heroine, who is just
an old-fashioned girl, reads this book — see —
and in desperation she decides to impersonate
the Blackliird and kidnap her man. Swell
hokum and the audience won't know until
Jerry jerks off the mask that it's really the old-
fashioned girl."

Thornburg shrugged; "Then we might as
well throw the book out of the window."

"Why not? You've still got the title!"

But neither Jerry nor Lorna had heard the
new version of the story.

"It's wonderful — holding you close to me
again like this," Jerry was whispering. "Every
love scene I've played I've closed my eyes and
imagined you were the girl."

"And every love scene I've played I've
'd'hhcd you were the man — "

Quite oblivious to his audience, his lips
crushed against hers in one of those long kisses
which every Jerry Conway fan knows.

For a moment the others were quiet. Then
from Casey Gait: "And there, gentlemen, is
the fadeout for the picture," he pointed to
Lorna and Jerry who had suddenly become
aware that they were being watched.



127




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Monahan the Menace



[ CONTINUED FROM PAGE 67 ]



ing rather sportive, a condition that remained
until five minutes before the Twihght Limited
pulled out for Chicago on the following after-
noon. An apparently chastened Sadie, on parole
from the laundry, pounced upon him from the
shadow of a pillar, and they enacted one of
those stilted railroad station farewells in which
two unimportant people are quite sure that the
whole world is eavesdropping.

Miss Allen allotted him several refined kisses,
carefully closing her eyes each time in an en-
deavor to conjure up the coveted Carlos, while
the unknowing Tug grinned his satisfaction.
Then, disinterring a square of cardboard from
a capacious pocket, he handed it to her.

"TTHIS'LL help you to remember you belong

■*- to a he-man," he announced. "Take a
look at that left hand, baby, it can do a lot
more than answer mash notes."

Miss Allen gazed ruefully upon an 8 x 12
gloss print of a partly nude savage posed strain-
edly in a belligerent attitude and managing to
look uncommonly like a two hundred pound
simian. And as she examined the lumpy Her-
cules, stray admonitions from the morning
paper's love lore seeped through her brain. One
of them, "Never let him get too sure of you,"
sounded quite plausible, and so she trusted a
nebulous adviser instead of her own heart.

"It looks sort of coarse," she murmured,
"but maybe I'll keep it out of sight under my
pillow."

"That's talkin'," said Tug, mounting to the
observation platform, only to halt with one
leg dangling over the rail. "But say, wait a
minute. Not alongside that sap Carlos. You'd
better burn them letters, hey, Sadie?"

Miss Allen cast a wary eye up the platform
and saw the conductor signal. " Burn nothing,"
she said coolly. "Of course, I could find room
on my dresser for this chromo, providing I
moved one of the six I have of Carlos to a nice
frame on the wall. Thanks for the idea."

"What's the idea of the sudden switch?"
bleated the pugilist. "You were callin' me
honey a minute ago."

"It means that Carlos is still the best man,"
advised Sadie. "Imagine this shopworn face
of yours compared with his. Ugh!"

"I'll kill that sissy!" howled Tug, as the
train began to move. ".-Ml right, you tsvo-
timer, go on back and sharpen collars if you
don't want to marry the next champ."

"You couldn't swing a towel for a real fight-
er," shrilled the girl, "and here's what you get
for insulting a lady." Her capable hands
ripped the offending photograph into shreds and
scattered them over the track while the hea\-y-
weight stared bovinely. "So long, stupid,"
tinkled Sadie, blowing a sarcastic kiss, as the
worried warrior, brandishing his huge fists in
impotent rage, was borne swiftly into the dusk
registering a most excellent quality of bestial
hate.



rjOUR days later, ;
•'- San Francisco alo



Mr. Jlonahan drifted into
long with the morning mist
and, after considerable bragging to cynical
sports editors, he proceeded to create ha\'oc
amongst the pugilistic flotsam that adorned the
preliminaries. After half paralyzing his oppo-
nents with a series of hideous expressions, he
finished the aflfairs with' a tlurry of gore-produc-
ing wallops but there was nothing personal in
the execution.

Like all crusaders his eyes were fixed on a
sublime goal, and every hook, jab and upper-
cut landed theoretically on the debonair Carlos.
His plans were simple. After accumulating a
stake he would invade Hollywood, ambush his
rival, return to Detroit fortified with press
clippings and a bankroll, and drag the wilful
Sadie to the altar.

At the end of his sixth battle Tug found him-



self with a popularity caused more by his bat-
tered countenance than his microscopic ability,
a libelous cartoon in the Chronicle and an offer
from a Los .Angeles promoter to show his wares
at the Hollywood Stadium.

Pushing o\-er a home guard at Fresno on the
way south, the elated Mr. Monahan, feeling
the day of vengeance drawing closer, pranced
out before a scintillating audience in the screen
colony and tangled briefly with an ungainly
Mexican. The spirit of Carlos seemed to hover
tormentingly around the swarthy one, so Tug
glared him into a state of catalepsy and ad-
ministered the knockout after two rounds of
cruelly slow punishment.

Then, lurching through the crowd to an ac-
companiment of ribald remarks anent his
appearance, he retired to the dressing room and
stretched himself luxuriously on a rubbing slab.
Tomorrow, he decided, he'd find out where
Carlos lived and —

"ILTF.Y, boxfighter," piped a voice from the
-'• -^doorway.

Mr. Monahan rolled over and surveyed a
roly-poly little man with eyes like shoe buttons.
Beside him stood a dark, good looking youth
carelessly dressed in flannel trousers and an
orange slipover.

"A face you've got!" said the little man ad-
miringly, edging closer. " Maybe you'd like to
cash in on it, yes?"

"If you're a manager, beat it," grunted Tug.
"I don't make enough jack to cut ^vith any
camp stool colonels."

"Listen, ugly," said the dark youth in a
melodious baritone, "this is INIr. Abraham
Zoop, president of Stupefaction Pictures, and
he's getting ready to offer you a job in the
mo\ies. I'iap your ears if you know what's
good for you.''

"That's right," nodded Mr. Zoop. "New
faces I'm always lookink for and anyone with a
mush like yours would make a niftick menace."

Tug scratched his head and did some heavy
thinking. "Yeah?" he inquired suspiciously.
"■VX'hat is it?"

"A guy who preys upon purity," Mr. Zoop
informed him. " Xot that you ever catch up to
it, y'understand, thanks to Will Hays and the
Quebec censors, but ain't it a swell occupation?
"You insult the gal for five reels and take a slam
in the jaw for the blowoff."

" Real highbrow stuff, ' ' put in the other man.
"You'll be as full of frustration as a Greenwich
Village playlet."

"Too much language," husked the mystified
Tug. "All I got was somethin' about a rap in
the jaw."

"It ain't real," beamed Mr. Zoop, "and
think of gettink paid for chasink Rosie Red-
path — is that obnoxious? Look, I'm laughink!
Anyhow, Carlos wouldn't hurt you."

Mr. Monahan leaped from the slab and
draped himself sketchily with a ragged towel.
"Who," he bellowed.

"This sheiker right with me," announced the
president. "Carlos Cabrillo, himself."

"TLJE socks mc," inquired the raging prize-
-'-^fighter. "Not if I'm sensible, he don't."

"W'hy not?" countered Abie. "A couple
dozen wouldn't make a dent in that schnozzle
you got."

The unheeding Mr. Monahan was busily
scrutinizing the rakish youth. "Just a second,''
he said abruptly. "This fellow isn't Carlos.
Where's his dress suit? Where's his sideburns?
Go on, he's no Spaniard; he talks like he comes
from Brooklyn."

"You big stumblebum!" shouted Mr. Cab-
rillo, his vanity severely stung. "Brooklyn
your eye. I'm from the Bronx and no Detroit
gaseater gets gay with me. If you're mixing
the real me up with those passionate pictures of



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i



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129



mine, you'd better change your act. I'm only
the Cordovan Kid from eight to five."

Tug stared incredulously. Was this the de-
luded Sadie's velvety idol? Impossible — yet
as he stared Carlos unconsciously fell into a
theatrical posture and turned the famous profile
to the light. Mr. Monahan's righteous anger
flared anew but freshly born brain waves con-
cerning a humiliating revenge kept him silent,
and he merely wrinkled his countenance under
the stress of unaccustomed thought.

"You feel dizzle?" asked the solicitous Mr.
Zoop, not recognizing the symptoms.

"Somethin' just came tome," said Mr. Mon-
ahan in the manner of an artist who has de-
cided to paint a square egg. "What's the wages
for this racket?"

"Three hundred a week," promised Abie,
"and a contract stuck full of whereases. More
money if you have to talk, but at first we'll get
plenty footage with that hairy ape front of
yours. Where do you live? I'll send an auto-
mobile to bring you over to Culver City in the
morning."

Tug gave him the information and headed
for a shower as the picture men withdrew. The
lances of icy water stimulated him to flights of
fancy and soon he was grinning at the forth-
coming slaughter of Mr. Cabrillo. "Bang —
smack in the bugle!" he chanted. "Zip — off
goes an eyebrow! Slam — a little more red on
them ruby lips!" and in the midst of his shad-
ow bo-ving iSIr. Monahan stepped upon the
soap, gyrated wildly for an instant and then
crashed profanely to the unresponsive tiles.

ILJIS entry into the picture industry caused a
-'- -'■ripple of curiosity among the blascj toilers
at the Stupefaction Studios and it became part
of the day's routine to inspect Tug's murderous
features. Women stared timidly, the pretty men
with thankfulness and the less fortunate men-
aces regarded him enviously. No makeup was
allowed to conceal the Monahan countenance;
only a slight coating of vaseline brought out
the highlights like the seams and ridges on a
topographical map, and even this slippery sub-
stance was transformed into "leopard oil" by
the publicity department.

After a few days of practice he was added to
the cast of "Docks and Derelicts" and put in a
pleasant time leering through trap doors at
Rosie Redpath garbed in negligible trifles, or
scuffling with her in dimly lit alleys. The flam-
boyant Rosie, diffusing the fragrance of Parma
violets, seemed, to Tug's bleary vision, an un-
suitable type for a waterfront denizen, but he
pursued her with all the dishonorable intentions
ordered by the director.

Next morning saw the dawn of the day of ret-
ribution. Announcement was made that fight
scenes would be filmed, and as the plot re-
quired a wharf for the locale, the cast motored



down to San Pedro where one had been rented
from a steamship company. Tug, with the un-
canny attraction of the criminal for his victim,
clambered in beside the shiny Carlos and, dis-
sembling as much as possible, launched into
speech.

"A handsome guy like you must get a flock
of mash notes," he fished.

"Nine hundred a week." said the star.

"Tangled up with any dames? "

"Three, and they certainly keep me busy."

■X/TR. MONAHAN burned with silent fury.
•'■ '■'-.Vnd this was the bird who had the inside
track with feminine hearts!

"Look here, big fellow," said Carlos, watch-
ing him closely. "You don't seem to like me.
What's the trouble? I get on first rate with
everybody else." Tug grew slightly purple as
he nursed his wrongs. " Or perhaps you're try-
ing to keep in character so as to give a good
performance. If that's it, good luck to you."

Mr. Monahan mumbled indistinctly and
maintained a murky silence for the rest of the
trip. They reached the wharf to find the cam-
eras ready for them, and under the prodding of
an assistant director Tug changed into greasy
overalls and armed himself with a dangerous
looking wrench made of balsa wood. Carlos,
already dressed in a first mate's uniform, fresh-



Online LibraryMoving Picture Exhibitors' AssociationPhotoplay (Volume 36 – 37 (Jul. - Dec. 1929)) → online text (page 44 of 145)