Moving Picture Exhibitors' Association.

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

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International Newsreel


Irving Berlin

He wrote the words and

music of "Coquette"

and "Marie"

L. Wolfe Gilbert

You sang his lyrics of

"Ramona" and "Lilac


Con Conrad

He collects royalties on

''Breakaway" and

"That's You, Baby"

Dave Dreyer

Think of him when you
dance to "Rainbow
'Round My Shoulder"

M/estward the Course

Why Mammy's Boys — the song-writers —
are shouting "California, Here I Come!"

THAI' liulc gray home in the West is no longer fur rent.
The bird who lirst glorified it from a piano on West
46th Street has moved in — with his iVIammy.

The home-cooked bacon, the sugared yams which
his Mammy was scheduled to turn out. are also in the picture.
Mammy, however, isn't doing the cooking, but daily you can
find those who write the nation's .songs gathered around tables
in Wilson jNlizner's Brown Derby, Henrx's, and Eddie Brand-
statter's Montmartre.

For ten years they've been singing the warning: " California
— Here I Come. "

They've come, — and how! That yearned-for Golden Gate
has sprung a hinge in opening wide to let 'em in. And they'll
ne\er ask for more.

It is now a question as to wliich has absorbed which. Is tlie
motion picture industry a subsidiary of the music publishing
business, — or have film producers gone into the of
making songs?

TO the song-writer
himself, the question
means nothing. All that
matters is that he has
never been so hapDy in
his life. Never before
were things as easy for a,
composer or lyricist as
the present. That goes,
financially, artistically
and comfortably.
Named in the order of
importance to the song-

During the so-called
"good old days," the
song-writer sweat ago-
nies before an idea came
for a song. There were
comparatively few pro-
duction writers who
were given situations on
which to build themes.

Henderson, Brown and DeSylva

The fathers of "Sonny Boy." It was first sung over a long
distance telephone from Atlantic City to Hollywood

After writing it, the trouble of getting the song marketed
began. If the composer or lyricist was under contract to a
music publisher, that difficulty was easily removed. Even
then, his work was just starting. A staff of "pluggers" were
assigned to get the song placed. This meant personal inter-
views with vaudeville actors, band leaders, radio entertainers,
cabaret performers and even circus troupers. The function of
the "plugger'' was to convince such persons of the tremendous
merits contained in the new song, in order to warrant their
learning it and placing it in their routines or repertoires.

INDI\ IDU.\LS in all branches of the amusement industry
were showered with courtesies by the representatives of the

publisher or by the song-writers. These attentions varied in

size, according to the artist's importance.

Many rated only a lunch. Others were given theater tickets,

or admissions to baseball or football games or fights. The very

highest of the high were "cut in." In this fashion many of

the better known orches-
tra leaders, black-face
come<lians, revue stars
and vaudeville headlin-
ers obtained a percent-
age of royalty on a song
featured by them. Such
methods were (and still
are) supposedly forbid-
den by members of the
Music Publishers Pro-
tective Association.

The taboo was (and
still is) overcome by the
simple expedient of nam-
ing the singer or musi-
cian as one of the song's

Some hits of the past
have had as many as eight
writers named responsi-
ble for a lyric or a

The more bands or


Louis Silvers

Mammy theme song

daddy. He wrote "Mother

I Still Have You"

Nacio Herb Brown

Not getting poor on

"The Wedding of the

Painted Doll"

Harry Akst

Who wrote the music of

"Am I Blue?" for

"On With the Show"

Fred Fischer

He contributed "Strike

Up the Band" to the

"Hollywood Revue"

of Tin- Pan Alley

By Jerry Hoffman

acts using a song, the better became its commercial value, for
it reached the ears of so many more music-buyers. If a song
was a "natural," the work was easier, for many performers
would voluntarily use it. .\ "natural" in songwriterese is a
number that clicks with the public the tirst time it is heard.
It doesn't require constant plugging, for its melody is whistled
and learned easily.

"Kreakawax, " "That's 'Sou, Baby'' and "Walking With
Susie" had sold over 100,000 copies and records. Had Con
Conrad, Archie Cottier and S> (Iney Mitchell written those
songs for a theatrical pnjduclion or just as popular numbers,
it woidd take the time for the show to play over the entire
country or the acts tising ihcm to appear in the same territories
to produce results probabl\- not as good.

AFTER he had his song with humlreds of acts, the song- nPIlH tirst song written for a motion picture, to be sung as
writer's worries were far from eniled. There was the job of i- part of the film's action, was " Mother 1 Still Have You, "


keeping that song in the routine or repertoire of the performer
as long as possible. Personal jealousies among actors or or-
chestra leaders; a sore throat or laryngitis suffered by a singer;
peeves at the song-writer or his lirm often residted in a song
being taken out of an act after one or two weeks.

There is a big difference in writing songs for motion pic-
tures. To a song-writer there is no greater comfort than the
knowledge that once a number is set in a movie — it sii.\ys in.

The song slays in. To a layman, the big thing in motion
picture exploitation of songs would
appear the increased financial re-
turns resulting from a greater
appeal. That is a minor considera-
tion to the professional writer. The
star who sang it originally may have
paralyzed vocal chords a week
later; the song-writer may say the
nastiest things about the star's
mother or wife. But regardless of
what happens; — once that picture
is released, the song is IN .


WITHIN a month of a film's re-
lease, the average motion pic-
ture .song with commercial possibil-
ities will sell from 100,000 to -SOO.OOO
copies, plus an equal number of
records. Formerly, the average
good number, with \-ery rare in-
stances, would be fortunate to sell
30,000 copies in three montlis.

For e.xample: Last June, the
"Fox Follies" opened in fifty -seven
cities over the entire country on
the same date. Within three weeks,

ECAUSE of the tremendous in-
terest of its readers in theme
songs of motion pictures, PHOTO-
PLAY will inaugurate a new service
department. Beginning in the Oc-
tober issue, PHOTOPLAY will review
phonograph and piano records of
the music used in screen produc-
tions, so that you may know where
to obtain recordings of your favorite

PHOTOPLAY is the first national
publication to give its readers a spe-
cialized music service, and its music
reviews will be up to the high stand-
ard maintained by its Shadow Stage.

in "The Jazz Singer." it was written by I^ouis Sihers and
Al Jolson, who sang it. Had the number or the picture been
released a vear later, its sheet music sale would have been
from .-SOO.OOO to .SOO.OOO copies instead of 30,000. The reason
for this small number of sales, even with JoLson singing it, was
the few theaters equipped for sound at the time of the picture's
release. Incidentally, Louis Silvers may be termed the advance
gtiard of the song-writers now llooding Hollywood. He was
the first to establish permanent residence in the hbn colony
under the new era. He came with
Jolson, with whom lie has been
associated for seventeen years in
the theater, conducting the orches-
tras for all Jolson shows.

However, the possibilities shown
Ijy "Mother I Still Have You"
caused motion picture producers
to realize that here was an element
worth considering. It was further
impressed a .\ear later when " Sonny
Boy" swept the country as one of
the greatest selling hits in the
histor>' of popular music.


SONNY BOY " ma3- or may nc
have been a "natural. " It wa
played and sung often enough dur-
ing the course of "The Singing
Fool" to stamp it indelibly on the
minds of its hearers. Incidentally,
the method of its creation is one of
those freak tales which eventually
will come to be regarded as a choice
bit of fiction. But it's true.



/TYAQY. WHITE, in a futuristic setting, is a girl followed by two
(^^/j^ shadows. One is a talkie shadow and the other is silent. First
National is surrounding Alice with plenty of singing and dancing
in her musical film, "Broadway Babies"






Meet Maurice Chevalier,

Unofficial Envoy

of France

By Dorothy Spensley

Put on your smoked glasses, for here is that mil-
lion dollar Maurice Chevalier smile, which made
that French singing comedian the Pet of Paris
and the Honey of Hollywood

MADAJME Chevalier walked across the room with
Adolphe tugging on leash.
M. Chevalier watched her retleclively.
Adolphe is as proud a wire-haired terrier as ever
thrust his nose aristocratically aloft, and has to be taken out
for air occasionally.

"Adolphe Menjou gives us Adolphe," Chevalier beams.
On the wall of the dressing room is a thumbtacked picture of
Charles Chaplin. "To Maurice from Charlie," it says, and
an autographed photograph of Jesse Lasky, to whom Chevalier
is contracted. Ou the desk are leather-framed pictures of
Mary and Douglas Fairbanks, Joan and Douglas, Jr., and a
small drawing of Madame Chevalier.

Over all, though, isjesse
Lasky. Some consider tnis
a mark of diplomacy. But
they do not know Cheva-
lier. It is a gesture of devo-
tion. It was Jesse Lasky
who discovered him and in
twenty-four hours signed
him to American pictures.
In France they call him
the Idol of Paris. In I
America they call him the
Idol of Seattle or Louis-
ville or Hoboken or Jersey

Monsieur and Madame
Chevalier in a pretty
domestic scene in their
Hollywood hut. The
beautiful dark eyed
missus is a prominent
French musical comedy
actress in her own right

City or wherever "Innocents of Paris," a really bad picture,
is playing. ■

The publicity department is responsible for that. Responsi-
ble for sending out copy that is easily transferable from theater
manager to small or large town paper.

IT is all very confusing, this thing of fame. It is all very
confusing, this thing that makes idols. That makes people
shriek and yell and scream and stamp when one slim man
with full lower lip and tight upper, with glistening teeth and
Hashing smile, with snapping fingers and syncopated limbs,
with a blue-eyed wink and brown hair, conies strutting out.
It is all very confusing until you meet Maurice Chevalier,

and then you understand
everything. You under-
stand personal magne-
tism, mob adoration,
gloves split from applause,
fan worship, the supreme
ability — the genius — that
lifted itself above a worth-
less first picture and made
him an ascending Ameri-
can idol.

You understand Cheva-
her as he sits groping for
modest words to explain
just how the French pub-
lic feels about him; just
how he cannot desert them
permanently for perhaps
greater glory on the
American screen.

His wish is to make
three pictures a year, one
in Hollywood, one in New



By Katherine Albert

BIG chance for eligible men in Hollywood! Come West,
young feller. Take the stars to parties. Be the Steady
Flame. Fill up their date books. Preside at their tea-

The picture gals are starved for romance.

Hollywood is a manless town.

Let's look the situation squarely in the face. Let's get out
the magnifying glass and the forceps. Lay the false moustache
and the poison bottle on the table there. Let me have a bit of
twine and an old skate strap. That will do very nicely, thank

Now, in the first place, where are all the men in Hollywood?

Yes, yes, I know, a lot of them are at .Eileen Pringle's,
playing dominoes. But they can't all get in her house, much as
they want to.

Where are the rest? They don't become hermits. They
don't commit suicide. They don't go in for arson and wake up
in jail.

Then why do"these picture gals lean wanly on their chins and
sigh for romance?

It's as easy to find a young man with enough money to spend
and an inclination to spend it as it is to discover a rich man who
WANTS to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

CERTAIN blades and ladies are coupled together like freight
cars, only more permanently. Certain names just go to-
gether. The Smith brothers, Joan and Doug, WeUs and Fargo,
Gary and Lupe, Trade and Mark, Sue and Nick, Bebe and Ben,
Hope and Charity, Jimmie and Myrna, Olive and George, ice
cream and cake, Charlie and Mrginia. You know what I mean.
However, this permanent mating doesn't help the love-lorn
gals of the village.

Let's consider the matter with due seriousness.

Here are the unattached young men: Matty Kemp, Buddy
Rogers, Nils Asther, Grant Withers, William Collier, Jr., Hugh
Trevor, Johnny Hines, Tom Tyler, Pat Rooney III, Ramon
Novarro, Billy Haines, Walter Byron, Hugh Allen, William
Bakewell, Larry Kent — I can't, for the life of me, think of

But the girls! Oi, here you have a list like a ship. Betty
Bronson, Josephine Dunn, Mary Brian, Alice and Marcehne
Day, June Collyer, Gwen Lee, Sally Eilers, Raquel Torres,

Anita Page, Lois Moran, Barbara Kent, Alberta Vaughn, Lois
Wilson, Mary McAllister, Loretta and Polly -.Ann Young,
Helene Costello, Renee Adoree, Sharon Lynn, AUce White and
more — oh, countless thousands more!

These gals appear at an occasional first night, at the local ice
cream parlor, at the important party with one man or another.
Maybe an affair is rumored and then it's flat as a pancake.

NOR are all the young men I've named eligible, in the strict
sense of the word. Nils Asther, as melancholy as a Swedish
herring and about as animated as the Rock of Gibraltar, has no
use for the average woman. He is not one to flit (fancy Nils
flitting) from flower to flower, as we of the old school laughingly

Johnny Hines, Pat Rooney III, Billy Haines and BiUy Bake-
well are a trifle too smart cracking for the languorous ladies of
filmdom who crave romance in a large way. Fun is fun, but
it's better in vaudeville than under a California moon.

Hugh Trevor, having paid court at the mansion of La Belle
Pringle, finds that other women pale in comparison. The re-
markable Aileen graces a Tia Juana bar or a theosophical
institute with equal gusto. It rather takes the edge off.

Novarro can't be pried away from his little theater, his music
and his Europe. Walter Byron is so English that the girls
don't know if he's asking them over to tea or if he's just asking
them o\'er.

You don't see very much of Hugh AUen, Tom Tyler, Larry
Kent and Buster Collier these days. So that leaves, of all that
formidable group, only Matt)' Kemp, Buddy Rogers, Grant

Matty was once engaged to Sally Eilers. It was the first love
for both. Then Sally broke her engagement and allowed the
third finger of her left hand to be encircled by a ring that
WilHam Hawks bought. But now.sotheysay, the ring is about to
find a good home with Marceline Day. It hasn't happened yet.
In the meantime, Sally is occasionaUj' seen with Matt}'. But
Matty beaus 'em all around.

Grant Withers came to Hollywood as a hero of the Pueblo
flood. A hero is a hero whether he did anything or not. Grant's

Wanted: Single Men with New York Man-


A Man I ess To


Illustration by


specialty seems to be those girl friends who look abstracted if
any event prior to 1907 is mentioned.

Buddy is a gay blade. He's been reported engaged to Claire
\\'indsor, Mar\' Brian, June Collyer — but it doesn't seem to
stop his solitary cornet lessons.

Now you might include Harry Crocker, except that he's too
busy being gag man for Marion Davies' parties. So there you
are. Don't come to Hollywood, girls, looking for a man. Get
'em and bring 'em if you're determined to come to the colony.

This problem is more acute than what to do with a bum
lar3-n.x that won't say "mammy" when it sees a microphone.

You might think that the situation doesn't exist. You might
accuse me of making this up just to amuse myself. I assure you
that it doesn't amuse me. Haven't I heard Josephine Dunn cry
to the heavens for a steady flame? And Gwen Lee moan at the
sad fate that leaves her as boyfriendless as a slice of cinnamon
toast? Renee Adoree has a yen to find some nice bozo to take
her places and do things for her.

BUT where are the men to be found? In the first place, there
are more women than men. More girls think they have a
chance in Hollywood than boys. And, in the second place, the
men who are in Hollywood are surfeited with beauty. No-
where in the world are there so many eligible, attractive, well
dressed, smiling young women. Beauty is as dull as sin.

Everj'where you look you see gorgeous blonde heads. Deep
black eyes. Velvet skins. Alabaster shoulders. By all the
gods, Laura Jean Libby in a former incarnation visited Holly-
wood and found her adjectives. Thus the men become in-
different, selfish. They go ham actor.

Picture, if you can, the typical Hollywood man. He sits upon
a large throne of his own making. It is gilded with his own
imagination. He is as supercilious as a hotel clerk. And his
attitude is that of "Why shouldn't these dames pay for their
own meals? I'm taking 'em out. They've got a chance to look
at me through seven courses." He walks the boulevards and
accepts, as his just due, the adoring glances cast his way.
Hasn't he a perfect profile?

Isn't that enough to satisfy the most exacting damsel?

And the actresses have a fine contempt for their fellow
actors. Deep, deep in their hearts they hate them. Yet they can't
lower themselves by appearing socially with any lesser lights.

Now, here's where the visitor w'ithin the gates comes in.
There's nothing romantic about being kissed by a man who has
just kissed you all day in front of a camera.

The girls meet the Eastern trains like flappers meet fleets.
They're looking for any young man with a million dollars. Or
any young man on expense account. Or any young man
with a nice manner. Or just any young man.

THERE are now in Hollywood four foreign gentlemen, known
as the four Spanish boys. One of them, it seems, is a big
beet sugar daddy. Literally. He owns sugar, lots of it, in Cuba.
The rest of them are equally well sugared. Nobody knows
exactly what they want of the film colony. But they entertain
the picture gals.

They arrive in great style at Montmartre. There is a
general air of sprucing up. Thousands of powder puffs scamper
across thousands of noses. And the girls, loitering over their
coffee, hoping that something will happen, say in very much the
musical comedy manner, "The Spaniards, the Spaniards," and
they almost add the accepted tra-la.

The big butter and egger, Townsend Netcher, cut a swath for
quite a while in Hollywood until Constance Talmadge decided
that he was no good running around loose and attached him.
They are married now.

A CERTAIN personable young man from New York came to
Hollywood to represent a well known advertising company.
His e.xpense account was unlimited. Word of this spread among
the gals. He has more dates than he can keep, because he has
New York manners.

The picture men, bored with beauty, as I've said, forget
those little details which Elinor Glyn says every woman loves.
They forget to send flowers, to provide cigarettes, to order a
meal properly. And that's where the out-of-towner excels.

But the out-of-towner goes away eventually, leaving the
situation exactly as it was. And Hollywood remains a manless

But there is a nice code of ethics among the girls. Knowing
how hard they are to get, the [ please turn to page 108 ]

ners by Lonely Stars — A^^ Actors Need Apply


Herb's Three Paying Guests

Rex Ingram — "A fine artist and

a striking individual. There

was no need to fictionize. The

copy just rolled off"

Mabel Normand — "I never

dared write the truth about

Mabel because it would only

be credible in fiction"

Ramon Novarro — "Ramon is

the only friend I've ever had

who could sing while he shaves

but doesn't"

Confessions of a Press Agent

Herbert Howe

An old offender reforms and sends

a message of honesty to other

young men

Now that stars are boisterously confessing their loves
and lives like sinners getting religion from Aimee,
I feel their press agents should go do likewise. . . .
It's the only job left them.

.•\s an old offender who has reformed (Hallelujah!) let me
be Horrible Ex,ample A and lead the sinners to the platform
with howls of conscience.

I glowed to the compliment of Fannie Hurst when she said
she thought it took more imagination to build a stellar charac-
ter around some wop waiter than to write liction such as hers.

It pains my vanity to confess the truth: Believe me, Fannie,
if press agents had the imagination you imagine there would
be such an over-supply of literature that Mr. Hoover would
have to devise an .Authors' Relief Bill.

Recently in Photoplay I referred to an old friend whom
I used to hear sing while he shaved, with the only tributes
being raps on the wall of the adjoining apartment: imagine
my surprise to hear him tweet from the screen a veritable

Imagine more my surprise at a downpour of letters asking
if Ramon Novarro really had a double for his voice in " The
Pagan, " the assumption being, I suppose, that I never had
another friend. The truth is Ramon is the only friend I've
ever had who could sing while he shaves but doesn't.

He prefers Parsifal to the Barber of Seville.

.As one whose faith was equal to tasting bootleg licker before
jMr. Hoover made it unfashionable, I would suppose that in
view of all the stories printed of Ramon's talent he would be

above suspicion. But the public seems to feel that all stories
about stars come from publicity men and that all publicity
men are imaginative geniuses.

Anyhow, Ramon did and does sing "The Pagan Love Song"
and doubtless could make a lot of money on the side doubling
for his colleagues who would be mocking birds.

I DID publicity for the Rex Ingram company in .\frica for
" The -Arab. " On the boat on the way home Rex got woefully
conscientious (his stomach hurt him), and remarked that he
was beginning to believe his own press agent and that that
was fatal.

It was complimentary to my genius, but I never wrote any-
thing about Rex that I didn't believe, and a saner man than
he would have resented some of it. .\ fine artist, a striking
individual, there was no need to fictionize. The copy just
rolled off. .\nd if there is anything I appreciate it is rolling
copy; with most subjects I find it jelling.

Of the dozen stars I've done publicity for in the past not
one ever wanted gilding. They all thought they were swell
just as they were.

We know that honesty pays, for George Washington was
elected because he told his father he hewed the cherry tree.
(Incidentally, it was not his press agent's yarn but his own
confession, hence not to be trusted implicitly).

I wrote so much about Pola Negri that I was suspected of
being her press agent. .\h. cynic world, that believes no
longer in chivalry ! One lady did [please tur.x to page 133]

About the inspiring and lucrative art of in-
terpreting a star to the press ,

SH^^P John McGormack

Select His Movietone


Vote for your ten

favorites on the

ballot below

WHAT songs do you want to hear
John McCormack sing in his Fox
Movietone production?

That is a question uppermost in the minds
of Fox Films executives. The beloved Irish
tenor has become so thoroughly established
as an American institution that all music
lovers are familiar with his repertoire.

]McCormack will sing ten songs in the
Movietone production about to begin shoot-
ing and microphoning in Ireland, with Frank
Borzage directing.

In the ballot below, you will find a list of
McCorniack's best loved songs. Check your
ten favorites. In the blank spaces you may
write in any of McCormack's songs which
may have been omitted from the list.

Mail your ballot to John McCormack
Picture Director, Fox Studio, Los Angeles,

John McCormack

To John McCormack Picture Director

Fox Studio

Los Angeles, Calif.

1 suggest that John McCormack sing the ten songs designated:

Online LibraryMoving Picture Exhibitors' AssociationPhotoplay (Volume 36 – 37 (Jul. - Dec. 1929)) → online text (page 53 of 145)