Moving Picture Exhibitors' Association.

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

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village over the fact that Mr. Beery had taken
the matter to court. .After all, it was argued
in various quarters, Mr. Young wasn't such
a bad sort of a fellow and the fact that he had
trimmed Mr. Beery, an actor, out of a few
hundred dollars was no reason for telling the
cops about it. Since when had it become
illegal to rob an actor?

A dishonest business manager, if given suffi-
cient leeway, can reduce his client to a state
of abject poverty. He can, for instance, advise
the purchase of worthless securities — and split
the commission with the salesman from whom
they are purchased. He can put through
padded expense accounts. He can make per-
sonal purchases on his client's charge accounts,
providing the latter doesn't scrutinize the bills
loo closely. If he has the privilege of signing
(hecks he can get away with almost anything.


Strangely enough, a surprising number of
picture people have entrusted the handling of
their personal affairs to irresponsible young
men and women who have promptly proceeded
to separate them from enormous quantities
of loose change.

AT the present moment Hollywood and its
en\irons are suffering from an acute attack
of too many and much too smart income tax
experts. Income tax e.xperting may not be a
racket but, judging from the wails of anguish
of the maimed and mangled, it has turned out
to be, in several instances, anything but a
legitimate business.

In common with a hundred million other
.Wericans, picture stars have never been able
to make head or tail out of the federal income
lax. Their problem has been more puzzHng
than average because their incomes are large
and their exemptions comparativclj' small.

No, little fanlets, the pretty lady
is not losing her skirt. Nor is she
bowlegged. She is Corinne
Griffith, just back from Europe,
and she likes her skirt that way.
Other features of her Paris cos-
tume are the tuck-in blouse
and slightly cutaway jacket

Eight or nine years ago several ambitious
young men and women undertook to solve
the problem for all concerned. They set them-
selves up as experts in the matter of making
out returns for screen artists. They were cork-
ing salesmen for themselves and in no time
at all an imposing' list of celebrities had siir-
rendered their tax headaches to the care of
these specialists.

The immediate results were gratifying. The
experts charged plenty for their work, but
look at the money they saved you! It was
worth it. The experts got bigger and better
clients. The rescued ones told their friends,
who gathered up their checkstubs and climbed
aboard the bandwagon. Thanks to these fi-
nancial geniuses, federal income tax had ceased
to be either an expense or a problem. It was
just like a dream — but —

/''^.MME dawn — and the awakening. .\11 the
'^^hcadaches that had been handed over to the
experts came boomeranging back — with inter-
est at six per cent and appropriate penalties
for fraud. It was a great big morning after.
A whole trainload of steely-eyed young men
came from Washington to Hollywood to see
the picture stars — and their books of account.
There were investigations, demands for tax —
back tax — hundreds of thousands of dollars'
worth of it. Two of the most popular experts
were indicted by the federal grand jury on
charges of conspiracy to defraud the govern-
ment. Dozens of the most prominent people
in pictures rushed into panicky huddles with
their attorneys. Many of them were called
before the federal grand jury. Some of them
were permitted to revise their tax returns and
pay large gobs of additional tax. By and
large, a good time was had by all.

ilaybe the whole bu.siness was only a care-
less mistake, but it seems more likely that
the income tax experting business was a great
racket while it lasted. .\11 of which, I hasten
to state, doesn't mean that there are no e.x-
cellent tax men in the village. The government
didn't indict all of them.

■\^RS. JOHN JONES, whose husband is an
■^ '■'•honest plumber — let's not start that argu-
ment about there being no honest plumbers —
has a toothache. She goes to a dentist. He
inspects the ailing molar or bicuspid, as the
case may be, and sends her over to Dr. Forceps
to have it yanked out. His charge for ihis-
inspection and advice is perhaps three dollars — ■
not more than five at the most. Dr. Forceps
turns on the gas, jerks the tooth and submits
a bill for five dollars.

(Uadys Fitzfancy, queen of the box office
bets, has a toothache. She goes to the same
dentist. He looks her over and fusses around
— maybe he tells her to come back tomorrow.
Eventually he sends her over to Dr. Forceps
to have it extracted. F'or this sage advice he
bills her for a hitndred dollars — or more. Dr.
Forceps, after a great fanfare and tooting of
trumpets, finally accomplishes the astonishing
dental feat of removing the offending tooth
from the lady's jawbone. A few days later
Miss Fitzfancy receives a bill for two hundred
and fifty dollars — no discount for cash.

I'm quite sure all the Hollywood dentists
don't use the same system of cost accounting,
but I'm equally sure that some of them make
a practice of charging film stars exorbitant
fees for their ser\ices.


Well, a certain young gentleman not long
ago received a bill of 810,000 for the removal
of his appendix. Wealthy as he unquestion-
ably is and accustomed to having the harpoons
thrown into him from many directions, he



Westward the Course of Tin-Pan Alley


Ir\'ing Berlin, whose music business hadn't
been any too good in recent years, found new
Ufe for it via the motion picture field. Orig-
inally he was intended to ^^Tite the score for
''The Singing Fool." It was almost a year
between the time that plan was made until
the film went into production. Meanwhile,
Berlin tied up with United Artists, but had
written one number for the new Jolson picture.
Al wanted one to sing to Davey Lee. Berlin's
melody was pleasant enough, but the idea
didn't quite suit Jolson's needs.

A LONG distance call from Hollywood,
■'*• Jolson speaking, to De Sylva, Brown and
Henderson in New York revealed that those
three publisher-writers were in Atlantic City,
preparing a show.
Jolson explained his
wants to Bobby Craw-
ford, general manager
for D. B. & H. Craw-
ford told Jolson he'd
call him back.

Again via telephone,
Crawford relayed Jol-
son's wants to De
Sylva, Brown and
Henderson in Atlantic
City. Four hours after
the Mammy-glorifier
had put in his first call,
his 'phone in Holly-
wood rang. (Ser\'ice
was awfully good that
day.) It was De Sylva,
Brown and Henderson,
in Atlantic City.

Buddy De Sylva
sang the lyric and mel-
ody of "Sonny Boy"
over the wire.

"Great," yelled Al.
"Send me a lead-sheet
and lyrics by air-mail! "

By July, " Sonny
Boy " had sold one and
a quarter milUon cop-
ies of sheet music. Two
million records had
been disposed of — for

A music publisher's
gross return on a copy
of music is twenty
cents. From this are
subtracted royalties
and all other e.xpenses.
The writer's royalty on
sheet music ranges

from three to sLx cents on a copy. The pub-
lisher gets two cents on every record sold. Two-
thirds of that he keeps, the other third goes
to the imters. De Syh'a, Brown and Hender-
son were both writers and publishers of " Sonny
Boy." Al Jolson added to the IjTics, made
some changes and collected one-fourth of writ-
ers' royalty. Try that on your comptometer.

TS it any wonder then, that motion picture
•^producers began to look upon the music pub-
lishing business as more than an incidental?
Warner Brothers received nothing of the mon-
ies made by "Sonny Boy" the song. Having
sponsored the industry's best-seller, they de-
cided not to overlook any future possibilities
and made the most expensive gesture of all
producers. This was the purchase, lock, stock
and barrel of Witmarks, Inc., one of the oldest
music publishing firms in existence. That
firm's catalogue of past hits and classics alone
brings a revenue of several hundred thousand
yearly to the firm. The deal involved over
five million dollars for Warners, but all future
song profits will go to them.


Since then, almost all the major producers
have either merged or made working agree-
ments ^\'ith various publishers. De Sylva,
Brown and Henderson supply the writers and
own all copyrights to songs used in pictures
made by William Fox. Metro-Goldwyn-
Mayer and the Jack Robbins Music Company
have a similar agreement.

Paramount has made an exceptionally wide
arrangement. It formed the Famous Music
Company as a subsidiary of the established
firm of T. B. Harms, Inc., and its allied group.
Old firms such as Remick's, and Chappell-
Harms, which is responsible for the Harms'
music popularity in England and Europe, are
included. There is the younger concern of
Spier and Coslnw in the deal. This arrange-

During a round-up scene for "The Virginian" Director Victor
Fleming found it necessary to disguise camera and microphone as
clumps of brush to avoid frightening the cattle. In the above
picture you see how 'twas done. Heh, heh! — we never knew cows

were so naive

ment gives Paramount call on any of the con-
tracted writers with these music publishers,
and pubUcation of the numbers through the
Famous Music Company. Hence, "Louise,"
which sold almost to the million mark in
copies, made money for Paramount as well as
the publishers. Leo Robbins and Dick Whit-
ing collected the royalty profits due the

Song ^^'riting for pictures has made every
person engaged in fiollj^vood now a "pro-
duction writer." This is different frort old
conditions, when one had to grope for an idea
before turning out a number. The writer is
given situations. The film's director and the
scenarist can tell in advance what they want
the IjTics to convey.

In this respect, the writers of songs have
one diSiculty to overcome, which seems slight,
but is annoying. They have to contend with
the popular impression shared by producers,
scenarists and directors — that a song's IjtIc is
written first. It isn't. In fact, it is well-nigh
impossible to set a tune to a lyric. A song-
writer may build a melody on a title, but

never on a complete l>Tic. The tune is alwaj's
composed first, and then the lyric set to it.
If a line runs short or long one or two notes —
the melody is altered.

Definite ideas are not always available — or
else the producer cannot express 'em. One
example, in an incident at Paramount, is typi-
cal. The producer simply told the song-writing

"T\ TE'VE got a picture called 'WoU-Song.'
** It's all about a man on a mountain.
Write a song for it."

From such premise came "Yo Te Amo,"
warbled by Lupe Velez and "Wolf-Song"
roared by Gary Cooper and the mountaineers.
There are quite a few producers, on the
other hand, who have
a very definite idea of
what they want and
know it when they hear
it. The numbers in
Harry Rapf's produc-
tion of "The Holly-
wood Revue of 1929 "
for Metro-Goldwyn-
Mayer are an excep-
tionally fine illustra-
tion. In this picture,
the songs were not
written for situations.
The scenes and the
numbers were built
and staged for the

Seven teams of song-
writers were used by
M.-G.-M. in getting
numbers for the revue.
Rapf W'anted a mili-
tary finale to the first
half, and assigned all
fourteen writers to the
task, the intention be-
ing to select the best
of all submitted. For
a month, various ideas
and finished composi-
tions were turned in —
none of them suiting

Many Were original
and novel, but didn't
convey just what
Rapf wanted to get

One day the entire

group were assembled

in the rehearsal hall

discussing ideas. Fred

Fisher finally burst out with:

"Well, Mr. Rapf. I don't know what you
want. If it were twenty years ago — I'd give
you something like this — " sat down at the
piano and improvised a strain of six-eight
rhythm (march style).

'"XHAT'S it!" shouted Rapf, "that's it!!"
■*- Thus was born "Strike Up the Band,"
one of the most effective military finales seen in
any revue. The style of composition may have
been twenty years old, but the production gives
it all the essence of sensational npvelty. Here
it is showmanship that makes the song

A number such as "Strike Up the Band"
will sell ver>- few copies. It has no commercial
value in royalties to either its writer or pub-
lisher and comes under the heading of special
material. In direct contrast is another song
in the "Hollywood Revue" called "Singing in
the Rain." This is the "plug" song of the
show, meaning the one selected as having best
possibilities for popular appeal. Therefore it
is rendered [ please turn to p.\ge 98 J

Photoplay Magazine — Advertising Section


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The Yankee clipper-ships are sailing phantom seas.
The western two-gun man has retired to the movies, and
the southern plantation has been sub-divided. The old
sectional distinctions have passed into tradition.

Where there was North, South and West, there is now
one people. Those old bairiers of distance and prejudice
have been worn down by many uniting forces: Rail-
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These are the things that have united America into a
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Read the advertisements — your
neighbors are reading them too

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Photoplay Magazine — Advertising Section


hen young ladies leave
for school or college

Take notice! Among them you will sec some
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and accessory in it, sets them apart, a little, from
most of the others. This quality, rather indefin-
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Cuddles Grows Up


handicap in Dick Barthelmess' new picture,

Dorothy Mackaill was slated for the part,
but she couldn't get through her own picture
in time. Dubiously, director Frank Lloyd
interviewed Lila.

"You think you can play this part?" he
asked. "You think you could really be a bad

Lila, not the little, timid creature of a few
years ago, but a poised young woman with a
nice sense of humor, shrugged her shoulders.
"I'm supposed to be an actress," she said.

Lloyd wanted a little more animation. He
was used to eager young ladies who acted all
over his office to prove how great they were.

"Yes, yes, I know," he said. "I know
you've been doing nice little parts, but this
girl is hard and scheming and bad and I'm
wondering if you could play it. "

T IL.\ stuck to her storj'. .She was an actress.
•'-'She could play whatever part was set before
her. .And as she talked she knew that she
could do a bad woman,i She knew that she
was not cut out for dear little ingenues whose
greatest tragedy was the death of the family

But Frank Lloyd couldn't get Cuddles out
of his mind. For all the fact that he saw before
him a smart young divorcee with a windblown
bob and slim legs encased in the sheerest of
silk hose, he remembered a little kid with two
enormous braids wrapped around either ear.
.\gainst his better judgment he gave Lila the
script to learn. He said he'd make a test the
next day.

LUa appeared before him. She read three
or four lines.

"No use for a test," said he. "You're O. K.
now. Report for work Tuesday morning at
nine o'clock."

And thus Lila became a bad woman. Thus
she grew up, cinematically speaking, and re-
nounced the ice cream sodas and the braids.

"That was the most aw'ful way of wearing
my hair," she said. "Nothing could be so
unbecoming. It makes your nose turn up and
your chin turn down. I looked horrible. And
every time I saw girls who imitated it I felt
guilty for spreading so much ugliness in the

"It held me back, too. It typed me. I was
allowed to play just one role 'and wliile I was
playing that role all the publicity men at
Paramount were grinding out copy about
what a great bet I was, what a swell actress,
what a big lind.

"Why, I didn't know the meaning of the
word actress. I did what I was told, that was
all. I walked through parts because I dis-
covered myself in front of a camera with a lot
of grease paint smeared over my face. I was
just a kid.

"1" 'WAS just a kid when I married. No
■'■ wonder it failed. What was I to know, at
eighteen, about love and life?

"And I've only just begun to know. Now.
at twenty-four, it's just beginning to percolate.

"I'm the luckiest idiot in the world. After
'Drag' I had more offers than I could take.
I'm starting right away on another picture.
And the very stage experience that I thought
had ruined my career is the thing that has let
me work in talkies. I am, for the first time in
my life, finding myself.

"I know what I don't want, which is the
first step toward finding wliat I want. I know
that I don't want to be a sweet soul with a
ga-ga heart.

".And behold — here am I, a bad woman on
the screen. And here am I a mother who, for
tlie first time since her motherhood, realizes
the importance of being one."

Cuddles ICdNvards is no more. Sing a re-
quiem for her demise. But shout for joy over
the new Lila Lee. The smart, sophisticated,
sparkling Lila Lee who has, even at thi^
tender age, found herself.

You can see by the expression on Director Millard Webb's face that
he doesn't care for brunettes — even of the glorified variety. Now if
that were blonde Mary Eaton in the polka-dotted bathing suit — ■!
Incidentally, Director Webb'sopus, "Glorifying theAmerican Girl,"
is going to be something new — a backstage drammer, no less, show-
ing us how the chorus girls really talk. Why not begin numbering
'em? For instance "Broadway Melody" could be X1394, "Broad-
way" X1993, etc.

Every adverlisemcnt In PHOTOPLAY M.iG.iZIXE l3 guaranteed.

Photoplay Magazine — Advertising Section

Gossip of All the


SCANNING the talent at Metro-Goldwyn-
JNIayer, one day, old Cal saw a handsome
face that looked familiar.

"That's Scott Kolk," said a guide. "He's
in the new Marion Da\aes picture and is very
attentive to Virginia Cherrill."

Cal thereupon enrolled in the I-Knew-Him-
When Club, remembering the days when Kolk
played the drums in a famous night club band
in Washington, D. C, and was famous as the
first male cabaret entertainer in the National
Capital who could do the Black Bottom. He
not only could, but did, nightly, to tremendous

The Washington gals were cuh-razy about
htm in those days, when he was given to walk-
ing about among the tables playing a uke
and crooning, and was known as plain Walter
Kolk. If the picture fans like him as well, for
his curly hair and dentifrice smile, M.-G.-M.
will have to put a new truck on the fan mail

SAID 'Will Rogers the other night at
a banquet, "Fred Niblo is so anx-
ious to speak at theater openings
that he goes around town looking at
all the new buildings to date up the
opening. He has become so expert
he can teU whether the building is
going to be a theater or not, just by
looking at the foundation."

AS this is written, Norman Kerry is in New
York, but the big koy's pranksome ways
live after him in Hollywood.

Ralph Spence, the title writer, moved in the
Kerry estate recently, and what was the first
thing he had to do? Change the color scheme
of the famUy pigeons back to normal.

Kerry, all in the spirit of clean fun, had
dyed their wings green, blue and red, much to
the horror of the neighbors, who complained
that the flying rainbows were injuring the
eyesight of the kiddies.

EDDIE LOWE has a habit of forgetting
his interview appointments. Consequently
he is usually in bad with the press.

The other day he had an interview, and
for a change, he didn't get in bad.
Eddie didn't keep the appointment.
Neither did the interviewer.

THE director on the sound stage
was worried. Somebody was
singing softly just out of range of the
microphone. "Hey," he shouted,
"stop that noise. AVIio do you think
you are? Al Jolson?"

Heh, heh, heh. Imagine his con-
sternation. It was Al Jolson.

TOE E. BROWN tells this one, and stop me if
J you've heard it.

A ventriloquist was traveling through the
smaU towns of Nebraska, and not exactly en-
countering enthusiastic or crowded theaters.

He was down to his last dime, and New York
was a long walk back. He determined to spend
one of his last nickels for a schooner of beer.
(This was about 1915 B. P.) On his way into
the local emporium of liquid joy he spied a for-
lorn looking yellow dog, and came the dawn of
a big idea.

He took the dog into the saloon with him and
ordered the beer. He took a sausage from the
free lunch counter. The starved pooch eyed
the ventriloquist with eloquent, hungry eyes.
Then words came from the mouth of the dog.

" Give me part of that, old topper?" he asked.

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Photoplay Magazine — Advertising Section

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THE bartender was thunderstruck. The
sight of this latter day miracle filled him
with the desire for possession. He offered S?5.
SlOO and $500 for the dog, but the ventrilo-
quist refused to sell. He finished his drink and
left the place, the dog trotting after him.

Later in the evening he returned again to the
bar and spent his last coin on another beer.
The bartender increased his original offers to
$3000, all he had in the world.

"I'll take it," said the ventriloquist. '' I hate
to part with my friend, but I must go back to
New York. He's yours."

He had reached the door, when the sad-eyed
pooch seemed to say — "You old son of a gun.
Just for that I'll never talk again."

VIVIAN DUNCAN likes 'em tall and dis-
tinguished when this young gal's fancy
lightly turns to thoughts of love. A coupla
years ago it was Nils Asther. At the time Nils
couldn't speak a word of English, but as he
later expressed it — "Lofe doesn't need words."

Online LibraryMoving Picture Exhibitors' AssociationPhotoplay (Volume 36 – 37 (Jul. - Dec. 1929)) → online text (page 60 of 145)