Moving Picture Exhibitors' Association.

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

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time.youknow, Mr. Brown, and the studio pays
for it. But I'll keep you posted. Now every-
one go away. The doctor will be right out, and
he'll want to e.xamine him immediately."

Johnny's mother tried to talk to Johnny's
father in a shrill, e.xcited voice, but he walked
past her unhearing.

NIGHT settled down on the busy place.
From far out on the back lot great sweeping
rays of light raked the sky like comet tails, and
plunged back toward the earth. Somebody
was shooting night stuff. But in the studio
grounds proper it was very still. Lannigan,
the night watchman, walked past the hospital,
making strange Gaelic prayers for the fate of
the little fellow who lay there, and MacDougal,
the night gateman, minded a time when his
own girl had lain in that same bed, sore
distressed. Once he went to the hospital gate
and inquired after the little actor.

"Just the same," said the nurse. "You
never can tell about these concussions. He
might stay in a coma for days."

"D'ye ken whether or not it will be fatal?"

"I hardly think so. But there's always a
possibility. Everything's being done."

JMacDougal saw Johnny's father, walking
up and down the gravel paths. He had a great
sympathy for the man. He would have
helped him if he could. But even he could not
see into Johnny's father's heart, reproaching
itself that he had allowed this thing to happen
to his child. Over and over an old refrain
echoed in the father's ears:

" If you ever get into a vulgar fight, Johnny,
it will kill mother, just kill her!"

What had his boy thought when he stood
there, afraid? What had he thought when the
world reeled and he went down under Micky's
fist? Perhaps psycho-analysts would tell liim
Johnny was e\'en now laboring under the black
pall of that lesson, drilled into his subconscious
mind from infancy . . . and that it was helping
to retard his return to consciousness!

"God, it ain't right! It ain't right my kid
should believe a thing hke that ! Maybe that's
what he's thinking right now. That his
mother's dead because he got into a ' \-ulgar
fight!' I got to reach into him someway and
tell him it isn't so!"

He went in, and asked the nurse to let him
see his boy. " For just a minute," she agreed.

The father went down on liis knees and held
the skinny little claw in his own hot, rough
hands ... he looked long at the deepening
blue hollows where the long lashes lay.

"Johnny . . . your mother's not dead.
And you mustn't believe you could ever kill
her ... no matter what you did! If she ever
dies, it will be God that takes her. Little boys
can't do things like that!"

Looking at Johnny made him remember his
own little boyhood. Its bewildering, wonder-
ing moments, when liis child's brain had be-
come be-mazed in things it could not under-
stand. Long passages from the Bible, that had,
when he sat and squirmed miserably in his
Sunday go-to-meetings, seemed impossible of
comprehension or meaning, began to clear up
for him now. One mandate kept recurring in
his mind: "Thou shall not put other gods
before me!"

That was what Johnny's mother had done.
She had made a god of fame, and set it up like
a Golden Calf, and prostrated herself before it!
If Johnny's mother died of the shock of what
had happened, it would be that God struck her
down in his wrath. He must find words to
e.xplain to Johnny when that time came . . .
and still spare his mother!

•T^VO things happened on the third night
■^ after the accident. One was that Johnny
regained consciousness, and the nurse dared
to relax her vigil, and go to her room for rest.
The other was that Marion Glendenning dis-

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appeared. Disappeared as finally as though
the earth had swallowed him up. Unbeliev-
ably he had been abducted from out a place
whose every entrance was guarded! It was a
distracted nurse who sent out the news.

"I only took forty winks! I never heard
a thing!" she protested.

The studio grounds and the nearby district
were thoroughly searched, for fear Johnny had
walked in his sleep. He was not found. It was
a plain case of kidnapping.

Johnny's mother went into hysterics. She
fainted. Recovering she rushed to the tele-
phone and called up all the newspapers.

'""PO think of anything like that happening
•'- to Marion! With a watchman and a gate-
man here all night, and everything locked!
There's something back of it! It's a plot . . .
a plot!" Her voice rose high, and higher.
Isadore Cohen, Production Manager, whose
nerves were none too strong, hugged his head
against that shrill voice.

"Please, please, won't you to calm down
vonce? Ve viU do all ve can. Vait until Mr.
Rosenthal gets here. Ve vill put detectififs to
vork! Ve vill spare no money ... I tell you
vait and I vill call Mr. Rosenthal right offer!"
"You know something about this, Mr.
Cohen! I can see you know something more
than you are telhng!"

"And you haff the nerve to say that to me,
when ve stand to lose a hundred t'ousand
dollars because of your boy being kidnapped!
You haff the nerve! Don't screech no more.
I vill get Abie right avay !"

"You just bet you'll get Abie! Something's
got to be done about this! It must be in all the
papers . . . everybody must join in the search.
It must be broadcasted right away!"

"The newspapers! Broadcasted! Mein
Gott, and right after that Hardell murder
mess! Oi, is it ruined you vant us to be!"

Just now Abraham Rosenthal, followed by a
gang of reporters, entered. Mr. Rosenthal had
learned a great deal through the Hardell case.
He knew that it was better to talk to reporters
than to create an atmosphere of mystery by
"refusing to make a statement!"

""KJOW, boys," he said, handing out his
■'-^ costly cigars %vith a generous hand, "here
is the little boy's mother. I vant you should
get the whole story from her. Ve vill giff you
photographs and efferything. The more people
vat know about this business, the quicker he
vill be found."

It was three hours before they got away from
Mrs. Glendenning. They had taken at least
fifteen poses of her, clasping some article of
Marion's to her bosom, and staring out with
wild, anguished eyes.

The bad man himself — not a movie. Noah Beery and the Los
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"Some tragedy queen, Mrs. Glendenning,"
one of the newsmen had dared to say. She was
pleased by the compliment.

"Oh, I know my boy gets all his talent from
me," she admitted, " but I've always found my
happiness in slaving for liim! I've given up
my life for him, gentlemen!"

It was not until one of the gang suggested
diplomatically that they had better bring their
stories to a close by the statement that, "Mrs.
Glendenning, mother of the famous little star,
is prostrated by the news, and under thecare
of a nurse in a sanitarium," that she subsided.

"Yes . . . yes ... I am prostrated. Simply
prostrated!" she moaned. The nurse took her
cue and led her away to bed.

MEIN Gott, if only

if only Smith vas here!"
^•deplored Rosenthal, when a v/eek's
combing the country failed to reveal the
whereabouts of the little prince of pictures.

"You act Hke this man Smith was the only
detective in the world \\-ith any brains! W'liy
don't these other men get busy, I'd like to
know!" exclaimed Mrs. Glendenning. "If
you were interested in finding him, you'd offer
a reward! I'll bet that's all the kidnappers
are waiting for! Did you ever thirds of that?"

"Yes. I thought of it. I haft decided to
do it. But you must remember, Mrs. Glen-
denning, already ve are losing money. If that
boy iss not found, just hke that all those pic-
tures he vas in are vorth nodding! Ve cannot
finish the series. Ve paid a big sum for those
stories. Ve cannot afford to lose it! It vill
come very close to bankrupting us! Haff you
effer thought of that, I ask you?"

"What difference does that make? You can
always get money for more pictures! Men in
Wall Street are just crazy to buy motion pic-
ture stock!"

"Hm . . . veil . . . mebbe ..." said
Rosenthal dryly. "Anyvay, I make an offer
off ten thousand dollars for the return of the
boy. Now go ahead and phone all the papers!"

And the days went on, even after the reward
was offered, and yet no word of Marion Glen-
denning came from the numerous sources of
the various rescuers. Once, when Mrs.
Glendenning came to him seeking some new
angle to throw into her daily story to the press,
Rosenthal got up and pounded his desk

"I vant you should stop talking to the
papers! Vat good is it doing? Do you see me
going around posing for those reporters, and
giffing out interviews? No, I am putting my
mind on some vay to locate that boy of yours!
If my Izzie he gets liimself lost from his mother,
you know vat she does right avay? No? Veil I
tell you. Right avay she goes to the synagogue
and prays that he vill be returned safe and
sound! How do I know? Because that is the
vay my Rachel is by her children! Maybe you
could pray a little? I got great faith in
prayers by the mother. Now get out! '

But lost fortunes, and prayers, and country-
wide search, were alike fruitless. The only
man who could have thrown light on the mys-
tery was MacDougal, the gateman, and he
swore solemnly that he did not see anyone take
Marion Glendenning through the gate.

nPHERE is a hilltop running back from the
-*- sea, where vineyards bring their purple fruit
to sweetness every year, and running along the
hilltop is a road known as the Empire Grade.
It is an old, sandy wagon road, and auto-
mobiles do not go there. Below the hill lies the
little town of Santa Cruz, a day's travel north
from Los Angeles. Summer brings many
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sky, that Tony heard his dogs give tongue and
he went out to stand under the grape vines
on his trellised porch to see what was up. He
saw a man staggering toward his house, with a
burden in his arms. He knew the man. He




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had given him shelter off and on for years.
But now the visitor did not waste time in

"Open the door, Tony. This is my kid.
He's been hurt. Go down to town and get a
doctor. I'll have to have your wife to help
right away."

" Va bienc! Maria! Maria!" called Tony,
and the man stepped aside for the bu.xom
Italian woman, who bent over the child with
little indrawn sounds of sympathy.

'"yONY ... not a word to anybody.' Tell

■*■ the doctor you want him for one of your
Idds! But make him come. I can pay him well!
But not a word! You understand, Tony?"

"Si . . . si . . . " returned Tony im-
patiently, hurt at being doubted.

It was after the doctor had come and tended
Johnny, that his father told the two other
men his story. He saw by their eyes that they
were with him, and would stick by him. When
the doctor rose to go, after draining a glass of
Tony's good wine, and eating a big slice of
thick Italian bread and white cheese, he held
out his hand.

"You can count on me, Brown. The boy's
all right. He'll get good nursing from Tony's

All that, now, was months past. Summer
had come and autumn, and the emerald green
fruit had ripened, and gone, in great numbers
down Johnny's greedy mouth. Tony's boy,
Angelo, and .Vngelo's small cousins, let into the
secret, had helped to guard the little prince of
pictures. To be sure, promise of a generous
reward aided their natural childish love of the
mysterious. Unknown to themselves they had
metamorphosed Johnny. He was as brown
as any of them. He was as fleet-footed as any
of them . . . and ... as hard-fisted! Even
now, as his father leaned against the cabin
door, watching, Angelo dared him to fight.

" Coma here, you keed, you! Let's maka the
grand fight!"
leaped at him.

They were in the dust,
sat astride of the other's back and called,
"HoUer quits! .\ngelo! Holler quits!"

No hesitation now, Johnny
It was Johnny who

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"D UT the smile of pride left the man's face as
-'-'quickly as it had come. When Tony walked
up, he said, "Well, Tony, the time's come.
Jly boy's ready to go back!" Tony shrugged.

"I thinka you one beeg damn fool to take
that keed back. They maka the sissy out
of him again, you see! I tella you straight!"

"He's got a mother, Tony. She worked hard
for him. He's all right, any^vay. He's a diflfer-
ent kid now. He'll start out different!"

"You going, too?"

" Jiist to take him down. I'll come back and
go shares with you, like I said. I'll get that
truck while I'm there. Yep. I'm coming back.
The kid might need me . . . and this place
again some day. He might come back ..."
the man's voice broke. He shoved himself
abruptly off the door jam and walked away.

"God damn!" swore Tony with soft emotion,
" God damn ! I thinka he breaka his heart over
that keed for sure!" Then he shrugged.
" Va bienc . . . the keed he gotta the love for
his dad, all right. He come back some day, you

dad. That place cost an awful lot of money,
and maybe she couldn't afford to keep it."

"Oh, I guess they kept on with your salary.
Rosenthal's a decent sort, and it wasn't yoilr
mother's fault I kidnapped you!"

"Gosh, dad, you sure did that slick! 'What
gets me is about old Mac! He's got eyes in
the back of his head, we used to say. I never
knew him to miss anybody going in or out,

_ "You're WTong about the eyes in the back of
his head, son," said Johnny's father with a
chuckle. "I know he hasn't got any!"
"How do you know?"

"Because he had his back to me when I
walked out!"

"Gosh. Say, did he do it on purpose, or
did it just happen?"

"Here's your corner, boy," evaded his father
hastily then, and began slowing toward the

"Golly . . . say ... I guess I'm excited
about being back! Why, dad . . . say . . .

Online LibraryMoving Picture Exhibitors' AssociationPhotoplay (Volume 36 – 37 (Jul. - Dec. 1929)) → online text (page 66 of 145)