Moving Picture Exhibitors' Association.

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

. (page 80 of 145)
Online LibraryMoving Picture Exhibitors' AssociationPhotoplay (Volume 36 – 37 (Jul. - Dec. 1929)) → online text (page 80 of 145)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Besides, say the movie actors,
moods, ideals and general
worries are distorted into the
bugbear called temperament

By Katherine Albert

unmanageable, had ended, the judge said, in substance, that
Jetta's value was not "in her ability to obey slavishly — for the
humblest extra can do that — but in her ability to inject the
force of her personality, experience and intelligence into the

It was a great triumph for the actors.

It gave temperament a fresh start at all the studios. Jetta
became something of a crusader herself. And what was her
defense? What did she have to say about it?

LOOKING as inexplicable as ever in a pale green frock with
flowing lines, set oft by the exotic surroundings of her remark-
able apartment, she sighed, "But I was never temperamental.
I was always nice. I worked on the set when I was ill. A
nurse stood in calling distance from morning until night.
And I stayed up for hours and hours to work on my clothes —
clothes that the wardrobe department had ruined.

".\h, I was always nice. I alwaj's have good wiU. And don't
you think that if I had ever displayed what you call fits of
temperament that the studio powers would have told all about
it at the trial when their money was going, when they saw they
were losing the case?

"But they couldn't recall one incident when I had given
way to a burst of temperament."

"Well, then," said I, "how did you get the reputation for
being that way?"

Jetta smiled, her dark smile. "That — oh, that's so easy
to explain," she said. "I came here a foreigner. I had not
been married, nor divorced. There was no scandal attached
to my name. But I looked like a person who should have a
scandal. They had to have something to say about me.

Their own publicity depart-
ment wrote a story and
called me temperamental and
hard to manage. They kept
adding to it.

"They used to show me a
lot of articles in the papers
about how temperamental I
was and they seemed very
proud of them. Eventually
they came to believe that I
was really temperamental.
That was all. They just be-
lieved their own publicity.

"Of course," she went on,
her slanting Oriental eyes
narrowing down into horizon-
tal slits, "of course, they
could not stop me from think-
ing. Do you know what
they did? A certain man re-
ported me to the front office
for this: Simply because he
said I looked as if I thought he
■was damn fool."

Jean Hersholt was
rented to other firms
for more than his
salary. He kicked and
was called moody

Yes! What of It?

Greta Garbo

Ina Claire

John Gilbert

Evelyn Brent

Mae Murray

. They're temperamental — and proud of it

"And did you?" I asked.

"Of course," said Jetta, "he was a damn' fool, but I said
not a word. I showed no display of either temper or tempera-
ment. I was always nice to him. I always said kind words.
One can't be called temperamental simply for what one thinks.

"Another time the director wanted me to do a scene a
certain way. I thought it best done another way, but I said,
'Very well, you are the director. We do it your way.'

" 'But don't you agree that I'm right?'

" 'No,' I said, 'I don't. I will never agree, but I am per-
fectly willing to do it your way.'

""pOR two days — for two whole days — he held up production
JL trying to make me agree with him. Now was he tempera-
mental or was I? I was willing to do the scene as he thought
best. But he wanted me to agree with him!"

I can well imagine that Jetta drove directors and executives
into spasms of ineffectual temper. I can imagine that her
calm, cynical eyes that mirrored the fact that she thought
them all "damn' fools" sent them around the lot talking to
themselves. Fits of temper they could stand. They are used,
to that. But as for temperament — in that Jetta is lacking. Surely,
as she said, had she ever indulged in hectic emotional seizures
all the lurid details would have been recounted in court.

What is dubbed temperament in Hollywood, seldom is.
The Christian martyrs were not accused of it because they
held out for their ideals. Poor old Nero might have yelled
"temperament" as loudly as any Hollywood tilm magnate.

Then why, pray, give that title to Jack Gilbert because he
knows what he can do best and how to do it?

Jack has fought his w;iy through almost every picture he
has ever made and nine times out of ten Jack has been right.
-Artistically right, I mean. The happiest, calmest period of
his life was when he was making "The Big Parade" and that
picture still remains his best.

But he does say this: "Honestly — and I try to be honest
with myself — I believe I'm not temperamental, but if I am
and if any actor is, it's natural. We live under a high nervous
tension. We are always under a strain. We are continually
playing parts. Is it any wonder that we play parts off screen?"

HIS wife, Ina Claire, says in substance, "I hope I'm tem-
peramental. I've never seen an actress worthy of the name
who wasn't to some degree. Unless a player has a sensitive
nature, keenly tuned, she is incapable of portraying the
emotions that are called for in a dramatic role, and an occa-
sional overflowing of these emotions must be expected."

But time over and again what has been called temperament
is really not at all. It's only smoke from the fire of rumor.

Word sped about the Paramount lot that Evelyn Brent had
"gone actress" on the JMoran and Mack set, when she refused
to stand on a trapeze only ten feet high. It is an actual fact
(and, if you don't believe it, her doctor's name will be furnished
upon request) that Betty suffers from vertigo and cannot look

out of a second story window without becoming dizzy. She
did, at last, because of the keen criticism, stand on the trapeze.
She was iU and had to come down.

"Temperament," said the studio gossips, "just plain tem-

. Again they called her temperamental when she refused to
attend the opening of "Broadway." She had gone to Universal
in the first place against her will. She had taken the role in
the picture against her better judgment. She thought she
gave a bad performance and for that reason did not want to
take her bow at the opening.

"I didn't do anything to bow for," she said.

She refuses to do gag publicity pictures because she believes
that she isn't the type to wear hand painted socks with rabbits
skipping over the cuffs. And they called May McAvoy tem-
peramental when she worked in a tank of ice cold water from
two o'clock one morning until six the next and refused to come
back the next day and do it again. She spent the next few
weeks in the hospital, having a first class case of pneumonia.

THEY called Jean Hersholt impossible when he complained
because he was under contract to Universal and was loaned to
other companies at a sum reported to be three times his salary.

Reginald Denny stoutly maintains, "I'm not temperamental.
I'm just fighting for existence on the screen. You might call
it English stubbornness, but I hate to stand by and get hit on
the head with a mallet without offering some resistance."
Denny has fought for proper stories and proper directors.
He's simply working toward an ideal.

The strangest case of mistaken temperament is that of
Greta Garbo. Melancholy, lonely Greta, who actually did not
understand Americans and American ways. Greta who was
and is the most brutally frank actress who ever set thirty
dollar pumps in the land of the kleigs.

She used to sit in front of the mirror while agitated hair
dressers fluttered about her. She knew but little English.
She knew she didn't like her coiffure. She said it. "Garbo
does not like!" She said it in the only words she knew.

The fire that is the chief ingredient of temperament is
lacking in the Garbo. She is slow moving, slow thinking,
Scandinavian. She has never thrown things, nor has she, like
Goudal, looked as if she thought her director a "damn' fool."
She has looked mostly as if she didn't think at all. And she
didn't, .'\nyhow, not in English. She simply answered ques-
tions without dissembling. Her reputation for being mysteri-
ous is as mysterious to her as her popularity.

The other day her publicity man told her that he kept
people off her set by telling them she'd throw them off.

"Oh, but you mustn't say that," said Greta, "they will
' t'ink I'm a terrible person. And I do not want people to t'ink
I'm a terrible person."

Genuinely she does not. She knows she has no tempera-

Her frankness has given her the reputation, [turn to page 117]





Eddie McCorkle started to climb to his dressing room, only to
draw back as a pair of excellently turned pink silk legs barred his
progress. Above glowed a piquant, angry little face crowned by
a mop of unruly chestnut hair. "Ditched me again, hey?"
accused the owner of the legs

MR. EDDIE McCORKLE, otherwise known as "The
Smiling Singer of Sad Songs," trickled out of his
modest hotel and began slouching moodily through
the streets of Los Angeles on his way to the ]Metro-
politan Theater. The cool, blue dusk felt refreshing after a
blazing day, the early moon swung low like a gong of burnished
copper, a nearby window revealed a pleasantly curved young
woman in a stepin being joggled by a reducing machine; but
Mr. McCorkle, eyes on the pavement, continued to scowl and
mumble to himself. Braving the bristling toothpicks of the
cafeteria belt, he finally turned up Sixth Street, halted at an
alley and peered along its dimness as though it were the mouth
of a cave.

"Nothing but a slave!" he muttered unhappily. "What
good is California to a guy such as me, I'd Like to know. Tor-
ture, that's all! The unit jumps here from Denver, plays a
week, and just as I'm beginning to get a sniff of the place, we
breeze out on Saturday for the death trail in Texas. I s'pose
that's Fate, but it ain't right."

Then, mindful of his artistic standing, he cocked his Panama
to a precarious angle and strutted toward the stage door with
his customary swagger. Mr. McCorkle, who was a ginger-
haired, sharp-featured youth with the slaty complexion of the
true vaudevillian, had read somewhere that actors always hid
the tears behind a smile, and belief in this popular fallacy en-
abled him to enter the theater as haughtily as a Schubert gren-
adier. Not, however, without an inward qualm, for, like most
of his species, he wasn't as wise as he looked. That would have
been impossible.

Most of the members belonging to the "Dark Brown Blues"
unit were lounging about in various states of preparedness, and
a few hailed him listlessly. Nineteen weeks on the road had
robbed them of any particular interest in one another; all the
dirty linen had been washed and dried to a chaste white, and
nothing short of death or depravity would have raised even


Illustrated by

Jef fer son

an eyebrow in the entire troupe.
Mr. McCorkle glanced furtively
around, noticed that the feature pic-
ture was already on and commenced
to climb to his dressing room, only
to draw back as a pair of excellently
turned pink silk legs barred his
progress. The legs flowed smoothly
into a tantalizing pink silk torso,
and above it glowed a piquant,
angry little face crowned by a mop
of unruly chestnut hair.
"Ditched me again, hey?" accused the owner of the legs.
Mr. McCorkle swallowed hard. "I didn't see you after
'matinee, so . . . ," he began feebly.
" You didn't wait, that's why."
".\w, Molly, I— I'm sorr>'."

"Save your sorrow," said Miss Molly O'Meara, her eyes
glinting icily. "Listen, Eddie, this is Friday, and ever since the
first of the week you've been sneaking out on me. I'm asking
you — is that the'way to behave, with us practically engaged?
Of course, maybe the sw^ellest tap dancer on the circuit isn't
good enough for you, so ..."

"Lay off," groaned Mr. McCorkle. "The unit's booked for
thirty weeks and I've got plenty of time to look at you, ain't I?
It's like this, honey : all my life I've been aching to get a slant at
California and the movies, and now I'm here what chance do I
have? We blow in and blow out before I can even wangle an
admission card from a studio; so why kick if I put in my spare
time trying to recognize a few stars on the Boulevard? Even at
that it's agony — just like peeking in a side door of the Mint and
then getting the bum's rush from a cop."

MOLLY remained unimpressed. " Why don't you admit to
the real reason?"

" Huh?" sparred Eddie.

"You heard me. Why don't you break down and confess
that all this sob stuff is about Rosie Redpath?"

"Because she's no more important than a flute player, that's
why. She's a darb, all right, but it's the business itself that
appeals to me. The big money ; the chance to live where it's aU
clean and sunny."

" Change your act," scoffed Miss O'Meara. " That's the way
with all you warblers; you can't talk without sidetracking into
punk verse. Well, take your choice, Eddie; it's me or the

"Gee," said the little singer miserably. "A fat chance I'd


a Soothin' Song

The romance of a voice double and
a beautiful tap dancer

have in them with this face. They don't even know I'm alive.
But — but it would be you, anyhow, honey."

Miss O'Meara kissed him generously. "You'll come out of
your trance next week when we play Dallas," she comforted.
" Better put your makeup on now and for heaven's sake try to
get your eyebrows even for once." Her face softened as she
watched him disappear up the circular staircase and then, walk-
ing stageward, she snapped her fingers at the screen on which
the dreaded Miss Redpath was wrestling with a summer

HALF an hour later the cavernous theater sprang into a
glare of light as soon as the picture had unreeled to the
inevitable sappy ending. Three thousand fans blinked, sighed,
and then started scrambling either for the doors or better seats,
while in a specially reserved bo.x a vivid brunette in burnt
orange foulard rose languidly to her feet and tossed a seductive
smile at her three companions.

"I hope my sad fate will be a lesson to you," she drawled.
"Come on, Abie, let's get away now that the best is

The pudgy little man beside her patted his stomach, and
shrugged e.xpressively. "My dinner ain't digested yet," he
chirped. "The doctor, he says I should sit still for two hours
after meals. 'Be placid at all costs, Mr. Zoop,' he says to me,
and placid I'U be if it kills me, or at least maybe until I get the
robber's bill. Am I a liar. Momma?"

A mountainous, beetle-browed lady fanned herself with a
heavily beringed hand, and regarded him
suspiciously. "Sermons you're givink, ha?
Never did I see you do anythink but gulp
and run for fear Ignatz — , I mean Irving
Yolk, of Amazement Films, should slip one
over on you. Somethink listens loose,
Abie! It'sthevawdvil,ha? All them hussies
as naked as a new potato is what's holdink
you. A pastime!"

Mr. Zoop maintained a stubborn silence.
The truth was that he took a childlike
pleasure in the forthcoming act. As presi-
dent of Stupefaction Pictures he had re-
cently acquired not only a chain of theaters
in which to exhibit his wares, but also a
string of theatrical units used to bolster the
bill, so that patrons would think they \vere
getting their money's worth. It gave Abie
a decided thrill to get his first look at these
new possessions that filtered across to him
all the way from New York, and the fact
that they were mostly duU and mediocre
worried him not at aU. He settled deeper
in his chair, and Rosie, more psychic than
the bulbous Momma, winked understand-
ingly, and sat down again.

A crashing overture, and then the cur-
tain ascended on the "Dark Brown Blues."

Mr. McCorkle finished his song for
Rosle Redpath. "You're such a com-
fort with that velvet voice, Eddie,"
she sighed. "You've certainly got a
weepy blend to your notes tonight.
I feel all smoothed down already."
Rosie closed her pansy eyes and lay
there serenely

Out pranced sixteen damsels trained to a colorless perfection,
and tastefully draped in wisps of tulle which revealed a liberal
amount of clavicle and tibia as they wiggled through an un-
imaginative routine. Then a pompous nonentity — the master
of ceremonies, with a supply of wisecracks culled carefuUy
from the fan magazines and humorous weeklies. A cross fire
talking duo. Acrobats. A juggler. Miss Molly O'Meara,
dancing on the stage apron as daintily as the tick of a watch,
or unrolling her triple taps with the smoothness of a military
drummer. The first genuine applause. More girls.

Then darkness, and a molten spotlight thrown to the foot of
the right proscenium, and into its center walked Eddie Mc-
Corkle, a bashful grin on his pinched countenance. A chord
from the orchestra, and for the next two minutes a mellow
tenor reigned supreme in the cathedral-like dimness.

APPLAUSE rushed swiftly across the theater and broke
like surf against the footlights. A shamefaced bow and
more melody. No jazz for Mr. McCorkle, and likewise, no
grand opera. He gave them "Roses of Picardy," "Long,
Long Trail," "Duna" and other homely favorites, in tones that
throbljed, caressed and awakened memories, and, after holding
a final top note with effortless ease, he vanished into the wings
pursued by salvos of appreciation.

"Ooy," sniffed Momma. "Such a feelink he gives you!"

Rosie, her eyes closed, nodded rapturously.

"Sweet like honey," agreed Abie, squinting speculatively as
he watched Eddie take his [please turn to page 113]







The Arlens find
housebuilding a
good foundation
for marital bliss.
A kiss is nice but
a concrete drive-
way lasts forever!

Alma Whitaker

Jobyna herself made the drapes and bed-spread, and even up-
holstered the chairs in this delightful bedroom

OH, but they are a couple of practical youngsters,
Richard Arlen and Jobyna Ralston, who, since their
marriage a trifle over two years ago, have been stead-
ily, industriously, joyously "feathering their nest."

To begin with they eschewed the fashionable Beverly Hills,
■where fearful standards of style and cchit must be lived up to,
and bought a large, wooded acre-lot for sS8,000 in Burbank.
It is within four blocks of the First National Studio, but that
doesn't mean that lovely surroundings have been ignored. On
the contrary. For here, tucked in the middle of a wooded glen,
stands Toluca Lake, fed by underground springs . . . precious,
precious water in California. Other original souls have bought
here, too. . . . Charlie Farrell has a stylish bachelor establish-
ment here; so has Eva Tanguay, so has Belle Bennett. Twelve
minutes runs them into Hollywood, across a pretty bridge,
between picturesque hills.

That same lot in Beverly Hills would have cost S25,000.
The Spanish adobe house they have erected on it cost $12,000
to build . . . ("not quite all paid for yet, but it won't be
long," confides Dick) where the same house in the more
distingue district would represent thrice that.

For here, you see, Dick and Jobyna had no fear of shocking
the neighbors by getting into overalls and working like young
trojans to beautify that home. Real work, I mean, not the
dainty frillings. You should see their handsome, red-tiled patios,
porches, driveways — every tile laid and cemented by their own
capable hands, over concrete foundations mixed and laid by

You should see the huge velvety young lawn which surrounds
two sides of their spacious corner lot — dug up and seeded,
rolled, weeded and mowed by their very own selves. And two out-
door fireplaces, built of cement by jobyna and Dick without
any hired help.

A dozen enormous walnut trees provide lovely shade — a bit
too much shade sometimes, so that young Jobyna climbs aloft
and saws off branches here and there, that her precious flower
beds may mature to beauty in the sunshine. Under these trees

stand garden furniture in gay hues, painted, decorated, can-
vassed by the owners. A clever little table with an inlaid tile
top — Jobyna's job. A cypress hedge planted round three sides
and doing handsomely — Dick's pride. Seats built into the old
trees, ferns planted to droop from tree-holes, water jars hanging
from branches — Dick's skilled labor.

And in a snug patio, a lily pond and fountain of concrete,
building and plumbing all their own. This pond is soon to be a
swimming pool. . . . "But we may have that done pro-
fessionally, " confides Dick, " as it requires some engineering."

At this writing a guest-house is being added . . . one lovely
room facing the swimming pool, with bath and dressing room
all complete. Jobyna's dad was working on that when I called,
but they are all in on it. Every bit of the paint work was
done by Jobyna and Dick . . . and beUeve me, it doesn't look-
the least bit amateurish.

ANOTHER window seemed desirable in the little hall of the
main house. Dick cut out the wall, Jobyna put the win-
dow in and painted the wood-work. When Jobyna works,
whether it's house-painting, gardening, cementing, she wears
overalls and gets her hands dirty — no dainty gloves for this prac-
tical maid. "I always loved doing men's jobs," she says. "I
like sewing, too . . . and I am really a pretty good cook, but I
don't like to cook. I'd rather dig. or plaster, or saw."

Still, I felt that perhaps upholstering was her chief talent.
For inside that adorable house are chairs and lounges galore
that were purchased in the crude wood — painted and up-
holstered by Jobyna's own capable little hands — which you
would certainly suppose were e.xpensive pieces made by ex-
perts. There are a few bought pieces, but actually Jobyna's
jobs shine by comparison, because of their unusual shapes,
their comfort, and the lovely scheme of colors applied in the
upholstering. Proudly Dick brags of this handiwork and tells
how Jobyna cuts her patterns, plans the seams, drives the tiny
tacks in, pads the seats . . . and turns out masterpieces.

Then, too, Jobyna has made every curtain and drape in the

It is a home of handsome, red-tiled patios, porches, driveways — and every tile has been laid
and cemented by the capable hands of the Arlens themselves

house, exquisitely. Some of costly material, gorgeously lined,
some of dainty, inexpensive goods, crisp and fairylike. One
gazes at this little girl in astonishment — she is so petite, so gay
and boyish, so pretty to be so versatilely capable.

"Did Dick win you to this matriarchal applied domestic-
ity?" I asked, wondering.

''Oh, no, I was a farm girl, you know. It was I who won Dick
to making and doing things ourselves. It's much more fim, "
says Jobyna, while Dick grins assent.

The big living room, with French windows leading out on to
lawns and patios, has a beamed ceiling which, with the walls,
is all painted a creamy white. Dick can tell you just how many
coats of oil it takes to make that sort of a perfect job. The
floor is carpeted in a soft blue green of expensive texture. A

Dick and Jobyna are practical youngsters, but they are also

artistic. Not only have they bought a home, but they have

beautified it with their own hands. And what an excellent

recipe for happiness that seems to be!

grand piano stands at one end, with numerous silver
trophy cups tilled with home-grown flowers. These, together
with fifty more in the cellar, were won by Jobyna for dancing.
. . . "No, not with me . . . with her former beaux, "laughs Dick.

A CANDELABRA with seven red candles also decks the piano,
and this red candelabra idea is carried out around the walls
and in the center from a ceiling beam. Standard lamps galore, in
lovely shades, also dot the room — parchment shades made by
Jobyna. A big fireplace adorns one corner, old brass and cop-
per vessels gleaming on its mantel. . . . " We picked up some
bargains there," they confide. . . . "And that shield and
assegai from North Africa were given to me by the studio . . .
used in 'Four Feathers,' you remember," adds Dick.

A large bookcase covers one end
wall. . . one notices that their taste
is rather Frenchy . . . Rabelais,
Daudet, Gautier, Balzac, Boccac-
cio, rather crowding O. Henry,
Scott, Lytton, Conrad and Bret
Harte. On a table . . . obviously
current reading, were "Dream
Life," "Sons and Lovers," "Essays
of Oscar Wilde," "Reveries of a
Bachelor" ... so you never can tell
what a practical industrious couple
will read these days. "We have
lost over 100 books through bor-
rowers, " they sighed.

Online LibraryMoving Picture Exhibitors' AssociationPhotoplay (Volume 36 – 37 (Jul. - Dec. 1929)) → online text (page 80 of 145)