Moving Picture Exhibitors' Association.

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

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Shrew" is the secret wiring of chairs on the set.
The "sitees" receive a slight but quite efifective
electric shock. Doug was wary for several
days and refused to be caught in his own trap.

The other day he fell, however. He let out
a yell that blew out the talkie tubes, and
jumped higher and farther than he did in
"Robin Hood."

RUTH and Arthur Rankin have
come to the parting of the ways.
Arthur is on his way to Reno to start
divorce proceedings. The couple
has been married for about eight

Many little tiffs and minor separa-
tions finally resulted in the gesture
of divorce.

nPHEY were discussing a new picture for
-'■ John Barrj-more at United .Artists, and
were considering a talking version of " Hamlet"
or some other classic for The Great Profile.

It came to nothing, however, when they
found that under the terms of John's Warner
Brothers contract, that concern has the ex-
clusive rights to the golden voice of the star.

Which gave John the chance to say, "My
profile may belong to United .Artists, but my
voice belongs to Warner Brothers."

DID you ever hear of a film actress being so
tempestuously good that her work danger-
ously overshadowed that of her leading man
and forced the shelving of the picture?

Well, you're hearing of it now. The news
seeped out when Frederic JIarch arrived in
Xew York to play opposite Jeanne Eagels, the
stormy petrel of Paramount, in "Jealousy."
Eagels made a version of it recently with
.Anthony Bushell as leading man, but when the
production was finished executives held up its
release, and finally decided to make a new
version with another leading man.

So young Mr. March stepped into the
picture. He made his film debut opposite
Clara Bow in "The Wild Party," and is the
happy aijd lucky husband of that pretty girl
and delightful actress, Florence Eldridge.

THE dapper Georgie Jessel was strolling
across the lot the other day, twirling his
smart malacca, when a large man slapped him
on the back and said, "Hello, Epstein! Well,
well! How goes it with you, Epstein?"

Georgie drew up his five feet very little and
said, cuttingly, "I'm not Epstein, and what do
you mean going around banging people on the
back like that?"

To which the other gentleman answered,
"Well, what's it to you how I treat my friend

JUST another day on the set where they are
shooting John Gilbert's latest, "His Glorious

A summer house on an open air stage. Jack
is cooing sweet nothings into the pink ear of
his leading woman, Catherine Dale Owen.
"Bang! Bang! Bang!"

A carpenter is nailing merrily away on a
nearby house.

"I'll stop if you give me a day's pay," he
tells a steaming production manager. He gets

The "mike" again picks up tender gobs of
living words.

Overhead go a couple of tri-motored planes,
and out go a couple of high-priced tubes.
Clang go a couple of beach-bound street cars.
And onto a closed sound stage go the summer-
house and the lovers.

Net result — grief, woe, bad language and the
loss of time and money. Onlj' gainer — the
carpenter, who is in a whole day's pay and can
go on hammering till his wrist wears' out.

A LOCAL writer reviewing "East Is West"
-' »■ remarked, "As compared to Estelle Taylor,
Lupe Velez' work is like a candle beside a
1000- watt light."

Hearing of this, Estelle called the writer.
"I wouldn't say things like that if I were in
your place. You know, Lupe might come down
and show you just how hot a candle can be."

TT has been persistently rumored that Nazim-
J-ova was going to make a talkie for Co-
lumbia. .\s yet, she has not put in her appear-
ance in Hollywood, but the late unpleasantness
between her and Eva La Gallienne over the
Civic Repertory Theater in New York might
bring her to the film center.

A'ears ago she was the most dramatic, most
glamorous woman on the old Metro lot. She
surrounded herself with mystery as Garbo does
now. She refused to gi\'e out interviews. Her
sets were barred even to the other workers in
the studio.

Such a great artist she was considered that
the kids in the stock company used to cut
holes in the canvas flaps and take turns peeping
al her, while the electricians and prop boys
from other sets used to climb on the overhead
parallels to watch her.

ERNST LUBITSCH was directing
"The Love Parade," Viennese
operetta, at Paramount. Suddenly
he began yanking out hair by the

"Gott!" screamed Kerr Lubitsch.
"The moosician iss shooing gum,
and he is shooing against the rhythm!
I am going crazee I"

COME of his fellow workers at the studio
'"'played a dirty trick on Karl Dane. Karl has
an interest in a beauty shop in Hollywood, and
he also has an interest in the girl that runs it.

The boys at the studio collected a lot of his
advertising cards, wTote "O. K. Karl Dane"
on the back, and distributed them among about
twenty extra girls.

Karl has been explaining to the pretty man-
ager of the shop ever since.

/CASUALTY note. Little David Rollins,
^— 'fair haired boy of the Fox lot, has gone
Hollywood, and his perspective is lost like a
little fuzzy dog.

Last week a writer tried to get hold of Da\y,
phoning all over the landscape. At last a per-
sonal friend broke the cordon of guards to say
that an inter\iew was wanted.

"Well, he knows me," was Davy's com-
placent reply. "How many times do I have to
see him to give him a storj'?"

That's the sort of smug high-hattedness that
very soon relieves an actor of all annoj'ance by
the press. And little David Rollins isn't quite
a big enough shot to tell space givers to go roll
a hoop. So he had better wake up and look

Every advertisement in PHOTOPLAT MAGAZINE Is suaranteed.

Photoplay Magazine for October, 1929

Sing a Soothin' Song


sixth bow. Scribbling hastily on a card, he
beckoned an usher, and handed it to him.
"Bring that liid up here right away," he
ordered, and then turned his attention to the
fourth member of the party, who had remained
in a self-centered silence.

"Hey, handsome," he demanded, "does that
little guy suggest anythinlc to you?"

Mr. Hubert Mountstephen came to life and
smiled knowingly at his employer. His collar-
ad features blended e.xcellently with a likable
manner, and a slightly eiTeminate droop to his
mouth had brought him fame as a sympathetic
hero and the \-icarious love of about half a
million sweethearts.

"He's got the kind of a voice I ought to
have," he declared.

MR. ZOOP winced as the unit came to an
end ^^^th much clashing of cymbals, and
leaned forward portentously. "Vou'n me
both," he stated, tapping Mr. Mountstephen
on the knee. "He puts a camelflaged sob in
every line and that always gets the women.
Just give a glance around you — they're all
weepink with real enjoyment!"

"Exactly what I need to rejuvenate my fan
mail," agreed Hubert, who had begun to slip a
trifle with the advent of talkies. "Lucky
thing we happened to wait o\'er, eh, what?
That poor little chap will be astonished
when — hello, here he comes now."

Eddie advanced timorously and ducked his
head toward Mr. Zoop, then his eyes strayed to
the lustrous Rosie, who treated him to a
dreamy stare.

"Have a couple seats," said Abie, concealing
his interest behind an oily business front. "If
you didn't know who I am, I shouldn't be

"Have I heard of Lindbergh?" blarneyed
the singer.

" Listen," said Mr. Zoop, smirking inwardly,
" that voice of yours is pretty near as soothink
as silence at an exhibitor's convention, and a
test we'll give it."

Mr. McCorkle stopped breathing. "You —
you mean the talkies?" he quavered.

"I said a test," said the cagy Abie. "If you
make the grade I can use you in a talkie. How
much do you grab off a week?"

" You'll draw three hundred if you get by.
Quit this bunch of tramps tomorrow night,
y'understand, and report to me at Culver City
on Monday. You can rejoin the unit when I'm
through with you,and that," said Mr.Zoop, as
his quick eyes noted the leaden glaze of the
theater under the makeup, "will be not less
than four weeks. A month in California won't
do you no harm, hey?"

"A month in the sun! Gee, Mr. Zoop,
I . . . "

"'Sail right," said the president, suddenly
overcome by his own generosity. "Well, I got
to go, but I'll see you at the studio. S'lonk."
And trailed by his party, he waddled down the
ramp leading to the mezzanine.

"You're wonderful," he breathed softly,
and was gone.

The dazed Mr. McCorkle managed to totter
backstage and hunted up Molly, to whom he
broke the news with stuttering eagerness.
"It isn't like leaving you altogether," he
finished. "I'll hit the troupe in New Orleans,
or thereabouts."

"But just what do they want you for?"
asked the girl. She was still panting a bit from
the exertion of dancing and her curls clustered
damply on her forehead. " I'm so glad, Eddie,
and I was only kidding when I made that kick
about me or the movies. Tell me what kind
of a part you'll have."

"I didn't have time to ask him," confessed

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Eddie, "but it must be a talking short — you
know, those entertaining subjects they run
before the feature. I — I guess I must be kind
of famous for them to want me, eh, Molly?"

"Why not, with you laying them in the
aisles every show?" said the girl loyally. "A
real panic if e^•er there was one! Gosh, I'll
miss you worse than the unit, if that's possible."

"They've got the sweetest tapper in the
business to hold 'em up," boasted Mr. Mc-
Corkle, kissing her. "And what's four

Outside the theater Momma struggled into
a capacious limousine and flopped heavily on
the cushions. "So that niftick tenor you're
goink to use for a ringer, ha? Mark mine
words, Abie, double rhymes with trouble."

"Was your father a weather forecaster,"
inquired Mr. Zoop, "that you should be such
a pess — , a pessi — , well, anyhow, a sorehead?"
He dodged a blow, then groaned with anguish
as a French heel ground mercilessly against his
little toe. "Ouch, Momma; not in public!"

/^N Monday morning the taut and nervous
^— 'Mr. McCorkle faced a microphone for the
first time in his life, and favored his hearers
with a cascade of golden music. The monitor
man and the recording engineer showed
cautious enthusiasm, waiting for the verdict of
that wrecker of hopes, the playback. For
seven minutes Eddie gave an excellent imita-
tion of the well-known lark and then stopped, a
trifle dismayed at the unaccustomed silence
all around him. The monitor man called the
recording chamber, demanding the playback,
and a moment later the warm tenor was issuing
in perfect reproduction from a loud speaker.
No gasping, none of the "eeyah" at the end of
every line so beloved of the mammy singer to
hide faulty breathing; nothing but a sterUng

"Fine work, McCorkle," said the monitor
man. "I never heard a truer job."

"Thanks," murmured Eddie absently, his
mind full of the cheering Saturday night
audiences. This picture racket certainly was a
cold-blooded one, he told himself. Perhaps
that was why he felt no particular sense of
triumph as he was escorted to Mr. Zoop's
office. Well, three hundred a week and —

"This boy clicks in grand style, chief," said
the e.xpert as he shoved Eddie ahead of him.
"He's the big shot we've been waiting^for."

"So maybe I'm not a picker!" beamed Abie.
"A seat, McCorkle, and give me a listen. We
just got through makink Hubert Mount-
stephen's latest picture, and believe me, it's a
tear jerker. All it needs is you to make it his
biggest success."

" But if it's finished," said the puzzled Eddie,

Mr. Zoop leered roguishly. "The action
calls for Hubert to sink four sonks. Ain't that


"Because he can't sink," chuckled Abie,
"and until you popped up we couldn't find a
voice to suit his actink. V'see, we held out the
scenes where Hubert is supposed to sink, but
now we can make 'em as soon as you learn the
words. Hubert will warble in dumb show and
you'll be just out of camera range, sinkink into
a mike with that classy style of yours."

"/"^OSH," faltered Eddie, " I had an idea you
^^wanted me to make a talking short. "
"Later you can make a couple," promised
Mr. Zoop, who had overlooked this angle, "but
first, we got to shoot in them sonks so as we
can release tliis month. It's a super picture,
see, all about a ballad %\Titer who tears off
teary tunes even without beink solicited.
Beiiik an artist he's naturally a little loose,
y'understand, but no matter if it's bigamy,
petty larceny or stalling the landlord, he sinks
his way out of it, and you feel really sorry for
him, he smiles so pretty. The big punch comes
when he's sittink in the electric chair for
chokink his third wife, when what does he do
but bust out with a heart render, and the at-
tendants get shaky. The governor, who is

listenink in on the execution, starts sniffiink
and — "

"That's powerful stuff," enthused Eddie.
"I can see why you want a voice that'll panic
Mountstephen's fans, and I'm here to give it
to you, Mr. Zoop."

"The stor>' kind of grips you, hey?" shouted
Abie. "Fine! Well, this governor is played by
old Grosvenor Hoople, and Hoople says,
in them undertaker tones of his, 'Who am
I to deprive this world of sonk?' he says,
and he grabs a pen and writes a pardon.
Then Hubert is freed to find the girl waitink,
and by that time the audience a\t11 be satu-

"Which girl is it?" asked Eddie.

"His first one — the one he treated the worst,
of course," replied Mr. Zoop, registering sur-
prise. "That's life."

"WeU," said the little tenor, "where can I
get hold of these songs? I'd like to get my
teeth into them right away."

""DEGIN tomorrow," advised the president.
■'-'"Take the day off and look around a bit.
Leave the sun shine on you, kid, and get to
sleep early. I wish I could go with you, but
I got to watch out that loafer Ignatz Yolk
don't beat me to shakink hands with some
visitink prince."

Mr. McCorkle spent the afternoon toasting
himself on the beach at Venice and wondering
what kind of a liar called the human form
divine. In the evening he trotted up and down
Hollywood Boulevard, gawking at innocent
tourists and peering up mysterious, badly lit
side streets. Then, having engaged a room at
a pea green hotel of Spanish architecture, he
started snoring by eleven p. m.

The remainder of the week was devoted to
learning the songs, working with Hubert
Mountstephen's excellent pantomime in order
to get the proper tempo, and the making of
several trial records.

Under the goading of the director, Eddie,
whose emotions were close to the surface,
began to feel like a blood brother of the scape-
grace hero, and his work improved untU one
sunshiny afternoon he put over the first three
numbers in a superlative fashion that won him
salty praise.

"You're making the part sit up and beg,"
beamed Adams, Ihe director. "What you've
got, kid, is intuition, and for the love of Mike,
don't lose it over night. You're in character,
so stay that way !"

"T ISTEN, " said Eddie, quivering with ex-

•*— 'citement. "Let me get some supper and
a little rest, and if Hubert is willing to stay on,
I'll finish the works for you tonight."

"You're on!" shouted Adams, and two hours
later, with everything ready, he threw an arm
over Eddie's shoulders, and spoke in reverent
tones. "This is your purple moment," he ad-
vised. "The big scene in the electric chair, and
the ballad that gives the picture its name:
'Sing a Soothin' Song.' Stark, raw drama,
my boy. I'll probably have to threaten Hubert
with a punch in the nose to get him properly
steamed up, but not you, kid. Keep your eye
on Hubert's lips, and think of the stemfaced
warden, the twenty-four witnesses and the
light slanting through the barred ■svindows.
Tragedy! Away you go!"

The stuffy room went deathly quiet as Mr.
McCorkle began to sing. Several stars, drawn
by rumors of his magic, were ranged around
the walls, watching him tensely. Twenty feet
away the mournful Mountstephen WTithed on
the little black chair, mouthing the w-ords as
the air was filled with a passionate lilt that
appealed to the senses. The first half streamed
into the microphone, and Eddie, his freckled
face twisted into a mask of anxiety, ended his

" When the darkness falls and your soft voice calls,
Hclpin' me be strong
As I plod along.

Never mind the hymns as the tmlight dims,
Sing a soothin' song

For me."

Every advertisement in PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE is guaranteed.

Photoplay Magazine for October, 1929

Silence. The listeners stared curiously and
coughed uneasily. Then fervent congratula-
tions from the delighted Hubert, followed by a
hoarse croak from Rosie Redpath. "He may
be funny looking, and all that," she husked,
"but he's an artist. A real one!"

The artist turned to his director and nego-
tiated his bashful grin. "It sure takes it out
of a guy, this creative racket," he said wist-
fully. "How's chances for a hamburger

"NTINE blinding searchlights streaked into
■'■^ thevioletexpanseof sky directly above the
Javanese Theater in an effort to notify the
cosmos that the world premie're of "Sing a
Soothin' Song" was about to take place.
Inside the courtyard stood the gladhanding
manager, flanked by a brass lunged individual
whose duty was to announce the stars as they
were uncrated from their shining motors. Each
luminary expressed his, or her, individuality by
going through precisely the same maneu\'ers,
which consisted of waving coyly at the crowd-
ing Hollywood peasants, posing awkwardly for
the cameramen in the lobby, and lisping
gibberish into a microphone under the delu-
sion that the world was flapping an attentive
ear. On this particular night the radio man
had forgotten to connect the wires, but nobody
knew the difference.

Into the theater marched Eddie McCorkle,
tanned, tu.xedoed and with the wrinkles ironed
out of his stomach by thirty days of Imperial
Valley fruit and vegetables. His ticket called
for a seat right behind the famous Carlos
Cabrillo and his wife, whereupon Mr. Mc-
Corkle swelled pridefuUy and leaned back to
watch the house fill up.

Always in step with etiquette, Mr. Zoop had
reserved sections for the despised Ignatz Yolk
and the ubiquitous Blotts Brothers in order
that they should swallow a full portion of
Stupefaction's newest triumph. The orchestra
was jammed with screen personahties.

After much "impromptu" ballyhoo, all of
which had been carefully rehearsed, the picture
unwound its talkative story, and two hours
afterward a lachrymose audience bore mute
testimony to its success. On went the lights
and out ambled Mr. Zoop to begin an orgy of
introductions that were as unnecessary as

Hubert Mountstephen, summoned from the
front row, mumbled his thanks after crackling
applause, to which Eddie listened knowingly.
Too polite, he decided; none of the steady
undertone he was accustomed to being
awarded. Joyce Cleary, the victorious. Rosie
Redpath, the vanquished. More machine-
made appreciation. Grosvenor Hoople, starchy
with dignity. Some minor characters. Director
Adams wearing the benign smile he'd prac-
ticed all morning. And then Mr. McCorkle
half rose, the horrible truth transparent as a
flapper with the sun behind her. They were
giving him the runaround! Anger replaced
astonishment as he bounded into the aisle.


[EY!" he yelled, gesturing frenziedly at
Voie. "How about me?" He swung
around to face the crowded house. "Listen,
everybod}', I'm the fellow — "

A sinewy hand sealed his mouth as Carlos
Cabrillo, absorbing the situation, went into
action to save the sacred name of Zoop. Eddie
felt himself propelled to the deserted lobby and
out into the Boulevard.

"Crab the show, will you?" asked Carlos,
kicking him smartly in the shins. "Come on,
hop into that cab and not a squawk out of you,
either. You'll camp at my place until I phone
Abie." He bundled his quarry into a cruising
taxi, gave the driver a Beverly Hills address
and settled back amusedly as his cargo stared
morosely at the floor.

Later, Mr. Zoop, in a lather of worry, con-
fronted his singing phantom. " For why did
you have to go screechink in the theayter?"
he demanded. "Ain't I treated you good
enough? E.xplanations we'll have, and not
next week, neither."

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Online LibraryMoving Picture Exhibitors' AssociationPhotoplay (Volume 36 – 37 (Jul. - Dec. 1929)) → online text (page 87 of 145)