Moving Picture Exhibitors' Association.

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

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Photoplay Magazine for October, 1929




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that party of raiding Germans get away with
it.

It had cost him his life. Well, Jerry Wilton
couldn't do any worse to her.

When Jerry returned to his office, it was
dusk. He sought his sanctum sanctorum, a
twenty thousand dollar affair of Art-Moderne
furniture and antique tapestry.

The lighting was "moderne" too — long
shafts and blobs of brilliancy cutting into
contrasting blackness.

Under the gargoyle lamp that illuminated his
desk, lay a square of mauve colored paper.
Idly, he picked it up, glanced through it, as
a restless mind will.

Then of a sudden, as its purport struck him,
the hea^y muscles of his throat swelled. He
crushed the paper in his fist and flung it down
on the desk.

" VWHAT the— hell ! " he shouted through the

''V dictaphone to his secretary. "Haven't
I got enough on my mind without someone
playing rotten jokes? Haven't I told you to
keep everything from me tiU the picture's
finished? Can't I get any co-operation in this
lousy studio? "

Eileen hiding behind the curtain of the fire-
escape window through which she had insin-
uated herself into the office, watched him,
frightened. This was not at all the reaction
she had expected.

Why she had thought he would greet the
little missive with a smile in appreciation of
her humor and daring!

She was about to step forward rebeUiously,
when a low door near Jerry's desk burst open
and a small stocky man entered. Instantly,
the director's frenzy subsided.

"Why, hello, Little One!" he purred in a
gruff, good-natured voice. "I was just telling
my secretary what a lousy studio you run
here."

The Little One smiled as though the insult
were a compliment. Then his face clouded
again.

"Maybe we won't have no studio at all
unless you cut the castle sequence from out
of your picture. "

"Now, Mister SUvermarsh — don't kid me!"
There was subtle menace and determination
beneath Jerry's throaty good nature.

"No, I ain't kidding at all, Jerry. Imeanit.
I was just talking with Eddie JIallen. He
says he can't figure you to do it for less than
a hundred thousand dollars."

"Well, what of it? I didn't promise to do
it for any less, did I? The castle is where the
heavy takes the girl to tempt her. It's the
punch of the story. Without it where are
you?"

"I know where I am. Already eleven days
behind schedule and a hundred thousand over-
cost on a picture I don't know will gross me a
nickel."

JERRY drew himself up imperiously. "Just
what do you mean by that, Mr. SUvermarsh?
Are you forgetting it's the first Jerome Wilton
all-talking special? "

SUvermarsh shrugged as he lit a cigar.
"That don't tell me a thing, Jerry. 'Eve's
Alibi' didn't draw so well at the Capitol last
week."

" And why should it? It was a silent picture
and besides these fellows don't know ho%v to
exploit my stuff. It's all over their heads.
That's why I left 'em and signed with you."

"That's good trade talk, Jerry, but how do
I know you can make talkies?" snarled
Silvermarsh.

"If you didn't think so, I wonder why you
signed me up at four thousand a week?"

"Yes, and my backers, they wonder that
too, when I can get the stage director of any
big New York hit for seven fifty. I got you
because you talked well and brought me what
I thought was a good story. But every day
when I read that story over again, it seems
worser and worser. Supposin' the picture
ain't any good? Supposin' the public is fed
up with Russian stories? Supposin' I lose.



Jerry — five hundred thousand dollars — ?"
His voice sunk to a frightened whine and he
spilled the ashes of his cigar onto the shining
expanse of black desk.

From behind her curtain, Eileen saw Jerry's
hands clutch the edge of his desk. There was
an electrically charged moment; — it was al-
most as though EUeen could feci the thought
waves sent out from his brain, the call on
every fibre of his body for assistance in this
crisis. She watched, fascinated, ashisfacetook
on an ex-pression of controlled, yet dominating
rage._

With a sudden sweep of his arm, he sent the
ebony cigar box crashing to the floor. One
swift stride and he stood over the cowering
Silvermarsh.

"T ISTEN, Sam! Listen, jl/J5/fr Silvermarsh!
■'-'.Ml you producers make me sick. Losing
whatever brains you've got over this talkie
racket. Dragging in a lot of old stage directors,
vaudeville gag-men, who don't know the first
thing about pictures. Who haven't got imagi-
nation enough to realize that what's made
pictures popular is their beauty — their visual
appeal.

"That's the secret of my success. I give
the public more than their money's worth in
beauty and emotion. Do you suppose a
little thing like a microphone's going to stump
me? Do you suppose I haven't got ears as
well as eyes?"

Silvermarsh put up a hand to stop him, but
Jerry waved it away and continued, "Yes, and
you, Sam — why did I turn down three other
offers and sign with you? Because I thought
you had imagination and brains and courage —
weren't like the rest of the other baa-baa
sheep. Now on the first picture you start baa-
baaing. By God, I won't go on! You can't
make me. I'll get my contracts and you can
help me tear 'em up! We'll have a nice little
tearing-up party and use the bits to stage a
paper chase — the chase I'm going to take out
of this dumb baa-baa studio. I'll ring for the
contracts right now — "

His arm thrust out toward the bell. But he
couldn't ring it, because Silvermarsh had hold
of his arm and was hugging it.

"Jerry boy, I didn't mean it. I've got com-
plete faith in you, Jerry. The trouble with the
other baa-baa producers is they don't know
that what's made pictures popular is their
beauty — their visual appeal.

"I should let you tear up your contract ! Not
on your life. Go ahead with your picture.
I'll teU Eddie to okay anything you want
on that castle. Oh boy, what a punch! We'll
show 'em, Jerry!"

But in spite of Silvermarsh's repentance, it
took him five minutes to persuade Jerry not
to tear up the contracts.

Finally, the director deigned to fling a golden
tweed arm across Silvermarsh's dark blue
shoulder and usher him toward the door. As
Silvermarsh retreated down the hallway,
Eileen could hear Jerry making golden
promises:

"Shoot every night."

"Catch up with the schedule in two weeks."

"Beat the estimate by at least twenty
thousand."

WHO could doubt that self-confident,
w^orld-confident voice, those hearty re-
assuring tones?

With a start, Eileen realized Jerry was using
the same intonations she had heard that
afternoon so long ago, when he had promised
her a job.

Angrily, she started forward from her
curtain.

But Jerry, returning, did not see her. There
was a strange frozen expression on his face.
The face of a child, who has seen the bugaboo
man in his dreams.

He staggered to the desk and plopped down
in the great easy chair.

He buried his face in his arms. The broad
shoulders heaved. EUeen stood and stared in
amazement.



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The great Jerry Wilton was sobbing like a
baby!

Eileen started to tiptoe from the room.
Jerry raised a tousled head.

"Why you! — who the devil are you?"

"I'm the girl you met on the beach. The
girl you took to Margalo's party and talked
to on the balcony. "

"But what are you doing here?"

"You wouldn't see me, so I sneaked in by
the fire-escape. I hid when Silvermarsh
came — "

" So you heard that fracas, did you? Well
do you blame me for blubbering? God, what
a grind this picture's been! Everything from
fire to snowstorms to hold me up. And Silver-
marsh! Why Silvermarsh was mild today.
He's been hectoring me ever since we started.
Butting in, offering fool suggestions, whining
about whether I can do talkies or not. It's
driving me crazy! Look!" — he stretched out a
bronzed hand. "Look at the way my arm
shakes. I'm beginning to doubt myself.
Maybe I'm not any good. Maybe I caifl do
talkies. Oh, I'm scared — scared to death!"

■JLJE flopped down on the desk again. Eileen
-•■ -'■forgot her own troubles, her own wrongs.
.\11 she knew was that she yearned to comfort
thisyoung Atlas, who seemed to be carrying the
world on his shoulders — a world that might
cost five hundred thousand dollars and never
earn any profits.

She reached forward a hand to stroke the
curly hair. She gently turned the bowed head
until Jerry's bloodshot eyes stared right into
her cool blue ones.

"Why you big silly! To be afraid after all
you've done! Don't you know nothing can
stop you? Why you ha\-e power! Power to
stir people. Just as you stirred Silvermarsh.
And me — a few moments ago I was waiting
behind that curtain angry enough to kill you — .
And now, I — I want you to succeed more than
I ever wanted anything in my life. You've
got a message, Jerry Wilton, a message for
everyone — not just sophisticated New York
audiences, but people all over the country, all
over the world. You know Life, and that's
what counts in silence or in sound."

Yes, Jerry Wilton knew Life and knowing it,
he realized that standing before him was one
girl who would always believe in him, match
his strength with her strength, soothe and
calm, comfort and understand. Being a man
quick on decisions, he pushed aside the great
curved desk with one mighty heave and took
her in his arms.

The mauve colored missive fluttered un-
noticed from the desk.

pOUR weeks later, the grand duchess found
-•- it where it had lodged in a half opened
drawer. Always efficient, she sent it down to
Eddie Mallen.

Pretty soon Eddie came storming in and
planked the scented sheet upon her desk.

"Read that aloud," he roared. "I want to
see if it says what I think it does or if I've
gone nutty."

In tones as precise as her coiffure, the grand
duchess read:

"DUE EILEEN O'H.ARA

FOR ONE HOLLYWOOD PROMISE

Complete with Run-around $221.15

ITEMS

Rent Apartment $ 75.00

Meals 31.85

Beauty Treatments 16.65

Ticket Home 97.65

S221.15

When she had finished, she yawned slightly.
"Now it's no use getting hot and bothered,
Eddie. Don't you know since Jerry's picture
is finished and looks so good in the cutting
room, anything he says goes. You'll pay off
on this and like it. Or have a hell of a row
with Jerry.

"You see, heand MissO'Hara are spending the
week-end at Agua Cahente getting married."



125



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126



Photoplay Magazine for October, 1929



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The Films Go Baby Talk



[ CONTINUED FROM PAGE 39 ]



alive and had their hearing and a phonograph.
Well, more Paramount officials saw and
heard her in "Nothing But the Truth" and
nothing would do but that she sign her name
right there on that dotted line and pack her
teency-weency ittle bag and come to Cali-
fornia and make more people glad they're
alive.

CO here she is curled up in a great big suite
^of rooms at the Beverly Wilshire with her
sister and her sister's little son (Aw, gee,
Junior, sit still for Aunty Helen. Aw, gee, is
'at nice?).

But they're going to move to a great big
house in Beverly.

"Now we're here in CaUfornia," said Helen,
"we should live like 'e other picture people,
now shouldn't we? We gotta great big house
with trees, fig trees and lots — oo — lots of
fresh air. We should have it, shouldn't we
now? "

I REALLY thought they should now. In fact,
you just gotta agree with Helen Kane. Per-
sonally, I think she isn't too fat, but I've
always been a trifle Turkish in my tastes.
I said so.

"Aw, gee, 'at's nice," said Helen, "but
honest, I'm too big. I thought I looked turri-
ble in 'Nothing But the Truth.' I cried when
I saw it."

I hadn't contemplated Helen's crying, but



now that I think of it, it must be an amazing
performance.

npHOSE big goo-goo eyes all welling up with
■'• tears.

Is there a sugar daddy with heart strong
enough to resist?

Is there man alive who could deny that
baby talk baby anything?

I can imagine her going into B. P. Schul-
berg's office at Paramount and saying:

"Aw, gee, Mr. Schulberg, you shoulda seen
what 'ey did to my nice part. I just know if
you knew you woun't let 'em cut out all my
nice scenes. "

A ND I can imagine Schulberg, the great high
-' ^-dignitary of Paramount, floating away on a
saccharine sea of big heartedness and sending
out an order that all those nice scenes — even
the weeniest one — be put right back into the
story.

If you had thought of it before you might
have been depressed at the possibility of baby
talk in the audibles.

But you wouldn't be after you have seen
Helen Kane.

She is the cutest little bit of femininity come
to our dull shores in many — oh many — a
movie moon.

If she doesn't leave her audiences out in the
aisles talking to themselves — talking baby
talk at that — I miss my guess!



Vamping with Sound



[ CONTINUED PROM PACE 51 ]



grinding on the Bow film. Paramount was
planning to shoot its newest find into another
picture called "Youth Has Its Fling." The
"Youth" referred to is a handsome young
newcomer named PhiUips Holmes, twenty and
new to the ways of the world. And he uill fling
into those scenes in which he runs head on into
the terrific, demanding fascination of the tall,
handsome Francis Girl.

And then Heaven help young Mr. Holmes,
for only Heaven can!

WHEN I talked to Kay Francis, she was
sitting in the Uxing room of her little
Hollywood bungalow — and I kept my distance,
too.

I remembered only too well what had hap-
pened to poor Walter Huston when he came
within that fatal radius of her charm.

She had just finished the long, horrible grind
of the Bow picture. Night shooting, to avoid
off-stage noises — often until three or four in the
morning.

She hadn't seen Holly^vood, she hadn't had
any fun.

But she was in her second big film, her third
was planned, and she was happily hotfooting
it for fame and fortune.

npIMID as I was, I thought I could manage
-*- a question or two.

" Do the camera and 'mike' scare you? " I
asked.

"No," said Miss Francis, "what is there in a
'mike' to scare you after you are used to 1,500
people?

"And once you get used to obsendng the
camera lines by instinct, there isn't anything
to worry about. "

At that, I couldn't imagine a silly old camera
scaring this big, self-possessed gal. She is the
type that frightens the old guard of silent pic-
ture actors into fits.



No wonder, when, after they have made a
Great Mystery of the .\rt of Acting before the
Camera, they see this untried girl step before
one and give a motion picture performance of
the very first rate!

"Do you miss the theater?"'

"Yes, I miss it some, but this is a great
chance for me, and everyone at Paramount is
swell to me, and I'm happy. Will you have
a dash more of that ginger ale?"

"I will. .\nd do you enjoy knocking over
helpless members of my poor sex?''

"I've played menaces right along, and I
suppose I'll have to, for a whUe. But I'd like
to do sophisticated heroines."

Sure — and she probably will, too. But the
world reeks with heroines, while there are only
a few superb demons like Kay Francis. What
could Eddie Foy have gotten by playing
Hamlet?

But this had gone far enough. Again I
thought of Walter Huston and Dick Arlen and
young Holmes, and shivered.



W;



ELL, thank you. Miss Francis," I stut-
tered. "I guess I'U have to be going



"Do have just a touch more of this ginger
ale," she said, leaning forward.

"No, thanks! I really must be moving," I
said, and rushed out the door, falling the last
two steps and pursued by a gust of merry
laughter, but no applause.

That was the Jinalc of my inter\-iew ^^•ith
Kay Francis, the first great vamp of the talking
pictures, and standard bearer of the new come-
hither school.

If you come ■n'ithin gunshot of her tremen-
dous fascination, take my advice and follow
my example — get on your bicycle and pedal
away with no back looks.

Run, do not walk, to the nearest exit.

Remember what happened to Walter Huston I



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Photoplay Magazine for October, 1929



The Wisecracker
Reveals Himself

I CONTINUED FROM PACE 57 1



great from it. Jack Pickford was the star.
There was just a small credit line saying,
"William Haines as Tom Brown." One day a
friend said he had seen a preview of the iilm.
He said that I was a sensation, and that I had
the audience lying in the aisles. I thought he
was kidding me, and I told him that it was a



Online LibraryMoving Picture Exhibitors' AssociationPhotoplay (Volume 36 – 37 (Jul. - Dec. 1929)) → online text (page 90 of 145)